The JSCC Catalog and your course syllabi outline the college's Academic Dishonesty Policy, including this explanation of plagiarism: "Plagiarism is defined as presenting someone else's work, including the work of other students, as one's own. Students have plagiarized when they have failed to properly document the original ideas of others. Any ideas or wording taken from an original source for written or verbal use must be cited within the assignment."
This page provides resources to help you understand and avoid plagiarism.
Reread the definition from the college catalog at the top of the page. Notice that plagiarism involves "presenting someone else's work" as your own: even changing words or sentence structure from the original does not make something your own work. It's okay to incorporate others' words or ideas as long as they are properly cited, but the bulk of a paper should be your ideas and analysis – your work.
Use outside sources to support your points or arguments. When you refer to an outside source, make sure to frame it in your own words so that your reader can understand how it relates to your objectives. Depending on the assignment and type of source, you may want to answer questions like: Do you agree or disagree with this source? Why? What are its strengths and weaknesses? How does it support or relate to your topic? See the links on this page to learn more.
To cite, to document, to attribute: all of these mean to give credit to external sources, which is expected in all academic work. Most instructors will require that you format your citations according to a standard style guide, such as MLA, APA, or Chicago, among others. A proper citation includes more than the title, author's name, or web address (URL), so follow the style guidelines carefully. Most of the time, you will also need to signal your sources in the body of your paper with parenthetical notes or footnotes. If you don't know which style to use, ask your instructor. See the resources in this guide for more information.
Not true! Remember the definition of plagiarism? It mentions "someone else's work": if you claim that someone else's ideas or findings are your own, even if you use different words, you are plagiarizing.
If you change words from a source but retain the same ideas, you may be paraphrasing (at best) or patchwriting (at worst). If you do paraphrase, you must provide a citation! Patchwriting, on the other hand, is plagiarism whether or not you've cited your source.
It's important to understand plagiarism because you can be held responsible even if it's unintentional. Except for your original thoughts and things that are widely considered "common knowledge," everything in your paper must be cited. A common mistake students make is to conduct research without keeping track of sources. Clearly identify the source of any quotations or ideas in your notes so that, when you're ready to write your paper, you can easily find the source again to document it. If you are not sure whether something requires a citation, err on the side of caution and cite it.
Most sources you'll consult for academic research will be copyrighted, even if that is not clearly indicated. However, even if something is not copyrighted (or is "in the public domain"), you must cite it. Avoiding plagiarism is about academic honesty: you should always clearly distinguish between your ideas and what you have learned or borrowed from external sources.
Unless your instructor tells you otherwise, you should cite sources used to prepare speeches, posters, presentations (PowerPoints), videos, or other non-written projects.
The library staff can answer your specific questions about citations – for instance, how to find a book's publication information or when a certain web document was created. To learn about citing sources or using a particular style, look for the appropriate tab in this guide or see the Cite Sources page in the Research Process guide. If you don't know which style to use, ask your instructor. For more information about plagiarism and citation, come to a library workshop.
All websites, articles, images, videos, etc., linked on this site are provided for informational purposes only. External content is not maintained by James Sprunt Community College, nor does it represent the views of the College or its employees. Please notify the library staff if you have concerns about linked content. Students are expected to evaluate all web and print resources and to determine their appropriate academic uses. A hyperlink to a resource or article from these LibGuides does not constitute an endorsement of that resource or article by the library.