Conversing with someone else about your research and writing process can be incredibly helpful. Contact staff at McKillop Library or the Writing Center using the links below.
Salve Regina University defines plagiarism as occurring whenever "a person uses someone else's creative or scholarly work but fails to give that person credit."1 This can be deliberate, as in submitting someone else's work as your own. It can also be accidental, such as forgetting to add quotation marks. Plagiarism is an ethical violation, especially in the academic world where all research builds on knowledge and research that came before. Regardless of whether plagiarism is deliberate or accidental, it is a serious concern that you should take all possible measures to prevent.
Plagiarism is a broad term that covers a variety of ethical violations, including the following:
While most students come to college having learned something about plagiarism before, there are many common misunderstandings that continue to persist. Let's take a moment to review some of these misunderstandings.
If you change enough words from the original text, you don't need to cite it.
Whether you quote directly from a source or change several words, you still need to cite the original source. Taking someone else's ideas without giving them credit is just as problematic as taking their words without giving credit.
Freely available documents do not require citation.
Everything, even information freely available, requires a proper citation to credit the original source.
If the information came from the class textbook, you don't need to cite it.
While some assignments may allow you to paraphrase from your class textbook without an official citation, you should never copy directly from your textbook without citation. It's always a good idea to check with your professor to find out how to utilize information from your textbook(s) in assignments and projects.
If everyone already knows something, then you don't need to provide a source.
While it's true that information like historic dates, famous sayings, and facts that are "common knowledge" do not require documentation, it's still important to provide any information that cannot be easily verified with an appropriate citation.
Forgetting quotation marks around a quote is fine as long as you still provide the citation information.
While you do not need to (and shouldn't!) rely on only direct quotes in your project, you must put information into your own words if you are not using quotation marks.
Plagiarism can be a tricky subject, but it's an essential one to understand in academic, professional, and personal life. Check out some of these additional resources to learn more about plagiarism.