Avoiding Plagiarism

What is it?

The intellectual crime of plagiarism involves the use of another person's written material without proper acknowledgement of that source. In colleges and universities, there are two kinds of plagiarism: deliberate and "innocent." Deliberate plagiarism is the most commonly discussed type of plagiarism, referring to papers purchased online from internet paper mills or papers that are recycled from one generation of students to the next.Deliberate plagiarism usually results from an accumulation of pressures and deadlines near the end of the semester.

Avoiding Deliberate Plagiarism

"Innocent" Plagiarism

Some students may plagiarize unknowingly by failing to properly acknowledge their sources. Plagiarism often innocently occurs within homegrown papers that make use of quoted material. In these instances, plagiarism happens when a writer does not properly acknowledge the source of information:

Original Quote Failure to Use Quotation Marks or Citation
"The people who shelve the books in Widener talk about the library's breathing-- at the start of the term, the stacks exhale books in great swirling clouds; at end of term, the library inhales, and the books fly back. So the library is a body, too, the pages of books pressed together like organs in the darkness" (Battles 6). In Library: An Unquiet History, the librarians who shelve the books in Widener talk about the library's breathing-- at the start of the term, the stacks exhale books in great swirling clouds; at end of term, the library inhales, and the books fly back.

In the example above, though the writer acknowledges the source of the quote, s/he does not indicate with quotation marks the use of language taken directly from the original source; s/he also needs to include a parenthetical citation (Battles 6) with the author's name and the page number on which the quote was found.

"Innocent" plagiarism often carries the same penalties as deliberate plagiarism; so when in doubt, always cite your sources.

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