Definitions and Prevention
Faculty interested in plagiarism resources,
please see our
Prevention and Detection online guide designed for
Simply put, plagiarism is the use of someone's words or ideas as your own.
When writing a research paper or making an oral presentation, you must
credit and cite all
the sources you used whether from a book, a printed article or an electronic
resource found on the web.
Plagiarism takes many different forms, such as:
- Turning in someone else's work (from a book, an article or a
resource found on the web) as one's own without crediting the author.
- Turning in material produced in collaboration with others as one's own
work without crediting the collaborators.
- Cutting and pasting information from the web and turning it in as your own.
- Downloading or buying papers or other information from the web and turning it in as your own.
- Improper paraphrasing -- in other words, using information from a
source by changing the words around without crediting the author.
To quote a source is to match the material word for word
(enclosed in quotation marks, of course). You must credit the original author when using a quotation.
To paraphrase is to take information from source material and put it into your own words. Even when you use your own words to paraphrase information, you must still credit the original source.
To summarize is to take the main idea(s) from source material and put them into your own words. Just like paraphrasing, you must still credit the original source of these summarized ideas.
When you borrow someone else's ideas for a research paper you must cite
(in other words, document) your sources.
Unintended plagiarism happens ...
You may not intend to plagiarize but might simply be unaware or
- Some students are unfamiliar with official citation styles such as MLA,
- It takes time to develop appropriate research and writing skills.
You may also be confused about issues surrounding copyright and
- Become familiar with what's an appropriate paraphrase vs. what
- If you believe that most online information is non-copyrighted public knowledge
... you're incorrect. Most text and images that you find on the web are copyrighted,
so be sure to credit the original web resource.
- Students feel pressure to do well in school ... but plagiarizing
someone else's work is not the answer!
The informed consumer of information is less likely to
plagiarize or to be victimized by acts of plagiarism.
- Be able to define plagiarism, and be able to recognize its many forms.
- Encourage your professors to discuss plagiarism as an ethical, moral and legal issue.
Remember that it's an issue of trust between a student and a faculty member as well as among
your fellow student peers.
- Become familiar with some of the most common, official citation
styles such as MLA or APA. (See Ramsey Library's guide to Citing
Sources for a good start.)
- Know the consequences of plagiaristic acts. At UNCA, academic
dishonesty may result in a failing grade on an assignment or test, or
a failing grade in the course. In some cases students may be referred
for expulsion or other serious University sanctions.
The age of "cut and paste" online information makes it easier
to cyber-plagiarize than ever before. However, the same online resources that make it
simpler to plagiarize also make it easier for instructors and
administrators to detect
instances of academic dishonesty.
There are many fine educational tutorials, guides and handouts available on the
web to help inform and arm you against plagiarism.
Comprehensive site with links to articles about plagiarism, intellectual freedom and copyright created by Sharon
Stoerger (in conjunction with UIUC). Provides links to guidelines and detection
tools. Truly one-stop plagiarism shopping.
Electronic Plagiarism Seminar
Another fine site notable for its frequently updated plagiarism "In the
News" section. Includes a handy list of common term definitions
(copyright, common knowledge, intellectual property) as well as prevention
and detection strategies. Created and maintained by Librarian Gretchen Pearson of LeMoyne College.
Detection and Prevention
For those who prefer a more concise, easily navigable site, Baylor
University Libraries' page lists and links to excellent resources.
What is Plagiarism?
Indiana University's basic tutorial that educates students about what does (and doesn’t) constitute
plagiarism, by Ted Frick.
North Carolina State University's version.
Guides and Handouts
Site of the TurnItIn detection service that provides good
definitions, guidelines and printable handouts.
of Alberta Guide to Plagiarism
Well structured site with handouts and online resources for both
students and faculty.
- Useful links and tips on how to document/cite both print and electronic resource information.
Web Information - Checklist and teaching tool for critically analyzing web sites and
Copyright Resources - Useful links and tips on everything you need to know about copyright and intellectual
property at UNCA.