Avoiding Plagiarism

Steve Spence
Updated: 17 September 2017


Note: Unfortunately, in the past two years a number of students have failed this course because they committed plagiarism. To avoid repeating the course, please pay careful attention to the lessons in this assignment.

As stated in our course policies, plagiarism on any assignment is grounds for failure in the course. To understand and avoid plagiarism, you will need to understand the following terms.


Definitions: Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a serious violation of academic conduct. As the 7th edition of our textbook A Writer's Reference states,

"To be fair and ethical, you must acknowledge your debt" to the writers you draw upon in your own writing (376).

Failing to do this for any reason is plagiarism.

Definitions: Citation

Thinking of new ideas is hard work. So is writing. If you borrow the ideas or words of other authors, you must give them credit for doing this hard work. (If you don't, you are claiming that you did this work.)

To give other authors credit for their work, you must cite the source of any ideas or words that you borrow.

There are different ways to do this. In this class, we will use a system created by the Modern Language Association (MLA).