Plagiarism: Overview

Plagiarism is a serious offense. This guide provides practical advice on how to avoid it.

Plagiarism Overview

Plagiarism:  Literary theft. Plagiarism occurs when a writer duplicates another writer's language or ideas and then calls the work his or her own. Copyright laws protect writers' words as their legal property. To avoid the charge of plagiarism, writers take care to credit those from whom they borrow and quote.

"Plagiarism." The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Houghton Mifflin. E.D. Hirsch, JosephF. Kett, and JamesS. Trefil. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002. Credo Reference. Web. 17 July 2015.

Plagiarism

Avoiding Plagiarism

Avoiding plagiarism is easy.  All that needs to be done is to give credit to the source when one uses someone else's words or ideas.  There are two ways to use someone's ideas.  You can either use them word for word or you can paraphrase, or reword the idea.  Either way, you will need to give the original author credit for their idea.  For more information, see the examples below, or read more in our Citation Help guide.

Word-for-Word   

When you use someone's idea word for word, you must introduce it either before or after the quote, and also put their words in quotations.  Then, give the author credit directly after the sentence.  For more complete help, visit our Citation Help guide, or find a librarian to assist you.

Example:  As Charles Dickens famously wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times", which it most certainly was for all of us in that fateful summer (1).

Also, the source must be included at the end of the paper in a list of Works Cited, such as this one below which is following the rules of the MLA style. 

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Cutchogue, N.Y: Buccaneer Books, 1987. Print.

 

Para-phrased

When you paraphrase someone's ideas, you must also give them credit by mentioning that the idea belongs to them.

Example:  In his new book, Undeniable, Bill Nye cited a 9,550 year old tree to dispute the claims that the Earth is only 6,000 years old (13).

Also, the source must be included at the end of the paper in a list of Works Cited, such as this one below which is following the rules of the MLA style. 

Nye, Bill, and Corey S. Powell. Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation. , 2014. Print.

Resources

According to the Madison College Academic Integrity webpage, students who plagiarize will be disciplined according to the 10 disciplinary sanctions for academic misconduct listed on the webpage.  This could be anything from an oral reprimand to suspension from the institution.  The procedures for allegations and appeals also appear on this page. Visit the college's Academic Integrity page for more information.

madisoncollege.edu/academic-integrity

 

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