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What is Plagiarism?. What is it? How can we prevent it? What are the consequences?. Definition. Academic Dishonesty: Acts of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to, the following:. Plagiarism.

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What is Plagiarism?

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What is Plagiarism?

What is it?

How can we prevent it?

What are the consequences?


Academic Dishonesty:

Acts of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to, the following:


  • Cheating—distribution or use of external assistance relating to an examination, test, quiz, homework, project, or the like, without express permission of the teacher.

  • Fabrication—falsification or invention of data, citation, or other authority in an academic exercise.

  • Plagiarism—use of another's ideas, words, or work as one's own. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the misuse of published material, internet material, and the work of other students.

  • Theft or Alteration of Materials—unauthorized taking, concealment, or alteration of student or teacher materials.

Copying from Another Student

“Hey, did you do the homework in Mr(s). X’s class? Can I borrow it?”


And the student copies the answers and turns them in as his/her own work.

Is This Plagiarism?

Copying from Another Student

This is the most difficult form of plagiarism for teachers to catch. If the answer for #1 on the homework is A, or 4x, or George Washington, or anything that is a short answer, it is difficult for the teacher to determine if a student found the answer by doing the work, or by copying it from a fellow student.

How Can You Prevent It

Listen to your teachers when they tell you:

  • don’t share your work.

  • if you copy, then you are not doing the brainwork…the brainwork is why you were given the homework to do in the first place.

  • that the information you did not process (because you copied) will most likely show up again on a test

  • you will have to study more because you have spent your study time copying instead of doing the brainwork from the beginning

What Teachers Might Do…

Teachers can design a variety of assignments so the majority of your homework assignments are not short answer or fill in the blank. Teachers can:

  • ask students to show work.

  • grade worksheet or short answer types of assignments for credit only, then, to ensure students know the material, give a homework quiz asking students to answer questions relating to the questions that they did earlier on their homework.

  • confront students that teachers see copying homework while sitting with their friends before school or before class. Give the copied work to the student’s teacher.

Is This Plagiarism?

Background Info

  • The assignment was to choose one of the English language arts state standards, write a response to literature essay about a self-selected book, and apply the standard to that book.

  • This student chose to write about Tuck Everlasting, a book usually read in elementary or early middle school.


  • The “green text” in her conclusion could be a paraphrase of the standard, and is not necessarily plagiarism.

  • The standard this student selected was:

    3.9 Explain how voice, persona, and the choice of a narrator affect characterization and the tone, plot, and credibility of a text.


  • However, the “red text” in her conclusion is quite sophisticated in word choice (and generic in detail), and did not match the writing style of the earlier part of the essay.

  • TurnItIn.com indicates that the “red text” has been plagiarized.

In addition to copying the text, she made no attempt to quote it directly (with quotation marks) or paraphrase it--both of which would require a parenthetical reference to cite the source.

Is This Plagiarism?


  • The student was asked to pick a place he had visited, ask a question about the place, and research the answer.

  • This student selected the Coliseum in Rome, but the title immediately indicates that he has not answered a question about the Coliseum; instead, this paper becomes a basic “My Report on the Coliseum” type of writing.


  • Thus, the introduction becomes a series of facts.

  • He does give credit to two sources.

  • So, is this plagiarism, or is he simply a student who didn’t quite complete the assignment?


  • This is a cut and paste version of the TurnItIn.com report. Overall, the report indicates that 69% of the paper was copied from Internet sources.

Know the Assignment

  • Many writing assignments ask questions about a topic--it is more difficult to find a paper on the Internet about “How did the Coliseum’s structure and type of entertainment affect class distinctions in Roman society?” then it is to find one simply about the Coliseum.

  • The more you have to pull facts from various sources, arrange them in your order, rewrite them in your words--the more the paper becomes your own thoughtful work, and not a copy of someone else’s thought process.

Example of Sentence Combining

  • Practice finding a few facts then combining the facts into a sentence that you write on your own.

Actors often had to be creative with special effects in plays during Shakespeare’s time, hiding bladders full of pig’s blood under their costumes to create bloody fight scenes, or rolling cannonballs to sound like thunder (Martin).

Note Taking

  • Take notes. Writing one fact per notecard, etc. forces you to paraphrase and creates fewer chances for you to lift chunks of text (plagiarize) from your sources.

  • Notecards also allow you to combine facts from various sources. You can shuffle/organize the notecards by topic, which is a great way to use synthesis.

What Can Students Do

  • This advice is posted in most English classes and in the library. The poster advertises a book by Barry Gilmore about plagiarism.


  • In all instances of academic dishonesty, a referral will be placed in the student's cumulative folder and parents will be contacted.

  • Any student guilty of academic dishonesty will receive a zero on the affected activity. That zero may not be dropped from the record and will be averaged into the student's grade. Upon a second instance of dishonesty in either semester of that course, the student will be removed from that course and receive a final grade of F/U.


  • Ask the teacher’s expectations for an assignment if you are unclear.

  • Learn the consequences and expect to be held accountable.

  • Practice combining/synthesizing facts and asking research questions.

  • Note: Here at LJHS we use MLA format for research papers.

Presentation by Carole LeCren

La Jolla High School

September 2009

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