What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the act of representing someone else's ideas, words, expression, statements, pictures, data, graphs, organizational structure, computer code, etc., as your own without proper acknowledgment or citation. If you plagiarize you are taking credit for what is not yours. Plagiarism is academic dishonesty because it is an act of both theft and fraud.
It is appropriate (even necessary, in many cases) for you to consult secondary sources and refer to the ideas and contributions of others in your college assignments. After all, the pursuit and expansion of knowledge has always been done in the context of an existing body of facts, ideas, and theories. But it is essential that you draw clear lines between your work and that of others through appropriate acknowledgement and citation. You do not need to cite facts that are considered general knowledge and not specific information that would not be commonly known. (The Declaration was edited by committee; approximately 2400 Americans died at Pearl Harbor).
How can I avoid plagiarism?
- Take the initiative to understand what constitutes plagiarism. Educate yourself about appropriate citation styles (see below). Consult with your course instructor if you have doubts about whether you are acknowledging your sources appropriately. Test yourself by taking the online plagiarism tutorial (courtesy of Indiana University).
- Start your assignment well in advance. Waiting until the last minute can lead to sloppiness, or worse, a bad decision to take a short cut.
- Devise a careful method for organizing you research notes. Include citations along with your notes so that you can quickly identify the quote with the source. Similarly, organize your computer files in a logical way so that you do not mistakenly submit a draft document (which might not include all citations) as a final version of your assignment.
- Do not download an Internet source directly to your desktop. This can lead to cutting and pasting errors which might result in inadvertent plagiarism (which is still a violation of Furman's academic integrity policy).
- Be careful not to mimic an author's organizational structure.
- Do not paraphrase an author's words without citation.
Where can I find information on proper citation?
There are a number of sources available to help you understand proper citation. Below are a few links and references to help you get going. Remember, your course instructor is also an excellent resource, as well as the assistants in the Center for Collaborative Learning and Communication (CCLC).
What is Turnitin.com? I have heard that faculty use this to detect plagiarism.
is an online plagiarism detection and prevention service. A number of Furman faculty have opted to use this tool to enforce academic integrity standards in the classroom. By submitting papers or portions of papers to the Turnitin database, faculty receive an originality report highlighting overlap between student assignments and documents found on the Internet of the Turnitin database. Of course, not all highlighted portions indicate plagiarism but the report does assist faculty in identifying plagiarism or confirming that it has occurred.
Turnitin also has a feature which allows students to submit their own work to check for overlap. Ask your course instructor about the possibility of using Turnitin in this way.
For more information, see www.turnitin.com
Plagiarism and Citation Resources
Other Useful Resources