Plagiarism

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is representing someone else’s words or ideas as your own, whether or not you meant to. Most students think of it as copying, but if you take an idea from a source without citing the source (indicating to the reader from whom you got the idea) that’s also plagiarism even if you reword it. (We will go over the proper way to cite a source in a future lesson.) If what you write is general knowledge, like, “Lyndon Johnson became President after John F. Kennedy was assassinated,” that’s not plagiarism no matter how many places a similar statement appears in other people’s work.

Plagiarism results in an immediate F in the course. This has only happened a few times when students turned in papers they hadn’t written. If you earnestly try to cite your sources correctly, you will be fine.

EXERCISE:

The following seven passages were found in a student paper:

  1. The herb, Salvia divinorum, is a type of sage plant that can cause intense hallucinations, out-of-body experiences and, when taken in higher doses, unconsciousness and short-term memory loss. Users have also reported sensations of traveling through time and space, assuming the identities of other people and even merging with inanimate objects.
  1. According to a July 2001 New York Times article by Richard Lezin Jones, Salvia can make people hallucinate.
  1. Salvia has become a controversial substance in recent years.
  1. Salvia should be kept legal and taxed like tobacco.
  1. According to a July 2001 New York Times article by Richard Lezin Jones, the herb, Salvia divinorum, is a type of sage plant that can cause intense hallucinations.
  1. Many government authorities say they know almost nothing about salvia.
  1. According to a July 2001 New York Times article by Richard Lezin Jones, “The herb, Salvia divinorum, is a type of sage plant that can cause intense hallucinations.”

The student used only this source for the paper:  “New Cautions Over a Plant With a Buzz” by Richard Lezin Jones (New York Times, July 9, 2001. pg. B.1).

Indicate why each of the sentences above is, or is not, an example of plagiarism by matching the letter items below with each sentence above.  Use each letter only once. Simply write 1 – 7 on a scrap piece of paper and write the corresponding letter next to it.

a) not plagiarized—common knowledge
b) not plagiarized—original idea
c) not plagiarized—paraphrased and source cited
d) not plagiarized—quoted and source cited
e) plagiarized—copied word-for-word and not quoted or cited
f) plagiarized—copied word-for-word and cited but not quoted
g) plagiarized—paraphrased but not cited