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Copyright and Fair Use: Plagiarism

This guide examines fair use in education and research, creating and using instructional materials, and the use of film and video in a classroom.

Citing and Avoiding Plagiarism

A collection of links to help you with citing and avoiding plagiarism. 

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism has two commonly accepted definitions:

  • to present another's work, words, or ideas as one's own
  • to present as original the ideas or work of another.

Whether plagiarism is intentional or accidental, it carries severe consequences in academic and professional situations. Therefore, the following information is presented to help you identify ways to avoid plagiarism.

In a time when "sampling" is prevalent in the music industry and when numerous web pages carry the same information without attribution to the original source, researchers may get the impression that acknowledging sources is a practice no longer necessary.

However, this notion is not accurate, as indicated by the specifics given in Ronald B. Standler's Plagiarism in Colleges in USA. The cases (involving students, as well as faculty) presented in the section "Cases against Plagiarists in Colleges" clearly show the importance of researching and documenting ethically, some ways plagiarism can occur, and the severe consequences of plagiarizing.

Many publications have been written regarding plagiarism, some of which are available on the Internet. This unit's examination of plagiarism incorporates two of these Internet resources. Please read them carefully:

  • Avoiding Plagiarism by Dr. Michael O'Connor at Millikin University explains deliberate and unintentional plagiarism, ways to paraphrase correctly, and attribution.
  • Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It by Writing Tutorial Services at Indiana University offers a section titled "How to Recognize Unacceptable and Acceptable Paraphrases," which gives an in-depth discussion about correct ways to paraphrase and has been used (and cited) by many other Internet entities.

As indicated by the linked readings, when another's work is used as part of a "product" or project, attribution must be given to the original creator whether the material used is print, electronic, digital, visual, tactile, auditory, or in another format. Otherwise, plagiarism has probably occurred. The next section gives more details about documenting resources: (why, when, and how).

Resources for Online Writers