What is plagiarism?
Presenting someone else's ideas as your own and/or not giving credit to sources that you use in any project is considered plagiarism. Not only is plagiarism dishonest, it violates college policy.
The only information you do not have to document is common knowledge or information most anyone with a common culture would know. We know that George Washington was the first president of the United States or that Hawaii is the fiftieth state. You do not have to find a source for that type of information. What about common sayings such as “haste makes waste?” It is not plagiarism if you do not find the source for such phrases. However, if you can find the origin of the saying, in this case, from Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac, your paper will benefit from enhanced credibility.
There are several different ways to cite the materials you use in your projects. Make sure your teacher tells you what style to follow for your bibliography. Usually you will need to cite internally (inside the content of your project) and in a bibliography at the end of your project. Think of your bibliography as credits at the end of the film. Everyone who was involved in making the project possible deserves credit.
There are many resources that can help you. There are citation help guides for quick reference or entire books that will explain citation styles. You can borrow them from the library or buy them at the bookstore. Ask your professor or librarian for assistance.
All copyrighted items used to create your paper or project must be in your bibliography. For example, you would cite books, newspaper articles, Internet pages, images, and multimedia information you included in your project.
Professors will often be able to tell if your writing or presentation is an original creation or from someone else. They also will want to make sure that the initial creator of the works used is being given proper credit. This practice is ethical and legal. If you didn't give credit properly, your integrity and class grade would likely suffer. Stealing words and ideas is considered theft.
“Academic Integrity & Plagiarism.” 18 Aug. 2009. Texas A&M University Libraries. 17 Sept. 2009.
Avoiding Plagiarism guide from Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)
You Quote It, You Note It!
- an interactive plagiarism prevention tutorial
from Vaughn Memorial Library @ Acadia University in Nova Scotia