One of the goals of a research project is for you to form your own ideas, arguments, and conclusions based on other people’s work.
There’s a fine balance between using outside evidence to support your argument and being over-reliant on outside text.
Plagiarism is taking others’ words or ideas and passing them off as your own—even accidentally.
So what's the difference between acceptable use (giving proper credit to outside sources) and plagiarism?
Here are some examples of each:
|Using quotation marks to clearly mark someone else’s words.||Using others’ words without quotation marks.|
|Clearly noting the source of each idea in your paper within the text itself (parenthetical citations) and in a citation list (works cited or references page).||Quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing without citation or attribution.|
|Coming to your own conclusions based on a range of ideas, and clearly noting which parts of your paper are your ideas vs. others’||Copying, purchasing, or stealing someone else’s paper and submitting it with your name on it.|
|Talking with your professor ahead of time about whether incorporating your previous work is appropriate, and then clearly noting where you have done so.||Reusing a paper that you submitted for another class.|
Let's examine Delaware County Community College's academic honesty policy, which addresses plagiraism: