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Plagiarism (Tips to Avoiding)

Plagiarism is a serious offense for academics and scholars. Therefore, it is important to know what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

In some cultures, using someone else’s thoughts and words is a sign of respect for the person. This display of knowledge does not always attribute the work to the original author or thinker. In the United States, it is important to always give credit to the person (or persons) who had the original idea or concept. If you do not provide this information, it is considered to be immoral. Therefore, you need to always make sure to cite the person who came up with the idea. Failure to do so is considered “plagiarism”

Plagiarism is a serious offense and can have very severe consequences including receiving a failing grade for an assignment, failure of a course, expulsion from school, or even losing your job!

Plagiarism can be difficult to identify and is not just giving credit for the person’s exact words. Of course, if you use the same words as someone else, you need to provide quotations and a reference to a source. However, it is also considered plagiarism if you use the same ideas as someone else, pictures, social media postings, etc. without properly citing the original source.Some examples of plagiarism are below:

PLAGIARISM EXAMPLE 1

ORIGINAL SOURCE: “Observation is another way to explore and develop our teaching, including observation of other teachers and self-observation. Talking with other teachers about the teaching we observe is also a way to explore new possibilities in our teaching, as is writing about teaching in a journal. I write about each of these for ways to explore teaching the sections that follow.” [From Gebhardt, J., (2006). Teaching English as a foreign or second language. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press. P. 18.]

  • EXAMPLE OF PLAGIARISM: Observation is a great way to become a better teacher. We can observe other teachers and ourselves, talk about teaching with other teachers, and keep a journal of our own teaching experiences to explore and develop our own teaching.

The paragraph above is an example of plagiarism because the author did not cite the source of the ideas. Be careful that you always cite the original source. If you’re not sure if something should be cited, you should probably include a citation just to be safe. When in doubt, CITE IT!

PLAGIARISM EXAMPLE 2

ORIGINAL SOURCE: “In foreign cultures, managers also should not control the wrong things. A Sears manager in Hong Kong insisted that employees come to work on time instead of 15 minutes late. The employees did exactly as they were told, but they also left on time instead of working into the evening as they had previously. A lot of work was left unfinished. The manager eventually told the employees to go back to their old ways. His attempt at control had a negative effect.” [From Draft, R., (2008). Management. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning. P. 130]

  • PLAGIARISM EXAMPLE: Managers should not control the wrong things in foreign cultures, or their attempts at control can have a negative effect. In Hong Kong, a Sears manager asked employees to come to work on time instead of 15 minutes late. The employees did as they were told, but left on time instead of working late as they had previously and a lot of work was left unfinished.

The paragraph above is an example of plagiarism because the author did not quote the original source and did not attribute the argument structure to the original author as a reference. Be sure to attribute the words of others and the content structure to the original author.

For more information on maintaining high levels of Academic Integrity, check out our information here.