Link to Plagiarism Tutorial

Plagiarism --Plagiarism is defined by the University Handbook as, "the act of representing the work of another as one's own and may consist of copying, paraphrasing, or otherwise using written or oral work of another without proper acknowledgment of the source or presenting oral or written material prepared by another as one's own"(p. 220).

The University, as well as the Department of Sociology, takes plagiarism seriously.  The minimum punishment of this offense is failure of the assignment or class. However, students could also get discharged from the University without the potential to graduate.

Besides the above punishments, there are two reasons why I frown upon plagiarism.

A) Ethical  -- Philosophically, it is morally wrong to claim to do work that one has not done.   One goal of the University is to encourage students to consider issue of ethics when making decisions.  Thus, it is only fair that we uphold this goal by enforcing rules about plagiarism.

B) Practical -- Another goal of the University is to facilitate the education of students.  We would like to be proud of our graduates as they enter the world beyond the academy.  Clearly, if our students cannot demonstrate strong writing skills, we fail at this task.  In order for students to gain writing skills, they must practice.  For this reason, students need to do their own work and not rely upon the work of others.

There are three types of plagiarism that I will now discuss in more detail.
 1) Word for Word without Properly Quoting and Citing.
Plagiarism exists if a student uses a passage from the author of a published/unpublished document and does not give her credit for writing the passage. Regardless of whether the professor supposedly knows from where the passage was taken or whether the professor assigned the reading, students MUST put quotation marks and the authors last name and page number from where the quote was taken in order to avoid charges of plagiarism.

Here is an example of correct citation: Russell Schutt of Investigating the Social World defines a survey as, "Research in which information is obtained from a sample of individuals through their responses to questions about themselves or others" (p. 592: 1996).

Students would be plagiarizing if they did either of the following in a paper:
a .    According to Russell Schutt a survey is research in which information is obtained from a sample (p. 592).  I did a survey on University Faculty in 1999.  I asked the faculty whether they use the Vadalebene Center............Even though the students put the page number in the appropriate place this is plagiarism because the student did not put quotes around the passage that was used in her paper.

b. According to Russell Schutt a survey is research in which data are acquired from a sample.   I did a survey on University Faculty in 1999  I asked the faculty whether they use the Vadalebene Center............ This is plagiarism.  Even though the student used her thesaurus to change several words, the gist of the author's passage is still in tact.

2) Paraphrasing without Proper Citing.
Plagiarism exists if a student paraphrases a passage from a book without giving the author credit for writing the passage;

Let's use the same passage as above to illustrate paraphrasing: A survey is research that is gathered from a sample in which people are asked questions and their responses are recorded (Schutt, 1996: 596). I did a survey on University Faculty in 1999  I asked the faculty whether they use the Vadalebene Center............Here, the student did not use the exact words of the authors, thus, she does not need quotes.  However, the spirit of Schutt's definition is still intact, thus, she does need to put the page number of the passage.

3) Purchasing, Borrowing and Using an Unpublished Paper Written by Someone Else
Plagiarism exists if a student has someone else write the paper or passages of the paper and presents the work as her own. Thus, if you purchase a paper, this is plagiarism.  If you have a friend/lover/spouse/enemy/fraternity/sorority/family member write a sentence, paragraph or the whole paper, this is plagiarism.

Please note: Plagiarism is fairly recognizable.  This is because the passages that are plagiarized are written in a different voice than the rest of the paper or the paper is written in a language that clearly exceeds the ability of the student.



Schutt, Russel.  1996.  Investigating the Social World.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine  Forge Press

Undergraduate Catalog. 1995-1997.  Southern Illinois University