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Plagiarism & Academic Honesty

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using someone else's words or ideas as your own without attribution. Whether or not it's intentional, failure to properly give credit to work that is not yours is considered plagiarism.

Examples of plagiarism (Columbia College Library, 2020):

  • Copying and pasting directly from a source without enclosing the text in quotation marks or providing a citation.
  • Summarizing or paraphrasing someone else's ideas without proper attribution.
  • Re-using assignments used in previous courses.
  • Submitting work completed by another person.

According to the CSUSM Academic Honesty Policy (Section VI. D), plagiarism is defined as:

"Intentionally or knowingly representing the words, ideas, or work of another as one's own in any academic exercise, including:

(a)    the act of incorporating the ideas, words, sentences, paragraphs, or parts thereof, or the specific substance of another's work, without giving appropriate credit, and representing the product as one's own work;

(b)   the act of putting one's name as an author on a group project to which no contribution was actually made; and

(c)    representing another's artistic/scholarly works such as musical compositions, computer programs, photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures, or similar works as one's own.

The policy also provides the following guidelines to avoid committing plagiarism:

  1. Direct Quotation: Every direct quote must be identified by quotation marks, or by appropriate indentation or by other means of identification, and must be properly cited with author(s) name(s), year of publication, page number(s), footnotes and/or endnotes, depending on the citation style used. Proper citation style for academic writing is outlined by such manuals as the MLA handbook for writers of research papers, APA: Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, or Chicago manual of style.
  2. Paraphrase: Prompt acknowledgment is required when material from another source is paraphrased or summarized in whole or in part in one’s own words. To acknowledge a paraphrase properly, one might state: "to paraphrase Locke's comment..." and conclude with a citation identifying the exact reference. A citation acknowledging only a directly quoted statement does not suffice to notify the reader of any preceding or succeeding paraphrased material.
  3. Borrowed Facts or Information: Information obtained in one's reading or research which is not common knowledge among students in the course must be acknowledged. Examples of common knowledge might include the names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc.
  4. Material which contributes only to the student's general understanding of the subject may be acknowledged in the bibliography and need not be immediately cited. One citation is usually sufficient to acknowledge indebtedness when a number of connected sentences in the paper draw their special information from one source. When direct quotations are used, however, quotation format must be used and prompt acknowledgment is required."

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