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Plagiarism & Citation

What it means to use only credible, reliable and authoritative sources in your work.
Your integrity as a student of NBCC is important. Plagiarism tarnishes your reputation and violates NBCC’s Policy of Academic Integrity.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism can be:

  • forgetting to cite articles or books that you summarized or paraphrased
  • not citing every source you used in your paper
  • turning in the same paper to two or more different instructors
  • turning in the same paper as a classmate
  • not citing the images or graphs in your assignment
  • putting your name on someone else's work

Sometimes plagiarism is a result of a few careless mistakes or a misunderstanding of the instructions, instead of a student trying to cheat and use someone else's work, but it can still have significant consequences. You must cite every work, idea, opinion, quote, image, set of data, etc. that you did not create. If you aren't sure that you understand the assignment's instructions, check with your instructor. If you aren't sure that you understand when and how to cite sources in your assignment, check with the Library Coordinator or your instructor.

Examples of Plagiarism

Source:
Berger, Arthur Asa. The Academic Writer's Toolkit : A User's Manual, Routledge, 2016. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/nbcc/detail.action?docID=677741. Created from nbcc on 2019-07-02 05:02:36.

Original text:
"You can think of a thesis statement as being similar in nature to the cases prosecutors present during a trial. During the opening statement to the jury, prosecutors explain the crime the defendant has been accused of committing, what laws are involved, then provide an overview of the case they will make to prove their conclusion. In this analogy, the judge and jury are equivalent to the professors or administrators or editors who will read your text, and the prosecutors’ conclusion is equivalent to your conclusion— based on the results of your research— which you are previewing in your thesis statement." (p. 47)

Plagiarized version:
A thesis statement for a paper is similar to a prosecutor’s opening statement to a jury. Much like the prosecutor explaining the crime the defendant is accused of committing, describing the relevant laws and giving an overview of their case; a thesis statement is a chance to present your argument and describe how the research you have will back it up (Berger, 2016, p. 47).

Correct version:
Thesis statements are not unlike a lawyer’s opening statement in court. In front of a jury they present the case, explain relevant laws or regulations and describe how they will prove the verdict they are arguing for. Instead of proving your argument to a jury, you are presenting information for your instructors to read. Stating their recommendation of the verdict is similar to stating what your conclusion will be from the research you’ve done (Berger, 2016, p. 47).

Explanation:
The plagiarized version includes a citation, but it includes too many of the same words and phrases from the original text. The student would need change the wording or include quotation marks for the keywords and phrases copied from the original.

Plagiarized version:
Thesis statements are not unlike a lawyer’s opening statement in court. In front of a jury they present the case, explain relevant laws or regulations and describe how they will prove the verdict they are arguing for. Instead of proving your argument to a jury, you are presenting information for your instructors to read. Stating their recommendation of the verdict is similar to stating what your conclusion will be from the research you’ve done.

Cited version:
Thesis statements are not unlike a lawyer’s opening statement in court. In front of a jury they present the case, explain relevant laws or regulations and describe how they will prove the verdict they are arguing for. Instead of proving your argument to a jury, you are presenting information for your instructors to read. Stating their recommendation of the verdict is similar to stating what your conclusion will be from the research you’ve done. (Berger, 2016, p. 47).

Explanation:
The student paraphrased the passage correctly, but did not include a citation. In the plagiarized version, it appears that the ideas presented are their own, when they are actually taken from Berger's book. Even though they changed the words, they must cite any other author's ideas for the passage not to be considered plagiarism.

Information Ethics

Information Ethics video

Goblin Plagiarism Game

Learn the rules of plagiarism and citing your sources while you defeat the goblins in this game from Lycoming University. Unsure about an answer? Check our answer key.

Game tips: Type in your name at the beginning for a personalized certificate when you've won the game. Turn up the volume for more fun!

Tips to Avoid Plagiarism

Start early, plan, and document your research

1. Use multiple sources, give yourself enough time to write and document your sources.

2. Take the time to write notes and organize your research.

3. Understand the subject you are writing about – you’re less likely to plagiarize, if you know your material.
 

Consult your instructor, library staff or other resources to understand proper citation

1. Ignorance is no excuse. Understand how and when to quote, paraphrase, & summarize.

2. If you’re unsure about how, why, and when to cite the sources you used - get help.
 

Cite it as you write it!

Jot down the page number and author or title of the source each time you make a note, even if you are not quoting directly, but are only paraphrasing.