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Plagiarism: Is it plagiarism?

What is plagiarism? How do I avoid it?

Scenario #1

You’re working on a homework assignment about dolphins. You search Google and find a good description of how they communicate. Using your computer, you copy and paste it directly into your paper. The web page does not list an author or publication date, and the passage is pretty short anyway, so you don’t bother to cite it.

Scenario #1
Not plagiarism: 47 votes (3.52%)
A clear case of plagiarism: 1176 votes (88.16%)
Not exactly plagiarism, but not handled correctly: 111 votes (8.32%)
Total Votes: 1334

Scenario #2

You really like the way the author of your textbook expresses ideas, and so you begin to take notes from the textbook for a paper you’re writing. You copy the text but forget to include quotation marks, and you don’t record the pages where you found the information. When you begin writing your paper, you include the notes forgetting that these are exact phrases and sentences.

Scenario #2
Not plagiarism: 32 votes (2.65%)
A clear case of plagiarism: 917 votes (75.97%)
Not exactly plagiarism, but not handled correctly: 258 votes (21.38%)
Total Votes: 1207

Scenario #3

You are writing a paper for your history class about World War II and mention that the US entered the war after Pearl Harbor was bombed. You do not include a citation for this information.

Scenario #3
Not plagiarism: 865 votes (72.51%)
A clear case of plagiarism: 142 votes (11.9%)
Not exactly plagiarism, but not handled correctly: 186 votes (15.59%)
Total Votes: 1193

Scenario #4

You are taking a sociology class, which requires a 5-page research paper. You visit the reference desk at the library, and a librarian helps you find articles on your topic in the HPU Libraries article databases. You copy and paste the most interesting parts of the articles into your paper without putting those parts in quotes, but you do list the articles in your Works Cited page.

Scenario #4
Not plagiarism: 116 votes (10.11%)
A clear case of plagiarism: 488 votes (42.55%)
Not exactly plagiarism, but not handled correctly: 543 votes (47.34%)
Total Votes: 1147

Scenario #5

You are doing a presentation for your nutrition class and use an image of the Food Guide Pyramid you found on a government web site. You do not cite where you found the image.

Scenario #5
Not plagiarism: 135 votes (12.1%)
A clear case of plagiarism: 670 votes (60.04%)
Not exactly plagiarism, but not handled correctly: 311 votes (27.87%)
Total Votes: 1116

Scenario #6

A search of the HPU Libraries' databases leads you to a great article on your research topic. The article's author is making a different kind of argument than you are, but one of her points applies to your paper, too. You quote a three-sentence passage from the article and summarize some of the author's other ideas. You're nervous about using this author's ideas so much, so you're very careful to cite her properly and to make it clear which ideas are yours and which came from the article.

Scenario #6
Not plagiarism: 856 votes (85.77%)
A clear case of plagiarism: 76 votes (7.62%)
Not exactly plagiarism, but not handled correctly: 66 votes (6.61%)
Total Votes: 998

Scenario #7

You're not very good at grammar, and you find it difficult to proofread your own work. You ask a friend to look over your paper for you, and you specifically tell him to only correct little things like punctuation and spelling. When he gives it back to you, he's made a lot of corrections, sometimes changing around entire sentences. You read the paper over after you've edited it, and it doesn't really sound like your writing style. You hand in the paper and hope that your instructor will not notice the stylistic differences.

Scenario #7
Not plagiarism: 219 votes (19.96%)
A clear case of plagiarism: 326 votes (29.72%)
Not exactly plagiarism, but not handled correctly: 552 votes (50.32%)
Total Votes: 1097

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Acknowledgements

The materials on this page were adapted from a plagiarism worksheet developed by Ann Roselle at Phoenix College. 

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