Plagiarism is literary theft. It is using someone else’s words or ideas—whether from a print source or off the Internet—as if they were your own. Buying or borrowing another person’s paper and submitting it as your own is also considered plagiarism, as is paraphrasing another person’s work (putting it into your own words) without giving that person proper credit. Because it is considered such a serious offense, most colleges and universities have policies severely penalizing students who plagiarize. Some policies call for automatic failure in the class involved, and some even call for expulsion. With such severe ramifications possible, it is best to learn from the outset to avoid the offense.
In order to avoid plagiarism, proper credit must be given to the sources used in the body of the paper. The process of crediting sources is called documentation. The Works Cited page and parenthetical notation are the proper way to document sources and avoid plagiarism.
WARNING: If a student is found to have plagiarized his or her paper, he or she will receive a ZERO for the writing portion of the assignment or for the entire assignment depending on the instructor. This may guarantee failure for the marking period. Also, disciplinary action may be taken which could cause the expulsion of the student from extra-curricular activities and offices. National Honor Society members and officers of any school activity found cheating may be faced with removal from office and the society.
- Adapted from The Research Paper: A Contemporary Approach by Sharon Sorenson.