Authorship and Plagiarism

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  • To plagiarize means “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as ones’ own.” (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed.).

  • Whether deliberate or inadvertent, plagiarism is a violation of academic honesty.

  • Academic institutions take plagiarism seriously; punishment for offenses may range from a failing grade on the plagiarized paper to dismissal from the institution.

  • How to avoid plagiarism:

    • Cite any facts, information or ideas you take from any source, except information which is common knowledge (examples of common knowledge might be: George Washington was the first American president; there are 365 days in a year).

    • When you include exact words from one of your sources, put them in quotation marks.

    • When you paraphrase or summarize words from a source, be sure to use your own words rather than merely rearranging the words of the original.

    • Be particularly careful with any material you take from an online source. It is very easy to unintentionally “cut and paste” something into your paper and later forget that the words were not your own.

    • Err on the side of caution. If you are unsure whether or not something should be cited, just cite it.

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