Last Update: 26 May 2010, 12:53 P.M.

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  1. I will fail any student on any assignment that I deem to have been plagiarized in whole or in part.

  2. Two occurrences of such plagiarism is grounds for failing the course.

  1. What counts as plagiarism? Roughly:

    You have plagiarized any time you copy someone else's words without attribution.

  2. However, making that rough characterization precise is not easy:

    1. If Author uses the word "the", and Student copies that word, has Student plagiarized Author? Obviously not.

    2. If Student copies an entire sentence from Author, puts quotes around the sentence, and cites the source in the bibliography, that is clearly not plagiarism.
      (In fact, it's exactly what you should do if you want to quote the Author!)

    3. What if Student copies Author's entire essay, puts quotes around it, and cites the source? (Believe it or not, I once had a student do that!)

      • That's not exactly plagiarism, but it's not much different from handing in the Author's original article instead of your own report on it.
        You'd probably be failed (though not, strictly speaking, for plagiarism).

    4. Equally obviously, copying the entire essay without quotes or without citation is plagiarism. (That's happened to me, too.)

    5. Not so obviously, if Student uses Author's exact words without quotation marks but with a citation, is that plagiarism?

      • If there is no way to tell where Student's own writing leaves off and Author's words begin, then it is plagiarism!

      • Therefore, always use quote marks or displayed (i.e., indented) quotes when quoting, accompanied by a citation to the original source.

  3. Here's a rule of thumb for deciding whether some words you've copied from Author is going to count as plagiarism:

    If a Google search on those words returns Author's document from which they were copied,
    and if you haven't quoted or cited it correctly,
    then it's probably plagiarism.

    (This, by the way, is how I often catch plagiarizers!)

  4. For more information on plagiarism, link to:

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