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Understanding Plagiarism

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Understanding Plagiarism

What is this plagiarism tutorial all about, anyway?

Chances are pretty good that your college catalog has a section on academic honesty that includes a warning about what can happen to a student who is caught plagiarizing. Depending on your school's policy, and your instructor, the penalties for plagiarism run from a failing grade on a plagiarized paper to failing a course to being expelled from school. Most colleges and most professors frown on plagiarism.

It may not even matter that your plagiarism is unintentional. If you use a source of information that you don't properly identify or cite, you are guilty of plagiarism whether you meant to omit it or not. How severely you can be punished, even for unintentional plagiarism, will depend largely on your instructor and the policies of your academic institution.

The main purposes of this tutorial are

  1. to help you understand what plagiarism is, and
  2. to help teach you how to avoid committing plagiarism.

Along the way, we'll also show you how to

  1. properly attribute sources you use in your papers
  2. properly quote material
  3. accurately summarize material
  4. carefully paraphrase material, and
  5. how to cite and attribute information retrieved from electronic or other unconventional sources.

Finally, we'll give you a list of Internet sites where you can learn more about plagiarism and how to avoid it, as well as some sites to help you use proper bibliographic and other reference citations.

So, if you're ready, go to the "Jump to" menu above and choose "What is plagiarism?"

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