Plagiarism: Academic Integrity


All of the following are considered plagiarism:

  • turning in someone else's work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not.

From UC Davis

Guidelines for Avoiding Plagiarism

  • When using sources, take notes from the source material and include the necessary information about the source that will later be used for your reference list and your citations.
  • When writing your paper drafts, include citations. Attempting to add citations after you've written your paper will likely lead to missing or wrong citations to source material.
  • Use your own words and ideas. Practice is essential to learning. Each time you choose your words, order your thoughts, and convey your ideas, you can improve your writing.
  • Give credit for copied, adapted, or paraphrased material. If you copy and use another’s exact words, you must use quotation marks and cite the source. If you adapt a chart or paraphrase a sentence, you must still cite your source. Paraphrasing is restating the author’s ideas, information, and meaning in your own words.
  • Avoid using others work with minor “cosmetic” changes. E.g. using “less” for “fewer,” reversing the order of a sentence, or changing terms in a computer code. If the work is essentially the same as your source, give credit.
  • There are no “freebies.” Always cite words, information and ideas that you use if they are new to you (learned in your research). No matter where you find it – even if on the Internet or in a course reader – you must cite it!
  • Don't assume information is “common knowledge.” It is safer to cite than not.
  • Know what plagiarism is: Unintentional plagiarism may result from not knowing how to cite sources properly or sloppy research and note-taking but it still violates the UC Davis Code of Academic Conduct.

Examples: Paraphrase vs. Plagiarism

Original Source: ‘[A totalitarian] society … can never permit either the truthful recording of facts, or the emotional sincerity, that literary creation demands. … Totalitarianism demands … the continuous alteration of the past, and in the long run … a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth.’ 3

Student Version A – Plagiarism x A totalitarian society can never permit the truthful recording of facts; it demands the continuous alteration of the past, and a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth. The student has combined copied pieces of the author’s language, without quotation marks or citations.

Student Version B -- Improper paraphrase, also plagiarism x A totalitarian society can’t be open-minded or allow the truthful recording of facts, but instead demands the constant changing of the past and a distrust of the very existence of objective truth (Orwell). The student has woven together sentences and switched a few words (“open-minded” for “tolerant,” “allow” for “permit”) has left out some words, and has given an incomplete and inaccurate citation.

Student Version C -- Appropriate paraphrase, not plagiarism Orwell believed that totalitarian societies must suppress literature and free expression because they cannot survive the truth, and thus they claim it does not exist (Bowker 336-337). This student has paraphrased using her own words, accurately reflecting and citing the author’s ideas.

Student Version D -- Quotation with cite, not plagiarism In his biography of George Orwell, Gordon Bowker discusses the themes of 1984, quoting a 1946 essay by Orwell: “‘Totalitarianism demands … the continuous alteration of the past, and in the long run … a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth’” (337). The student introduces the source. Verbatim words are in quotation marks, omitted words are marked by ellipses, and both the book used and the original source of the quote are cited. 3 Bowker p. 337, quoting Orwell, G., “The Prevention of Literature,” Polemic, No. 2, January 1946

From University of California, Davis, Office of Support & Judicial Affairs, October 2015