What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the use of the words or ideas of another person or source without attribution. Essentially, it’s intellectual theft.

What’s the most common form of plagiarism?

Plagiarism is not just copying words without quotation marks. The worst form of plagiarism is using someone else’s work and turning it in as your own, or even turning in a Wikipedia-esque pastiche of multiple authors’ works as your own. However, this is not the only way to plagiarize.

Common forms of plagiarism:

  1. Using another writer’s ideas without giving them credit.
  2. Summarizing the content of a writer’s work without giving them credit.
  3. Having a friend or hired writer create your paper for you.
  4. Buying papers online.

This is why it’s very important to learn how to cite properly, but also to make sure that you begin researching papers well in advance of their due dates.

Literary Studies uses MLA Style for citations. A good guide to this is on the Purdue Owl website. [https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/]

How can I avoid plagiarism?

  1. Be very careful when taking notes for your research papers. Make sure that you note the page number from which you’ve taken your information. Have a good, ordered system for keeping track of your research and its sources. This system should include key words and themes.
  1. Paraphrase as you’re taking notes. One of the easiest ways to avoid plagiarism is to turn a writer’s words into your own. Doing so will also help you better understand what you’re reading.
  1. Be very careful to cite when you’re writing up your paper. Your first draft should have proper citations. Going back to insert citations after you’ve written your first draft will be very difficult and confusing.
  1. Submit your paper to Turnitin in advance of its deadline if you have the option to use the website. Some WLL classes make use of the plagiarism-detecting site to teach their students how not to plagiarize, as well as to ensure that you’re following the department’s academic code.

At the Department of Western Languages and Literatures, we take plagiarism very seriously and students who plagiarize may find themselves facing disciplinary action.

Do your own work to avoid plagiarism. Do your research in advance and be sure to paraphrase, but also to give credit where it is due!