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Research Process

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Whenever you use ideas or words created by another person - even if you are just paraphrasing - you are required to cite your source.

Plagiarism Defined

Plagiarism is “the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own” (Concise Oxford American Dictionary, Oxford UP, 2006). When you use ideas or words created by another person and do not give proper credit, you are, in essence, stealing from the original creator.

Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to the following: the submission of a work, either in part or in whole completed by another; failure to give credit for ideas, statements, facts or conclusions which rightfully belong to another; failure to use quotation marks (or other means of setting apart, such as the use of indentation or a different font size) when quoting directly from another; paraphrasing of another's writing without credit. It does not matter whether you intended to plagiarize or whether the plagiarism occurred unintentionally; it still constitutes academic dishonesty. Ignorance of the rules of correct citation is not an acceptable excuse for plagiarism.

Students guilty of plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty are immediately responsible to the instructor of the class. In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions, which may be imposed through regular institutional procedures, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or 0 for the assignment or assign an "FX" in the course signifying a failing grade due to academic dishonesty.

Avoid Plagiarism

To avoid plagiarizing someone else's words or ideas, make sure you:

  • Paraphrase the original text into your own words. Be sure you are not just rearranging phrases or replacing a couple of words.
  • Use quotation marks around text that has been taken directly from the original source.
  • Cite every source of information you use to write your paper unless it is common knowledge or the results of your own research. This includes facts, figures, and statistics as well as opinions and arguments.

Real World Examples

Think plagiarism is just an issue for college students writing research papers? Think again!  Check out these real world examples of celebrities being accused of plagiarizing.