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Forms of Plagiarism

A student is considered to have "plagiarized," when he or she has failed to acknowledge his or her sources or has not acknowledged her sources accurately and completely.  Plagiarism can occur in many types of assignments, including:

  • Essays, response papers, research papers, senior theses
  • Oral reports, PowerPoint presentations
  • Lab reports
  • Drawings, mathematical proofs, computer projects

Plagiarism occurs any time and every time a writer relies upon the words, ideas, data, theses, positions or product (drawing, design, computer program) of another writer without acknowledging that source fully and correctly. 

Intentional Plagiarism

Some types of plagiarism are intentional attempts to deceive the professor.  Intentional plagiarism occurs when a student deliberately chooses to use other people's ideas in part or all of his own assignment without giving credit to the other writer(s).  By turning in this type of plagiarized assignment, the student is claiming that the work is his own, but it is not.  Intentional plagiarism occurs when a student turns in an assignment that was

  • written by another student.
  • originally published in another source such as a journal, newspaper, magazine or website.
  • purchased or downloaded from a website or service which sells essays or provides them for free.

All of these examples are types of intentional plagiarism.  It doesn't matter whether you paid for the essay or got it for free, whether your friend gave you permission to use her paper, or whether the original source is published or unpublished.  It doesn't even matter if the other source has an author listed or if it is anonymous. If you did not write the paper, but you turn it in with your name on it as if you did write it, you have intentionally plagiarized.  This type of plagiarism is easy to identify and understand.  In these cases, the student didn't do the work but decided to behave as if he or she did do the work. 

Even if a student does not plagiarize the entire assignment, intentional plagiarism can occur.  If the student copies and pastes a paragraph, a sentence, or any content from another written or electronic source without acknowledging that source, he has intentionally plagiarized.

Other forms of intentional plagiarism occur when a student

  • invents sources and includes them in the bibliography and/or within the paper.
  • deliberately alters material or bibliographic information by revising the opinion of another writer, inventing fake quotations, or changing the date of a publication.
  • treats unauthored internet sources as common knowledge or "sharable" information that does not require citation.
  • deliberately falsifies data for a lab report.

Unintentional plagiarism

Other types of plagiarism are not completely "intentional" in the same way as the examples above.  In fact, many cases of plagiarism occur as a result of a student's sloppiness, laziness, or failure to learn how to acknowledge sources.  These types of plagiarism include

  • quoting a source without acknowledging the author with both quotation marks and a citation.
  • failing to quote the original author accurately.
  • paraphrasing incompletely; that is, relying too heavily on the original author's words.
  • relying too heavily on a source while providing too little acknowledgement.
  • using citations incorrectly or incompletely.
  • providing partial or incorrect bibliographic information.

Unfortunately, if you plagiarize because you don't know how to use quotations or because you have not paraphrased correctly, you have still committed plagiarism and violated the College's Academic Integrity policy. Upholding academic integrity requires attention and effort. If you don't care where you are getting your ideas, or if you don't feel like looking up the correct documentation format, you might end up turning in plagiarized work.

Many cases of unintentional plagiarism arise from bad record-keeping and lack of skill in referring to sources.  Also, knowing when and how to cite sources correctly is sometimes confusing for any student—even the most serious and most organized student. The next sections will explain what sorts of information and elements in your papers require citation.

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