There are a variety of reasons for avoiding plagiarism in college — losing credit for a course or paper if you are called before the Honor Council at Valpo, feeling sheepish if you make this mistake inadvertently, and the sense of fairness you have toward other people’s creative efforts. (In terms of media, you want to avoid costs involved with copyright violation, whether real or alleged!)
Many student violations occur inadvertently — you find an interesting idea online, copy a portion of it into your paper, and neglect to summarize it or integrate the ideas into your own words. Then you may forget to cite the source or use direct quotes. Even though you didn’t mean to plagiarize, you have. So be careful in your research — don’t use copy and paste in drafts.
The Writing Center will gladly help you determine if you have included enough citations in order to help you avoid plagiarism. In fact, this is a very typical request!
Other resources about plagiarism
- A self-correcting test: Can you recognize plagiarism?
- An excellent article with suggestions for faculty: Lipson, A.L., & Reindl, S.M. (2003) The responsible plagiarist: Understanding students who misuse resources. About Campus, 8(3), 7-14.
- Definitions and examples, plus distributable handouts: www.plagiarism.org
- Examples of noted plagiarism cases: Wikipedia