Lake Forest College Statement on Academic Honesty and Plagiarism
Plagiarism is “the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work” ( Random House Compact Unabridged Dictionary, 1997).
Most people recognize the more obvious forms of plagiarism — copying another student’s test paper, buying a research paper, or copying material directly out of published work — but there are less blatant forms of plagiarism which sometimes result from a writer’s unintentional misuse of source materials. You may have plagiarized without realizing what you have done, but being unaware does not justify or excuse plagiarism. The following guidelines will help you to give correct credit to your sources.
KEEP THESE PRINCIPLES IN MIND
- Quoting: If you use another person’s words, enclose them in quotation marks and document the source in a footnote, endnote, or parentheses (depending on the style of documentation required for your paper).
- Paraphrasing: When you restate another person’s idea in your own words, you are paraphrasing. Unless you cite a source, your reader will assume that the wording is entirely your own. Since a paraphrase is based on another person’s idea, its source must always be documented.
- Common knowledge: Many people are aware that common knowledge — factual material such as dates or scientific formulae — need not be documented. If you are unsure if a given fact is common knowledge, cite its source. It is better to be cautious and thorough than to risk plagiarism.
- Cutting and pasting: It is very easy to cut and paste material from one electronic document to another, for example, from a Web site to a term paper. Take care to note with quotation marks when you have cut and pasted material, and document all pasted passages as you would any quotation.
- Downloading: Any information that you download from the Web, databases, or other electronic resources and use in a paper must be properly cited. Remember to use quotation marks around any downloaded text that you incorporate into your paper.
- Bibliography, Works Cited, or References: In the case of a paper, these terms refer to a list of books, articles, Web sites, interviews, music, films, and other documents quoted or paraphrased. These vary in format based on style (examples are MLA, APA, Chicago Manual of Style). Providing a bibliography or a list of works cited is one way to document your sources. This list will usually appear as the last page of your paper.
- Cite: To quote directly, to paraphrase, and to document the source. There are several citation styles.
- Footnotes and Endnotes: These are ways of documenting your citations. Footnotes appear at the bottom of each page of your paper and refer to citations on that page. Endnotes appear at the end of the paper’s text. The requirements for footnotes and endnotes vary by citation style. Check with your professor or the Writing Center for more information.
The examples of plagiarism and correct citation below are based on the following quotation by Bruno Bettelheim (MLA style is demonstrated below; see also APA style):
- A. If you use part of the language of the passage, put quotation marks around the borrowed words and cite the source.
- People today find that religious themes no longer arouse universally and personally meaningful associations.
- People today find that “religious themes no longer arouse universally and personally meaningful associations” (Bettelheim 13).
- B. If you paraphrase the original, be sure to document the source of the borrowed idea.
- According to Bruno Bettelheim, some fairy tales are ignored because people no longer seem to respond to their religious themes.
- According to Bruno Bettelheim, some fairy tales are ignored because people no longer seem to respond to their religious themes (13).
- C. If you use an idea based on a point made by another person, you must acknowledge your source.
- The stories from The Thousand and One Nights that deal with Islamic religion are not likely to be popular with modern Americans.
- The stories from The Thousand and One Nights which that with Islamic religion are not likely to be popular with modern Americans (Bettelheim 13).
- According to Bettelheim’s theories about fairy tales and religion, the stories from The Thousand and One Nights that deal with Islamic religion are not likely to be popular with modern Americans (13).
Information on the format of quotations and footnotes may be found in many reference books. One standard reference is A Pocket Style Manual by Diana Hacker. Other guides and examples are listed on the Lake Forest College library website under Citing Sources.
Lake Forest College is committed to the ideals of academic honesty as outlined in the Lake Forest College Catalog.
Approved by the Dean of the Faculty, July 1999