Students who would never think of stealing a car or even copying another student's test answers may think nothing of "borrowing" the ideas or wording from another author. Writers must always document the ideas and information which are outside the realm of common knowledge. (See below for more information about common knowledge.)
Be aware that you can also plagiarize from yourself by submitting your own previous work for a new assignment.
What about stuff everyone knows?
Every academic discipline has its own set of commonly known facts. A good test of “common knowledge” is to ask yourself, “Did I know this before I started this course?” If you can’t definitively say yes, you need to cite your source.
What about stuff on the Internet?
Text and graphics found online should be treated just like other resources and must be cited. Consult a style manual for proper formatting guidelines for various types of online resources.
Fine…What can I do to prevent plagiarizing?
Properly citing your sources is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you are not plagiarizing material.
APA is the most frequently used citation style at Nova Southeastern University, but there are others such as MLA, Chicago, and AMA. Check with your school or professor to make sure you know which one to use and check out our online resources here:
Unfortunately plagiarism isn't unique to academic settings. Learn from these individuals' experiences with plagiarism:
|The Individual||What Happened||Consequence|
From 1999-2003, almost half of the articles written by
Blair was forced to resign.
|Doris Kearns Goodwin||The Weekly Standard accused historian Goodwin of
plagiarizing content in her bestselling 1987 book,
The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys. She took respon-
sibility for the plagiarism, which she said was accidental,
and had any unsold copies removed from bookstore
shelves so that a corrected version could be printed.
|In addition to the negative
publicity, Simon & Schuster, the
book's publisher, was forced to
reach a financial settlement with
one of Goodwin's sources after
the book's publication in 1987.
More information from Forbes.
|Sen. Rand Paul|
|Fareed Zakaria||After it was determined Zakaria plagiarized material from
an article in the New Yorker for his own August 2012 column
in Time, another instance of plagiarism was found in
Zakaria's 2008 best-selling book, "Post-American World."
Professors and instructors are using plagiarism checking software and programs such as Turnitin.com to check students' work for similarities to web pages, other student papers and published articles.
Watch this video for more information about Turnitin.com works and how you can prevent plagiarism.
Learn more about plagiarism at plagiarism.org, hosted by iParadigms, maker of turnitin.com.