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What is Plagiarism?

At UCD plagiarism is defined as "... the use of another personís distinctive ideas or words without acknowledgement" (University Catalog). Simply put, plagiarism is the act of copying someone's idea or words and acting like they are your own. The key to avoiding plagiarism is simply to acknowledge any ideas or words of others that you use. This might seem strange. In some cultures copying another's work is an act of flattery. But in the U.S. and specifically at UCD, copying another's work--whether it's ideas, words, or even things like images--without acknowledging where they came from is an act of plagiarism and a violation of UCD's academic honor code.

Imagine this Scenario

John Writing PaperJohn is working on a paper about Mark Twain. He begins searching the Internet for sources and ideas. He copies a paragraph about Mark Twain's early life from Wikipedia and pastes it into his paper. Wikipedia is different from traditional books in that there isn't a clearly identified author. John isn't sure how to cite this. He plans to ask a friend how to cite the paragraph from Wikipedia, but ends up coming down with the flu the week before the paper is due. As a result, he stays up late the night before the paper is due and completely forgets to appropriately cite the quote and turns in the paper.

Did John plagiarize? Should John be kicked out of school?

You will be able to answer questions like these by the end of the Plagiarism module.