Defining Plagiarism

According to the Jackson State Student Handbook,

"Plagiarism, cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited. Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly, through participation or assistance, are immediately responsible to the instructor of the class. In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions, which may be imposed through the regular institutional procedures, as a result of academic misconduct, the instructor has the authority to assign an “F” or a zero for the exercise or examination, or to assign an “F” in the course." (p. 183)

This definition tells you that, as a student, you are responsible for learning the rules about plagiarism and academic dishonesty at school. It also tells you that there are two types of plagiarism -- direct (intentional) and indirect (unintentional) -- and that both carry the same penalties.

In lay terms, plagiarism happens when a student uses another writer's words or ideas without crediting the original author as a source. Plagiarism may be committed intentionally or unintentionally, and unintentional plagiarism is just as serious an offense as intentional plagiarism. In short, if you copy and paste material from a website into your paper; if you buy a paper online or pay a friend to write a paper for you; if you turn in a paper a friend or parent has written for you; if you get an idea that you use in a paper by reading another source without mentioning that source in your paper; or if you commit other violations of the academic integrity policy, you are committing plagiarism.

Just to drive the point home, here are some definitions of plagiarism from commonly used handbooks and readers you might encounter as a student here at Jackson State:

“Taking even part of someone else' work and presenting it as your own leaves you open to criminal charges. In the film video, music, and software businesses, this sort of theft is called piracy. In publishing and education, it is called plagiarism. […] Never compromise your integrity of risk your future by submitting the words of a professional or another students as your own.” (Glenn & Gray, Hodges Harbrace Handbook, 7th Ed., pp. 546-47)

“Negligence in citing your sources, whether purposeful or accidental, is called plagiarism, which comes from a Latin word meaning “kidnapper.” […] Avoiding plagiarism is quite simple: You just need to make sure you acknowledge the sources of ideas or wording that you are using to support your own contentions.” (The Prose Reader, 8th Ed., p. 551)

“Plagiarism occurs when you use a source' words or ideas and fail to give proper credit to the author and/or source of the work. Even if you paraphrase (state someone else' ideas in your own wording), you must give credit to the original source. Failure to do so is a form of academic theft.” (Along These Lines, 4th Ed., p. 668)

“Plagiarism involves two kinds of wrongs. Using another person' ideas, information, or expressions without acknowledging that person' work constitutes intellectual theft. Passing off another person' ideas, information, or expressions as your own to get a better grade or gain some other advantage constitutes fraud.” (MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th Ed., p. 66)

Intentional Plagiarism >>