What is Plagiarism?
American Academic Community
Definition of Plagiarism
Derived from the Latin word plagiarius ( “kidnapper”), plagiarism refers to a form of cheating that has been defined as “the false assumption of authorship: the wrongful act of taking the product of another person’s mind and presenting it as one ’s own” (Alexander Lindey, Plagiarism and Originality [New York, Harper, 1952] 2). Plagiarism involves two kinds of wrongs. Using another person’s ideas, information, or expressions without acknowledging that person’s work constitutes intellectual theft. Passing off another person’s ideas, information, or expressions as your own to get a better grade or gain some other advantage constitutes fraud. Plagiarism is sometimes a moral and ethical offense rather than a legal one since some instances of plagiarism fall outside the scope of copyright infringement, a legal offense. (Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook. 6th ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2003. 66.)
Types of Plagiarism
Use others’ intellectual work without quotation or reference to the source:
- Type I: Direct Copy & Paste
- Type II: Small Modification by Word Switch
- Type III: Use Others’ Reasoning Style
- Type IV: Use Others’ Metaphor
- Type V: Use Others’ Idea
Barnbaum, C. “Plagiarism: A Student's Guide to Recognizing It and Avoiding It.” Valdosta State University. http://www.valdosta.edu/~cbarnbau/personal/teaching_MISC/plagiarism.htm
Unintentional plagiarism is plagiarism that results from the disregard for proper scholarly procedures. Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism:
- Failure to cite a source that is not common knowledge.
- Failure to "quote" or block quote author's exact words, even if documented.
- Failure to put a paraphrase in your own words, even if documented.
- Failure to put a summary in your own words, even if documented.
- Failure to be loyal to a source.
“Plagiarism Tutorial. ” Duke University. https://plagiarism.duke.edu/unintent/
Common Knowledge and Facts
“Common knowledge” does not need to provide citation if:
- An average educated person knows it;
- It is easy to look up;
- It can be found from multiple sources.
Example: HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS.
“Facts” that do not open to contention do not need to provide citation.
Example: United States of America has 50 states and 1 district.
Note: ”Common Knowledge” in one academic area might not be “common” for outsiders, so when you are not sure, cite to be safe or ask your professor for help.
College and University Policies
According to Columbia College and University Policies on Academic Integrity, a student alleged to have engaged in academic dishonesty will be subject to the Dean’s Discipline Process. If at the conclusion of that process the student is found responsible for the violation, possible outcomes include:
- Conditional probation
- Educational project
- Loss of housing
Columbia College and University Policies on Academic Integrity
Academic dishonesty may be intentional or unintentional and most commonly includes but is not limited to:
- Plagiarism (copying word for word or paraphrasing without proper citation or acknowledgment from a written or electronic source)
- Cheating on examinations
- Unauthorized collaboration on an assignment
- Receiving unauthorized assistance on an assignment
- Copying computer programs
- Submitting work for one course that has already been used for another course
- Unauthorized distribution of assignments and exams
- Lying to an instructor or University officer
- Obtaining advance knowledge of exams or other assignments without permission
Columbia|SIPA Code of Academic and Professional Conduct
"I will submit original work and will properly attribute ideas that are not my own according to established academic procedures. If I am unsure about what constitutes proper academic procedure in a particular instance, it is my responsibility to consult with a professor or member of the Dean's Office. I will not give or receive unauthorized aid on any assignment or exam. I will not cheat or plagiarize while matriculated at SIPA, regardless of the department or school through which academic work might be required.
I understand that cheating comprises the giving or receiving of unauthorized or unfair aid in academic work. This may occur by, but is not limited to: lying, deceiving, stealing, talking, signaling, copying from other students, and unauthorized usage of books, data (both in hardcopy and electronic formats), study aids, or other sources in a manner inconsistent with the expectations established by SIPA and my classroom instructors.
I understand that plagiarism includes but is not limited to:
- Submitting essays, or portions of essays, or other prose written by other people as one's own;
- Failing to acknowledge, through proper footnotes and bibliographic entries, the source of ideas essentially not one's own;
- Failing to indicate paraphrases or ideas or verbatim expressions not one's own through proper use of quotations and footnotes;
- Submitting an essay written for one course to a second course without having sought prior permission from both instructors;
- Collaborating with other students or outside sources on an assignment or examination without specific permission from the faculty member to do so;
- Using another person's or institution's research or data without attribution.
Academic work includes all graded assignments such as papers, essays, examinations, tests, labs, problem sets and other graded homework assignments.
If graded together with other students in study groups, I pledge to contribute to my fullest capacity. I will not seek unauthorized help outside my study group, unless specifically authorized by the faculty member."
Using Style Guides
Columbia University: Citation Guides
- Plagiarism Tutorial, Duke University
- How to Avoid Plagiarism, Northwestern University
- Avoiding Plagiarism, Purdue University
- Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It, Indiana University
- Common Scholarly Procedures, Duke University