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Information Literacy Tutorial: Plagiarism

How to use Section 1

Part 1 of the tutorial consists of 3 sections (A, B & C) containing readings, videos and questions. First read through the information and watch the videos on pages 1A, 1B, and 1C. When finished take the quiz at the end of section C. The content in these sections is best followed from top-to-bottom beginning with the left column.

1A: Information & Scholarship
1B: Citing
1C: Plagiarism

After completing this part of the tutorial students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of plagiarism by appropriately and accurately acknowledging the use of information sources.
  • Participate in a scholarly conversation by integrating appropriate sources respectfully into a research assignment.

1C: What is Plagiarism?

1C: Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism

What Is Plagiarism?

In instructional settings, plagiarism is a multifaceted and ethically complex problem. However, if any definition of plagiarism is to be helpful to administrators, faculty, and students, it needs to be as simple and direct as possible within the context for which it is intended.

Definition: In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledg­ing its source.

This definition applies to texts published in print or online, to manuscripts, and to the work of other student writers.

Most current discussions of plagiarism fail to distinguish between:

  1. submitting someone else’s text as one’s own or attempting to blur the line between one’s own ideas or words and those borrowed from another source, and
  2. carelessly or inadequately citing ideas and words borrowed from another source.

Read this statement on defining and avoiding plagiarism from the Council of Writing Program Administrators

Whenever you do research, you will study what others have published on a subject and form your own opinion or conclusion. In your assignments, you may want to use what you find in books or articles or web pages to support your own point of view. When you do, you will need to acknowledge or credit the original author or source.

Not to do so is not only dishonest but also illegal; you violate copyright law when you use someone's words or ideas without proper credit. You are stealing that person's property, their intellectual property.

You need to give credit when you:

  • Quote any phrase or passage word for word. Use quotation marks " " to enclose the quote at the "beginning and at the end".
  • Paraphrase (put in your own words) the ideas, theories or opinions of someone else. Read the examples under the section called Recognizing Unacceptable and Acceptable Paraphrases.  
  • Use any facts, statistics, visuals - any bits of information - that are not common knowledge. Common knowledge refers to facts that are generally known and easily verified or proven. These statements are common knowledge: Boston is the capital of Massachusetts, Barack Obama was elected president of the United States in 2008.

If you have any doubts about whether a statement in common knowledge or not, cite the source.

1C: What do you know about Plagiarism?

After reading through the content of this section and watching the videos, take the quiz to test your understanding. Please Note:  If you are taking this for a class, and accessed it through Blackboard, return to blackboard and take the Quiz in Blackboard. 

quiz link