Writing Help: Plagiarism

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CMU and Plagiarism

According to the Central Michigan University Policy on Academic Integrity, plagiarism is "intentionally or carelessly presenting the work of another as one's own. It includes submitting an assignment purporting to be the student's original work which has wholly or in part been created by another person. It also includes the presentation of the work, ideas, representations, or words of another person without customary and proper acknowledgement of sources." Committing an act of plagiarism is a violation of university policy and may result in disciplinary measures.

The topic of plagiarism is addressed in Section 2.B. of CMU's Policy on Academic Integrity.

An Introduction to Plagiarism

What Plagiarism Is and How You Can Avoid It

Plagiarism is presenting the work or ideas of another in your research without properly acknowledging the source. If you use the work of someone else and either knowingly or inadvertently claim it as your own creation you are committing an act of plagiarism.

An act of plagiarism can take many forms. Here is a list of some examples of plagiarism:

  • Word-for-word copying of another’s work without properly acknowledging the source of the information. If you use the exact words of another you must enclose this in quotation marks;
  • Paraphrasing the work of another without acknowledgement. Paraphrasing is putting another's statements and/or ideas in your own words, but if your sentences use many of the same words and grammatical structure as the original source it could be construed as plagiarism. Be sure to put the text in your own words. Quotation marks are not requried here, but you still must cite paraphrased content;
  • Failing to properly cite your source, even if that failure is inadvertent;
  • Attributing information to a source from which it did not come;
  • The fabrication of data and/or allegedly factual information;
  • Submitting material created by another under your name. This includes turning in a paper created by someone else and claiming it as your own work;
  • Submitting material created by yourself and others but claiming the work entirely as your own.

Here are some tips for avoiding plagiarism:

  • Familiarize yourself with the basics of the research writing process, including the citing of sources;
  • Make note of all the sources you consult during the research process;
  • Always enclose direct quotes in quotation marks. Failing to do this is one of the most common forms of plagiarism;
  • Remember that paraphrasing the ideas of another still requires proper citation;
  • Give yourself enough time to properly research and write your paper. Waiting until the last minute may tempt you to plagiarize;
  • Proofread the final version of your paper to ensure that all the sources you used are cited correctly;
  • If unsure whether to cite a source or how to cite it properly, ask your instructor or a librarian.

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