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All students should be familiar with the University's policy on academic integrity. If you've never seen it, you can read the entire policy online, and get access to other resources regarding Academic Integrity at the Office of Student Judicial Affairs. It's a somewhat complicated document, though, and even after reading it you may not understand what plagiarism is or how you can avoid it. And, given the fact that the consequences can be severe (you could be suspended from the University for a minimum of one semester with the notation of "academic disciplinary suspension" permanently placed on your transcript, not to mention failing the class and having to start all over again), it's crucial that you develop a good understanding of just what plagiarism is.

That's what this page will help you do. Not only will you learn the University's official policy on plagiarism, but you'll also be able to explore some gray areas of this serious academic offense as well. To help you resolve these gray areas, and to help you avoid them in your own writing, we'll look at the underlying issues in plagiarism. Then, you'll learn what makes instructors usually suspect plagiarism, in the process actually learning more about your own writing. Finally, we'll look at some alternatives to plagiarism.
Plagiarism Defined:
the representation of the words or ideas of another as one's own in any academic work. To avoid plagiarism, every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks, or by appropriate indentation, and must be cited properly according to the accepted format for the particular discipline. Acknowledgment is also required when material from any source is paraphrased or summarized in whole or in part in one's own words. To acknowledge a paraphrase properly, one might state: to paraphrase Plato's comment... and conclude with a footnote or appropriate citation to identify the exact reference. A footnote acknowledging only a directly quoted statement does not suffice to notify the reader of any preceding or succeeding paraphrased material. Information that is common knowledge, such as names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc, need not be cited; however, the sources of all facts or information obtained in reading or research that are not common knowledge among students in the course must be acknowledged. In addition to materials specifically cited in the text, other materials that contribute to one's general understanding of the subject may be acknowledged in the bibliography.
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