From plagiarius (Latin), meaning kidnapper
Plagiarism and Academic Integrity
Plagiarism is the intentional use of another's words and ideas without proper documentation. It is the writer's responsibility to do and take credit for his or her own work. The value of one's educational experience is measured by honest contributions to the academic environment.
Plagiarism Information Links:
Academic Integrity Policy (Coe College Website)
Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA's Statement on Best Practices (On Coe's WAC website)
In January 2003, the Council of Writing Program Administrators created this definitive document on plagiarism.
Why is Documentation so Important?
The purpose in writing papers involving research is to share your ideas on a subject. It is often essential to use the words and ideas of others to support your own thinking, but the sources of those words and ideas must be acknowledged.
When doing research assignments, much of the information you present will not be your own. Academic discourse has created large pools of information and insights made accessible through publication. You must credit the thoughts and works of others when re-presenting their academic and creative ideas. While avoiding plagiarism may be the first thing on our minds when typing a paper's bibliography, there are many important reasons to document sources:
How do you avoid plagiarism?
You can avoid plagiarism by accurately taking notes when doing research, properly citing your sources, paraphrasing correctly, and keeping drafts of your papers.
Taking notes is the most important part of doing research, but sometimes it's hard to know what is important. There are three main ways to record information while taking notes: quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing. Summarizing condenses information and puts facts into your own words. Quotations are used when the exact words are important or stand as strong evidence in your argument. Paraphrasing is used to represent the source's information in your own language while maintaining the length of the excerpt.
Here are some general guidelines for taking notes:
Citing sources is often the most tricky part of research. There are many forms of documentation out there, and it is crucial that you document properly and in the required method. Proper methods of citation vary by academic discipline. Below you'll find links to three ways to properly document sources. Source documentation differs with academic disciplines. Some departments use parenthetical documentation while others use endnotes or footnotes. What is appropriate for an English paper may not be appropriate for a Psychology or Chemistry paper. Which documentation method is appropriate for your academic discipline? Before you begin your paper's bibliography or works cited page, check with your professor to see which method is preferred.
Here are some common documentation styles:
Paraphrasing is taking information you have read and placing it into your own words and writing style while maintaining the text's meaning and the source's approximate word count. As easy as it sounds, it can be difficult. Over-reliance on an author's own words and language are plagiarism, even if they have been changed some.
Suggestions for paraphrasing properly:
Here is an example of paraphrasing using the opening sentence of the Gettysburg Address:
Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
First draft paraphrase replacing words with synonyms:
Eighty-seven years before today, our political and spiritual ancestors created in North America a country that did not exist before, thought of in freedom and devoted to establishing the principle that all people are born with the same rights.
Revised paraphrase with restructured sentences:
Our political and spiritual ancestors were thinking of how to make freedom a reality when, eighty-seven years before today, they created a country that did not previously exist. Their creation was devoted to establishing the principle that all people are born with the same rights.
(Bazerman, Charles. The Informed Writer. Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston. 1992. 39-40.)