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An initiative by CSL Press to promote ethical writing.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work without proper credit of its source, as though it were one’s own. Plagiarism is a form of deception. It can either be deliberate or it can arise out of ignorance. Copying someone's work, word for word or very closely, is the most obvious type of plagiarism. It is usually referred as full plagiarism and is a very serious ethical, moral, and legal offense.

Some examples of plagiarism:

a sequence of words incorporated without quotation marks
an unacknowledged passage paraphrased from another's work
the use of ideas, data or images created by others as though it were one’s own
copying one's own previous work, is termed as self-plagiarism

How to avoid Plagiarism?

The key to avoiding plagiarism is give credit where credit is due. Some ways to avoid plagiarism include:

Take good notes as you read. Note the author and page number of where you read ideas and/or facts.
Create a good system of organizing your research notes. Make time to provide citations in your paper.
Make sure to use in-text citations to give authors credit for their ideas.
Not sure if something is common knowledge and doesn't need a citation? Ask your professor or an experienced colleague.

“The simplest cases of plagiarism to avoid are the intentional ones: If you copy a paper from a classmate, buy a paper from the Internet, copy whole passages from a book, article, or Web site without citing the author, you are plagiarizing. If you're tempted to borrow someone else's ideas or plagiarize in any way because you're pressed for time, nervous about how you're doing in a class, or confused about the assignment, don't do it. The problems you think you're solving by plagiarizing are really minor compared to the problems you will create for yourself by plagiarizing. In every case, the consequences of plagiarism are much more serious than the consequences of turning in a paper late or turning in a paper you're not satisfied to have written.” [Passage from ‘Harvard Guide to Using Sources’ harvard.edu]

The best way to make sure you don't plagiarize due to unintentional means is to

understand what you're doing when you write a paper and
follow a method that is systematic and careful as you do your research

Most common plagiarism misconceptions and mistakes

1. Do I need to cite everything?

While direct quotes and statistics need to be cited, writers also need to cite unique ideas and unique phrasing belonging to someone else. Summaries and paraphrases of books, essays, and other sources of information also need to be fully cited.

Authors who do not have English as their first language may wish to ask a native English speaker or use a language-editing service to improve the written quality of their manuscript before submission.

2. Included in bibliography

While direct quotes and statistics need to be cited, writers also need to cite unique ideas and unique phrasing belonging to someone else. Summaries and paraphrases of books, essays, and other sources of information also need to be fully cited.

Authors who do not have English as their first language may wish to ask a native English speaker or use a language-editing service to improve the written quality of their manuscript before submission.

3. Copied information and forgot the source

When you type or cut and paste, make sure to include the full citation information for the print source or the full URL and the date you copied the page(s). Open a separate document on your computer for each source so you can file research information carefully.

Consequences of Plagiarism

The plagiarism is a serious academic offense which has its repercussions with severe consequences. Plagiarism consequences in the academic field depend on the nature of the mistake, and the number of times one commits it. Disciplinary action is taken against the offender in various ways, such as:

Failing an assignment
Receiving a lower course grade
Failing a course
Suspending the student for a period of time
Expulsion of the student from the institution
Putting the offense of plagiarism on the student's academic record
Revoking the student's degree


CCS Plagiarism Policy

 

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