Plagiarism is using and passing off as one's own the
writings or ideas of another person. It is, in short, a form of intellectual
theft that violates the basic ethical standards of any academic community.
The cut-and-paste features of modern word processors and web browsers
make plagiarism remarkably easy to commit, but this ease does not diminish
the severity of the offense. Students working on web-based research projects
should be especially vigilant about avoiding the temptation simply to
lift material from other online sources into their work. Feel free to
incorporate all the links you like to other useful sites you may find
on the web. Do not copy their content, though, without proper attribution
(which includes full MLA citation). Any web project that is found to contain
plagiarized content will receive a failing grade, and its authors may
be subject to disciplinary action by the university.
The following guidelines, adapted from the English
Department's policy statement on plagiarism, may be helpful in clarifying
the difference between acceptable and unacceptable "borrowing."
Plagiarism occurs when a student submitting academic work:
- Does not properly attribute words or ideas to their original source.
- Quotes from another author's writing without citing that author's
- Cites, with quotation marks, portions of another author's work, but
uses more of that work without quotation marks and without attribution.
- Takes an essay from a site on the Web or a "library" of already-written
papers and submits it, in whole or in part, as his or her own work.
- Steals a paper from another student and then submits that paper as coursework.
- Submits the same paper twice for two different assignments.
- Takes the results of another's research and attempts to pass those
results off as his or her own work.
Evidence of any of the above behaviors is considered a serious breach
of university ethics and will result in severe academic sanctions. Students
are strongly encouraged to read the full
text of the policy statement or check with their instructor
should any questions remain about these guidelines. Students should also
be aware that certain uses of others' work, even with proper attribution,
may be subject to copyright law.
For further information about plagiarism and how to avoid it, see the
very helpful document "Avoiding
Plagiarism" prepared by the writing center at Northwestern University.
For ECE guidelines on the proper citation of sources, click
Go on to Citing Sources