Dishonesty in Plagiarism
Dishonest in Plagiarism
The essence of plagiarism is theft and misrepresentation. One who plagiarizes is attempting to get credit, in the form of a grade, for someone else's work; in effect, he or she is doing the same sort of thing as copying another person's answers on an exam. Thus guilt or innocence in plagiarism cases is not a matter of how much material was stolen or what the motives of the thief were. Any material which is taken from another writer and presented as if it were the student's own original work comes under the prohibition.
Specifically, the following are examples of plagiarism:
1. A paper or assignment actually written in whole or part by another.
2. A paper or assignment copied word-for-word or with only minor changes from a book, magazine, or other source.
3. A paper copied in part from one or more sources, without proper identification and acknowledgment of the sources.
4. A paper which is merely a paraphrase of one or more sources, using ideas and/or logic without credit, even though the actual words may be changed.
Notice numbers 2 and 4. Direct quotation is not the only kind of plagiarism. Taking someone else's ideas, judgments or logic, even if you put them in your own words, is as unacceptable as stealing the words.
This does not mean that outside sources may never be used. Some subjects and some assignments require research and the quotation of other writers' work. But all such use of outside materials must be properly identified, through quotation marks, internal citations, endnotes, and/or other accepted ways of acknowledging such borrowings. It is not the use of an outside source that is wrong; it is the implicit claim that any material obtained in that manner is in fact original.
Nor does this mean that every single fact that you learn from some outside source must be documented. Material which is general knowledge or generally available from many sources (such as dictionary definitions, familiar historical facts, and the like) need not be identified; a reader assumes that you got the information somewhere. In most courses, facts drawn from the textbook in that course (but not the author's judgments or conclusions) are fair game. But it is always better to err in the direction of over-acknowledgment: when in doubt, identify your source. Better yet, unless the assignment requires research, rely on your own knowledge, ideas...