12. Academic Dishonesty

Your professionalism in this class is recognized by, among other things, your understanding of copyright and fair use in your own work. Just as respecting others’ copyright is important, so is understanding when it is not only legal but appropriate to use others’ material without permission or payment. To clarify, consult CAA’s http://www.collegeart.org/fair-use/best-practices.

“Academic Dishonesty” is defined as “any form of cheating which results in students giving or receiving unauthorized assistance in an academic exercise or receiving credit for work that is not their own.”

Plagiarism is defined as “literary theft” and consists of the unattributed quotation of the exact words of a published text or the unattributed borrowing of original ideas by paraphrase from a published text. On written papers for which the student information gathered from books, articles, or oral sources, each direct quotation, as well as ideas and facts that are not generally known to the public-at-large, must be attributed to its author by means of the appropriate citation procedure. Citations may be made in footnotes or within the body of the text. Plagiarism also consists of passing off as one’s own, segments or the total of another person’s work. Self-Plagiarism (definition below) is also not permitted.

Punishment for academic dishonesty will depend on the seriousness of the offense and may include a receipt of an “F” with a numerical value of zero on the item submitted, and the “F” shall be used to determine the final course grade. If the offense is repeated, the student will fail the course.

Detection of Plagiarism:
I use an automated plagiarism detection service to check student assignments for plagiarism.

 Many people think of plagiarism as copying another’s work or borrowing someone else’s original ideas. But terms like “copying” and “borrowing” can disguise the seriousness of the offense:


  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own
  • to use (another’s production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else’s work and lying about it afterward.


According to U.S. law, the answer is yes. The expression of original ideas is considered intellectual property and is protected by copyright laws, just like original inventions. Almost all forms of expression fall under copyright protection as long as they are recorded in some way (such as a book or a computer file).


  • turning in someone else’s work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on “fair use” rules)

Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Simply acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed and providing your audience with the information necessary to find that source is usually enough to prevent plagiarism. See our section on citation for more information on how to cite sources properly.



The acknowledgement that something came from another source. The following sentence properly attributes an idea to its original author:

Jack Bauer, in his article “Twenty-Four Reasons not to Plagiarize,” maintains that cases of plagiarists being expelled by academic institutions have risen dramatically in recent years due to an increasing awareness on the part of educators.


A list of sources used in preparing a work


  • A short, formal indication of the source of information or quoted material.
  • The act of quoting material or the material quoted.
  • See our section on citation styles for more information.


  • to indicate a source of information or quoted material in a short, formal note.
  • to quote
  • to ascribe something to a source.
  • See our section on citation styles for more information.


Information that is readily available from a number of sources or so well-known that its sources do not have to be cited.

The fact that carrots are a source of Vitamin A is common knowledge, and you could include this information in your work without attributing it to a source. However, any information regarding the effects of Vitamin A on the human body are likely to be the products of original research and would have to be cited.


A law protecting the intellectual property of individuals, giving them exclusive rights over the distribution and reproduction of that material.


Notes at the end of a paper acknowledging sources and providing additional references or information.


Knowledge or information based on real, observable occurrences.

Just because something is a fact does not mean it is not the result of original thought, analysis, or research. Facts can be considered intellectual property as well. If you discover a fact that is not widely known nor readily found in several other places, you should cite the source.


Notes at the bottom of a paper acknowledging sources or providing additional references or information.


A product of the intellect, such as an expressed idea or concept, that has commercial value.


A restatement of a text or passage in other words.

It is extremely important to note that changing a few words from an original source does NOT qualify as paraphrasing. A paraphrase must make significant changes in the style and voice of the original while retaining the essential ideas. If you change the ideas, then you are not paraphrasing — you are misrepresenting the ideas of the original, which could lead to serious trouble.


The reproduction or appropriation of someone else’s work without proper attribution; passing off as one’s own the work of someone else


The absence of copyright protection; belonging to the public so that anyone may copy or borrow from it. For more information, see our section on What is public domain?


Using words from another source.


Copying material you have previously produced and passing it off as a new production.

This can potentially violate copyright protection if the work has been published and is banned by most academic policies.

[credit for the above]