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Monmouth College Hewes Library

5a. Academic Honesty

Academic Honesty: What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the use of sources without providing correct acknowledgements. When you use ideas or words created by another person and do not give proper credit, you are claiming the words or ideas are your own. In essence, you are stealing from the original writer.

Plagiarism may take many forms: cheating, copying information directly without providing quotation marks, failing to cite sources, or citing sources incorrectly. It does not matter whether you intended to plagiarize or whether the plagiarism occurred unintentionally; it still constitutes academic dishonesty. Ignorance of the rules of correct citation is not an acceptable excuse for plagiarism.

Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty can subject a student to both academic discipline and disciplinary action.  Please see the Monmouth College Student Handbook's section on Academic Honesty.


 Academic Integrity: What it is and why it matters: a video by Columbia College Library (Vancouver)

Avoid Plagiarism

To avoid plagiarizing someone else words or ideas, make sure you:

  • Paraphrase the original text into your own words. Be sure you are not just rearranging phrases or replacing a couple of words.
  • Use quotation marks around text that has been taken directly from the original source.
  • Cite every source of information you use to write your paper, unless it is common knowledge. Common knowledge is generally accepted facts that can be verified in several sources. (example: George Washington was the first U.S. president.)
  • When in doubt, cite it!
  • Read more about avoiding plagiarism from Purdue University's OWL (Online Writing Lab) website

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Even if you paraphrase or put something into your own words, you still need to cite the original source.

Real World Examples

Think plagiarism is just an issue for college students writing research papers. Think again!  Check out these real world examples of celebrities being accused of plagiarizing.

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