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Avoid Plagiarism

What is plagiarism?

The NU Academic Integrity Policy defines plagiarism as "intentionally representing the words, ideas, or data of another as one’s own in any academic exercise without providing proper citation."

Plagiarism is an act of cheating.

  • It disrupts the trust between a student and an instructor, and among classmates.
  • It may result in a failing grade for an assignment, or even dismissal from a course.
  • It can lead to a ruined reputation and loss of one's job.

Since it is a serious violation of intellectual integrity, plagiarism harms the reputation of the university as well as the individual.

Examples of plagiarism

  • Quoting someone's words from the Internet, a printed article, or an interview, without acknowledging the author.
  • Copying part of the content of a work into one's own paper without citing the source.
  • Copying or buying a paper and handing it in as one's own.
  • Falsely creating a citation that doesn't exist.
  • Failing to credit and cite someone else's thoughts or ideas when paraphrasing.
  • Paraphrasing in a way that relies too heavily on another's language or syntax.

See concrete examples here: Plagiarism: what it is and how to avoid it. (Indiana University)

How to avoid plagiarism

Start early

Citing and documentation adds considerable time to the composition of a paper. Always give yourself plenty of time to work on a paper, composing the bibliography and inserting footnotes as you go along.

Keep track

As you work, keep careful records of where the ideas in your research come from by taking good notes, highlighting, keeping original printouts or photocopyies and backing up disks.

  1. Record the author, title, and publication information of what you read.
  2. Write down or highlight the URL if you include information from the Internet.
  3. Don't discard the information or notes you have collected until the paper has been graded and returned to you.

Cite liberally

Remember that the only time that you don't need to cite a source is when an idea is either common knowledge or your own creation.

Examples of common knowledge:

  • George Washington was the first President of the United States
  • Carl Rogers was a psychologist, and his theory of client-centered therapy has a great impact in the field of psychotherapy.

Examples of your own creation:

  • In 2003, I experienced the coldest winter of my life.
  • In this paper, I argue that Plato's republic is a profoundly antidemocratic work.

Know how to cite

When in doubt, ask your instructor or a librarian for help.

Become familiar with documentation guidelines, such as APA, MLA, etc., and find out the documentation style used in your subject area.

Both cite and document

When quoting or paraphrasing ideas, theories, data or words that were created or authored by someone other than you, make sure that you both cite them in the text, and document them in the "works cited" or bibliography at the end of your paper.

For Faculty

Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers by Robert Harris
Provides ideas on designing a curriculum that prevents students from plagiarizing, also covers detection tools.

TurnItIn is a plagiarism detection service available through Blackboard. Use TurnItIn to collect papers and assignments from the students by creating TurnItIn Assignments using the Control Panels of your Blackboard course. Once the work is collected from your students is is automatically compared to a variety of sources including the Internet and other papers that have been submitted in the past. More information is available from the Campus Information Systems Help Desk at x4357.