Plagiarism is defined in the College statement on Academic Dishonesty (P 4.45) as “using the idea, data, or language of another without specific or proper acknowledgement.” All published and unpublished material, whether in printed or electronic form, is covered under this definition. This definition applies whether material is presented orally (for example, in a presentation) or in writing, or if the content includes visual information (for example, charts, graphs, illustrations).

The definition also applies to the reuse of one’s own work without proper citation—this is known as self-plagiarism. Self-plagiarism results when a student submits an original work to more than one course (or the same course), without proper acknowledgement that the work, in large sections or in its entirety, has been previously submitted. Moreover, submitting a work multiple times in this manner requires faculty permission (see “multiple submission” in the College’s Academic Dishonesty Policy, P 4.45). To avoid self-plagiarism, the core of the new work must constitute an original creation, and thus an original contribution to the body of knowledge in a particular field.

Whether deliberate or unintentional, plagiarism is open to the charge of academic dishonesty. As such, it is imperative that all members of the Penn College community understand the concept of plagiarism and diligently strive to provide appropriate attribution in all academic contexts.

Plagiarism subjects the student to disciplinary sanctions. Students should refer to the Academic Dishonesty Complaint Procedure, PR 4.45 for an explanation of these sanctions as well as procedural protections that ensure due process.

Types of Plagiarism

The most common types of student plagiarism, in order of frequency, include:

Type 1: failing to credit correctly the original source of ideas integrated into the student-generated work. All source material must be credited within the text; just listing a source in a bibliography is not sufficient to avoid plagiarism; and

Type 2: incorporating exact wording of a passage without using quotation marks and correct in-text citation, endnote/footnote, and reference list. Just listing a source in a bibliography is not sufficient to avoid plagiarism.

Academic integrity demands due diligence in both understanding and avoiding plagiarism. In academic work, plagiarism can be avoided by correctly attributing material incorporated into an assignment to the original source of that material. Although the following examples show APA style, these principles apply no matter what format of documentation is employed.

Examples of Plagiarism Explained

Example of Type 1 Plagiarism. Here is a passage on page 43 from Mitch Albom’s 1997 best-selling book Tuesdays with Morrie:

“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you meaning and purpose.”

Plagiarism of the Passage

Morrie believes that too many people are living lives that are meaningless because they go through life not being fully awake or because they spend their time being busy chasing the wrong things.

Why This Is Plagiarism

The student paraphrases the idea from this passage in Tuesdays with Morrie but does not credit the original source of the material with an in-text citation.

Passage Correctly Cited

Morrie believes that too many people are living lives that are meaningless because they go through life not being fully awake or because they spend their time being busy chasing the wrong things (Albom, 1997).

This is a correct citation (APA format) because the sentence contains an in-text citation of the source from which the student paraphrased the original idea.

Example of Type 2 Plagiarism. This example uses the same passage from Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie:

Plagiarism of the Passage

One of the lessons Morrie teaches to this former student is that the way to have a meaningful life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you meaning and purpose.

Why This Is Plagiarism:

The student incorporates exact wording of a passage without using quotation marks and a correct in-text citation. The wording about devoting yourself to loving others, to the community, and to creating something with meaning and purpose is included, word-for-word, from the book, but there are no quotation marks nor an in-text citation.

Passage Correctly Cited

One of the lessons Morrie teaches to this former student is that the way to get meaning into life is “to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you meaning and purpose” (Albom, 1997, p. 43).

This is a correct citation (APA format) because the direct quote from Tuesdays with Morrie is in quotation marks and because the sentence contains an in-text citation with the author’s last name, year of publication, and the page number. Including this in-text citation both attributes the quote to the original source and helps the reader locate the quote in that original source.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Following these guidelines in your academic speaking and writing will help you avoid plagiarism and its potential consequences. Unless otherwise requested by your instructor for a more informal course assignment, follow the guidelines for proper citation as provided by your instructor. While plagiarism is a multifaceted issue, with varying degrees of culpability, avoiding plagiarism is a straightforward process. Adherence to proper protocol for citation helps avoid plagiarism and helps ensure academic integrity.