Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 July 2011 12:12 Hits: 13228

Plagiarize: (pla'j?-riz')
v. pla·gia·rized, pla·gia·riz·ing, pla·gia·riz·es
v. tr.
  1. To use and pass off (the ideas or writings of another) as one's own.
  2. To appropriate for use as one's own passages or ideas from (another).
v. intr.
  1. To put forth as original to oneself the ideas or words of another.
-American Heritage Dictionary

Plagiarism is one of the most egregious violations of academic principles--and it is very easy to avoid. Some varieties of plagiarism are blatant and easy to recognize. These include:

  • Buying or copying another person's paper
  • Getting someone to write your paper for you
  • Copying sentences or paragraphs from a book, article, or website without using quotes and citing the source

Other types of plagiarism are less obvious, and most often due to simple laziness. They include:

  • Using diagrams, photos, and other images without providing the source
  • Taking a block of text and changing only a few key words, as opposed to paraphrasing or putting it in your own words
  • Using an author or an expert's idea without without citing them as a source--i.e., taking credit for another person's idea, not necessarily their words.

You can avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism by remembering these simple tools:

  • Keep careful track of where your information comes from. Books (remember page numbers!), articles, websites, even interviews need to be cited. Keeping your notes together with the source information will save you time and energy down the road, making you less likely to commit lazy plagiarism.
  • When taking notes, keep track of when you are quoting directly (even short phrases), and when you are noting someone else's idea or argument.
  • Remember to note the author of an idea or text in your paper, either directly ("Freud argued...") or as an in-text citation (see MLA format for guidelines on using this method). Use quotation marks for any line or phrase that is copied verbatim.
  • Remember that any idea, phrase, or image that did not come directly from you and your own thought process must be cited!
  • Facts considered general knowledge do not need to be cited. The basic rule of thumb is that any information that can be found in five or more credible, general reference sources is general knowledge.

Plagiarism Tutorial from Vaughan Memorial Library

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