WHAT IS PLAGIARISM?
While some cultures may not insist so heavily on documenting sources of words, ideas, images, sounds, etc., American culture does. To be fair and ethical, you must always acknowledge your debt to the writers of the sources you use. Uncredited use (both intentional and unintentional) of somebody else's words or ideas is plagiarism, which is a serious academic offense.
The following acts are considered plagiarism:
- Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
- Failing to enclose borrowed language in quotation marks
- Changing words but using the sentence structure of a source
- Mixing an author's phrases with your own without citation or quotes
- Turning in someone else’s work as your own
WHY IS PLAGIARISM BAD?
- Plagiarism is stealing and stealing is illegal. We all know that stealing physical property is a criminal offense but you should also know that stealing intellectual property, which is protected under copyright law, is also a criminal offense.
- You can’t strengthen your own writing skills (skills necessary to be successful in college, the workplace, and life) if you are submitting the work of someone else and not doing the work yourself.
- You lose the trust and goodwill of your instructor.
- You lose your own satisfaction and self-pride that comes from earned accomplishments.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I PLAGIARIZE?
- You will receive a failing grade of “F” on the plagiarized assignment.
- Your name can be submitted to the dean to be added to a list of students who have been guilty of plagiarizing, and this list can be shared with your current and future instructors.
- You may be referred to the College Disciplinarian for further sanctions which range from a warning to expulsion from Skyline College.
HOW DO I AVOID PLAGIARIZING?
Chapter 10: Integrating Sources shows you how to best select and properly integrate your sources and Chapter 5: MLA Conventions shows you how to properly cite your sources within the paper and at the end on a Works Cited page. Another way to avoid plagiarizing is to begin the semester by making a good faith “honesty pledge.”
The goal of taking a college English course is to strengthen your writing skills, so you can be a successful and confident writer and thinker. You can then apply your strong writing skills to thrive in your other courses, in your career, in personal communication, and in life. Plagiarizing the work of others undermines this goal. Also, an instructor is a student’s ally; an instructor’s only goal is to teach and guide the student to improve and feel successful. Plagiarizing destroys the trust and the relationship between the instructor and the student.
Instructor promise: As the instructor, I promise to respect all students in the course and provide thoughtful and thorough comments on their writing with the goal of guiding each student with concrete and specific ways to strengthen his/her writing. Even though providing quality and detailed feedback on writing is very time-consuming, I commit to providing the best and most constructive feedback that I am able.
Student promise: As the student, I promise to turn in writing that is entirely my own and is not plagiarized or copied from another source. When I do incorporate the ideas of other writers, I will properly cite all borrowed words and ideas. I also understand the repercussions if I do plagiarize: I will receive a failing grade of “F” on the assignment, and my name will be submitted to the dean to be added to a list of students who have been guilty of plagiarizing, and this list can be shared with my current and future instructors; additionally, I may be referred to the College Disciplinarian for further sanctions which range from a warning to expulsion from Skyline College.