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.

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

 

Avoiding plagiarism is easy.  Give credit to the source when using someone else's words or ideas.  There are two ways to use someone's ideas.  Using them word for word or paraphrase, or reword the idea.  Either way, give the original author credit for their idea.  For more information, see the examples below, or read more in the library's Citation Help guide.

Word-for-Word   

When using someone's idea word for wordintroduce it either before or after the quote, and put their words in quotations.  Then, give the author credit directly after the sentence using the appropriate citation style.  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 paraphrasing someone's ideas, 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.