Aquinas College, an inclusive educational community rooted in the Catholic and Dominican tradition, provides a liberal arts education with a global perspective, emphasizes career preparation focused on leadership and service to others, and fosters a commitment to lifelong learning dedicated to the pursuit of truth and the common good.
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Plagiarism on Campus: A comprehensive site for students and faculty.
With the increasing availability of information on the Web, plagiarism has become more common. This page provides information about recognizing and avoiding plagiarism, as well as guidelines for faculty regarding teaching students about plagiarism issues.
Plagiarism is a form of cheating and a form of lying. Usually it's a way of trying to complete an assignment without doing all of the necessary work. A writer plagiarizes when he or she turns in a paper that contains passages or important ideas written by someone else and doesn't give credit to the original author.
At Aquinas, we see a difference between two kinds of plagiarism. The rules and regulations for quoting and citing material in college-level work are fairly complicated, and students new to this work can sometimes make mistakes that technically result in plagiarism. We call this unintentional plagiarism, and although it's serious, almost always professors will give you a chance to remedy the problem and learn from your mistakes.
But there's a more serious kind of plagiarism that involves a deliberate lie and an effort to cheat. Intentional plagiarism is a flagrant attempt to take the easy way out of an assignment by presenting a whole paper or parts of one that were written by someone else, and not telling where the material came from.
Here are some examples of intentional plagiarism:
Professors assign papers to provide opportunities to deepen and enrich your learning in a course. When you write a paper, you go beyond what's been said in the textbook or in the classroom, and make the learning your own. When a student plagiarizes a paper, the student misses the chance to learn.
Students need to be able to trust their professors. They need confidence that professors are up-to-date in the information they present, accurate in their portrayal of texts and theories, reliably fair in their evaluations of students' work. Likewise, professors need to trust their students. They have to have confidence in the truthfulness of students' statements in class, the honesty of their efforts to learn, and their trustworthiness in the papers and projects they submit for grading.
Academic work at the college level depends on the give and take of ideas in the classroom, on the discussion and debates we carry on with one another, and on the honest presentation of ideas in written papers, articles, and books. In order for us to do our daily work in college, we need to have confidence in the truthfulness of our colleagues in this work - both professors and students.
Ethical uses of information and honesty in writing matter throughout one's lifetime. The fair use of information and the honest presentation of one's self are important responsibilities for career and citizenship. The habits students develop in college as they write papers prepare them for the kinds of writing and speaking they will do throughout a lifetime. Honesty and fairness cannot be compartmentalized as character traits to be practiced later, "when it really matters." If a writer plagiarizes in college, is it realistic to expect that he or she won't do so later?
A paper assignment requires all the members of a class to do a significant amount of work. When one person plagiarizes, classmates who do honest work are likely to feel betrayed and angry.
A primary purpose of higher education is to guide students in becoming independent, original thinkers. Creative and critical thought are subverted when a student plagiarizes, and a basic reason for being in college is undermined.
Plagiarism carries severe disciplinary and financial consequences. When a student is proven to have plagiarized a paper, he or she faces serious penalties, ranging from failure on the assignment to failure in the course. These penalties will be reported to the college's Dean of Students, who will enter the offense in the student's record. Repeated acts of plagiarism will lead to dismissal from the college.
Plagiarism in the professional world can also lead to serious consequences, including professional disgrace, loss of position, and lawsuits.
Aquinas gives professors some choices about how to deal with students who plagiarize.
If a professor believes that a student commits plagiarism because he or she is trying to do honest work but doesn't know all of the rules and regulations about how to cite sources, the professor will usually impose some kind of penalty and require the student to redo the work. The penalty might be a lower grade or even failure for the assignment, but usually the student will still be able to pass the course if the other work in the semester is good enough.
When a professor believes a student has intended to lie about the source of ideas and words, and has tried to cheat on an assignment, the penalties are much stiffer. The professor can fail the student for the assignment and can also fail the student for the course. In fact, the usual penalty for this kind of plagiarism is failure for the course.Any case of plagiarism must be reported by the professor to the Dean of Students. The Dean keeps a record of all cases of plagiarism, and if a student plagiarizes repeatedly, the Dean will take additional actions and impose additional penalties. The maximum penalty is expelling the student from the college.
You'd think that authors would want us to use their ideas. It's not as if we're taking credit for them-we're just harmless college students. When you turn in someone else's work as your own, you are indeed taking credit for ideas that aren't yours, even if you aren't publishing those ideas. When you plagiarize, you also undermine your own learning experience. And you compromise your personal integrity.
Plagiarism is a big deal not only because of the ethical implications, but also because it is on the rise in the United States. With so many students plagiarizing, it becomes increasingly important to think about why we come to college.
You are plagiarizing if you:
Your learning experience should be moving forward from semester to semester. If you turn in the same paper twice, you're not moving forward. On the other hand, you can always learn from previous presentations and assignments. There's nothing wrong with re-reading an earlier paper in order to freshen and invigorate your thinking. But if you want to reuse a paper from a previous course, you need permission from your professor to do so.
To summarize accurately and concisely is an important skill in research writing. For a good explanation of the differences between summary and plagiarism, download the Library's handout (pdf).
Plagiarism seeks to conceal the source, while allusion seeks to reveal it. In creative writing (poetry, fiction, drama, memoir), you may indeed include allusions. These are references to other texts that extend your meaning. But in academic writing (essays, research, argumentation, lab reports), you must document all of your sources. One of the goals of academic writing is to show that your research is part of a larger conversation. Proper documentation will help you achieve this goal, since it places your work into the context of this larger conversation.
Aquinas professors read student work very carefully. Consequently, professors notice telltale shifts and irregularities-an abrupt change in vocabulary, style, or syntax; a reference to ideas that seem contextually surprising; a paper that seems slightly off-topic.
Aquinas professors check sources in a variety of ways. Some professors ask students to turn in copies of sources. Some collaborate with research librarians. Many professors keep abreast of the "study guides" marketed to students. Finally, professors make judicious use of search engines and other electronic tools.
No. Usually public speaking involves a team effort, a collaboration of skills, and a delegation of responsibility. The public knows and respects this. The public speaker does not seek to disguise such collaboration, but the plagiarist deliberately seeks to disguise his or her dishonesty.
Don't worry about this question. Instead, ask this one: Have I acknowledged all my sources with fair and accurate documentation? Here's a good rule of thumb. If a source has changed the way you think about something, or if you like a phrase well enough to include it in your own work, document it.
Yes, it is.
It should be.
(Adapted from Hope College Plagiarism web page)