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Friday, October 1, 2010


Plagiarism is more than simply using some else's words. It is using their intellectual property, their concepts and ideas without attributing them properly.

Plagiarism is theft.

For that reason most schools, including the College of Southern Nevada, reserve the right to take any action up to expulsion against any student for plagerism.

In our society, with cut and paste, free on-line summaries and even speeches, the temptation to plagiarize is greater than ever.

The potential to do so without meaning to is also great, as many of us do it without knowing or thinking in every day life.

However in school, business or any form or performance there is no excuse. You cannot simply say "I didn't mean to."

Click "read more" below for a better understanding of plagiarism.

Plagiarism Information

Written by Dr. Timothy James, Department of Communication, Community College of Southern Nevada

Any time you obtain ideas and information from someone else, you should give that person, group, organization, or publication its due credit. This is called “giving attribution” (or “citing” your sources). Plagiarism occurs when you present someone else’s ideas or information without making it clear that you obtained these from someone else (hence, making it appear as if the work is your own). That is to say, you fail to give proper attribution.

In this class, if it is deemed that you have plagiarized, you will receive an “F” for the course, NO EXCEPTIONS. More severe penalties may also be applied.

Students often mistakenly plagiarize in both speeches and papers (or other projects involving “research”). Be careful not to make any of the following common mistakes:

(1) You can plagiarize if you use a direct, word-for-word quotation and never indicate the source of that quote. In a speech, you should state to your audience that you are quoting directly. In a paper, either use quotation marks or a block paragraph and include the proper attribution. (See, e.g., the MLA Stylesheet.)
(2) You can plagiarize even if you modify a direct, word-for-word quotation and never indicate the source of that near-quote. For instance, I once had a student who believed that if you simply changed about every 6th word in a quote, it was not plagiarism. That’s not true. Either use a direct, word-for-word quote (with proper attribution), or paraphrase the quote (that is, restate it in your own words - but still give attribution; see #3 below).
(3) You can plagiarize by presenting your own ideas and conclusions (or “points” you wish to make) and failing to identify the source(s) that inspired your ideas and conclusions. You would not have reached these ideas and conclusions without having read through various sources of information; hence, give credit where it is due. For instance, perhaps you’re claiming that “gun control will reduce school violence.” If you use a statistic to back that up, identify the source of that statistic. In a speech, this will mean you frequently say something like “according to . . .” In a paper, you typically identify your source immediately after providing the information you obtained from that source.
(4) You can plagiarize if nearly half (or more) of your speech or paper consists of direct quotes (or even moderately paraphrased quotes). Instructors or professors who assign research projects expect that the majority of the project will be you expressing what you’ve learned in your words. Use quotes or paraphrases by others as evidence that shows you’ve gone to other sources, and use these also to provide details and illustrations for your points. Using too much material directly from your sources raises the question: Who, actually, wrote your speech or paper?

You should always check with your instructor or professor to see if he/she requires a particular style book (MLA and APA are the most common). Refer to the rules in these style books always; this is your best bet for avoiding plagiarism problems.

In addition, check to see if the campus of your choice has a Writing Center. The Writing Center staff is more than happy to work with you regarding plagiarism, writing problems, etc. They can check your work or provide other useful information that can help you before you turn in your assignments.


Lisa C. said...

I believe that plagiarism is completely unnecessary! People that say they didn't know or thought they were quoting someone but didn't reference from where the quote is from is ridiculous. It is not hard to just write the author and or URL to save yourself from plagiarism. you can use any resource available to you to complete whatever assignment needed with out plagiarizing.

Lindsey Chapter said...

It's ridiculous, but it happens all the time! This is my first semester back at college after a ten-year absence, and three of my classes are online. Within the first week of class, I had two different people in two different classes plagarize my discussion postings. They both tried to change it a little, but it was very obviously my work. I reported them both to the professors, and one came up with a rather lame "I didn't do it on purpose!" whine. I just can't beleive that people would do that, especially on a discussion board that the whole class reads! Crazy. I mean, did they really think that no one would notice?!