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Plagiarism: Is it plagiarism?

What is plagiarism? How do I avoid it?

Giving Credit.

The following "Is it plagiarism?" quiz was adapted from a quiz written by Doug Johnson that was used at the English department at the University of Texas (www.lib.utexas.edu). Many of the questions were modified to suit our needs for this particular library guide. 

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: 68 votes (3.46%)
A clear case of plagiarism: 1712 votes (86.99%)
Not exactly plagiarism, but not handled correctly: 188 votes (9.55%)
Total Votes: 1968

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: 42 votes (2.38%)
A clear case of plagiarism: 1373 votes (77.79%)
Not exactly plagiarism, but not handled correctly: 350 votes (19.83%)
Total Votes: 1765

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: 1229 votes (70.39%)
A clear case of plagiarism: 221 votes (12.66%)
Not exactly plagiarism, but not handled correctly: 296 votes (16.95%)
Total Votes: 1746

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: 149 votes (8.77%)
A clear case of plagiarism: 742 votes (43.67%)
Not exactly plagiarism, but not handled correctly: 808 votes (47.56%)
Total Votes: 1699

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: 206 votes (13.07%)
A clear case of plagiarism: 970 votes (61.55%)
Not exactly plagiarism, but not handled correctly: 400 votes (25.38%)
Total Votes: 1576

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: 1233 votes (85.86%)
A clear case of plagiarism: 106 votes (7.38%)
Not exactly plagiarism, but not handled correctly: 97 votes (6.75%)
Total Votes: 1436

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: 303 votes (19.44%)
A clear case of plagiarism: 475 votes (30.47%)
Not exactly plagiarism, but not handled correctly: 781 votes (50.1%)
Total Votes: 1559

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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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