Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else’s words or ideas as your own. It’s clear that having someone write a paper for you and turning it in as your own is plagiarism. It also goes without saying that it’s wrong to buy a research paper to turn in with your name on it. But there are other less obvious ways to plagiarize, and you need to be aware of them.
Using someone’s exact words without using quotation marks and without giving that person credit is plagiarism.
Using someone’s words, but changing a few of them by using synonyms without giving the person credit is plagiarism.
Using someone’s original idea, even if you don’t use the exact words, without giving credit is also plagiarism.
When you turn in a writing assignment, it is assumed that everything in it is your own work and your own ideas, unless you give credit to the originator of the words and ideas. This includes the ideas you post in online class discussions.
Why? Plagiarism is against the law (stealing) and it’s also unethical (lying). Recently in the news you might have read about journalists, politicians, and even college presidents who have gone down because they passed off someone else’s ideas as their own. Their jobs, reputations, and their ability to find work in their professions are now ruined. In college the penalties are not quite as harsh (failure for the assignment, failure for the course, dismissal from the college), but it’s still not worth it.
On a brighter note, you should know that it is completely acceptable to read what other people have said about your essay topic. And it’s perfectly acceptable to usewhat other people have said, as long as you give them credit for it.
Here are some sources to help you avoid plagiarism by acknowledging and citing your sources correctly:
The Academic Assistance Center at CCC
The Learning Resource Center at CCC
The handbook you used in Freshman Composition
Guide to Grammar and Writing: http://www.csubak.edu/ssric/Modules/Other/plagiarism.htm
Purdue’s Online Writing Lab: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/
The LRC’s online library resources: http://clinton.edu/Academics/Library/INDEX.HTM