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Give Credit Where Credit is Due: Other Plagiarism Resources

Other Plagiarism Resources

Other Plagiarism Resources

Plagiarism is defined as “any passing off of another’s ideas, words, or work as one’s own.” Unfortunately, it is difficult to find definitions that are more specific. However, examples are available from many sources, and ignorance of the rules is not a sufficient defense. Students should take the responsibility to become familiar with plagiarism and how to avoid doing it inadvertently. When in doubt, check with your instructor and ask for clarification.

1.       UC Berkeley Library defines plagiarism as “the use of intellectual material produced by another person without acknowledging its source.” This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Copying from the writings or works of others into one's academic assignment without attribution, or submitting such work as if it were one's own;
  • Using the views, opinions, or insights of another without acknowledgment; or
  • Paraphrasing the characteristic or original phraseology, metaphor, or other literary device of another without proper attribution.  


2.      Duke University Library states that “plagiarism charges can be brought for these offenses:”

  • Copying, quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing without adequate documentation
  • Purchasing a pre-written paper (either by mail or electronically)
  • Letting someone else write a paper for you
  • Paying someone else to write a paper for you
  • Submitting as your own someone else's unpublished work, either with or without permission  


3.      The University of Maryland University College’s Center for Intellectual Property has a web page with extensive lists of detection services and bibliographies about various plagiarism topics.


4.      Dr. Ronald B. Sandler, a Massachusetts attorney, has created two informative web pages:

·         Some Observations on Copyright Law

·         Plagiarism in Colleges in USA


5.      On the web site Virtual Salt, Robert Harris, author of The Plagiarism Handbook, offers instructors Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers. He discusses what motivates students to cheat, how to detect cheating and plagiarism, and instructional strategies to minimize it. One strategy is to discuss the benefits of citing sources. Harris says:


 Many students do not seem to realize that whenever they cite a source, they are strengthening their writing. Citing a source, whether paraphrased or quoted, reveals that they have performed research work and synthesized the findings into their own argument. Using sources shows that the student in engaged in "the great conversation," the world of ideas, and that the student is aware of other thinkers' positions on the topic. By quoting (and citing) writers who support the student's position, the student adds strength to the position. By responding reasonably to those who oppose the position, the student shows that there are valid counter arguments."


In a nutshell, citing helps make the essay stronger and sounder and will probably result in a better grade. Appropriate quoting and citing also evidences the student's respect for the creators of ideas and arguments--honoring thinkers and their intellectual property.  Most college graduates will become knowledge workers themselves, earning at least part of their living creating information products.  They therefore have an interest in maintaining a respect for intellectual property and the proper attribution of ideas and words.” (used with permission from author)


6.      On Joshua Landau's website called Understanding and Preventing Plagiarism he suggests ways to reduce plagiarism and identifies three possible reasons for it:

  • Intentional theft—due to peer pressure, competition, and the belief that “everyone is doing it”
  • Source-memory error—due to laziness, i.e. the failure to trace an idea or passage to its source
  • Misapprehension -- claiming they didn't know they were doing something wrong
  • The Plagiarism Conundrum -- same penalties apply to a student who purposely downloads an entire paper and the misguided student who commits an unintentional act of plagiarism.