Plagiarism is the intentional and/or unintentional use of someone else's ideas as expressed in words, photos, graphics, music, etc. without proper credit. Whenever you summarize, paraphrase, or quote someone else's work without acknowledging the source, you have fallen into plagiarism. Many times students unintentionally plagiarize. Please see the tabs on Common Misunderstandings about Plagiarism and Tips to Avoid Plagiarism to help you practice academic honesty.
Plagiarism is considered a serious academic offense. Acts of plagiarism can result in penalties ranging from failing the assignment to failing the course. See the tab labeled "Athenaeum Academic Integrity Policy" for more information.
In order to help you avoid plagiarism, this section covers common mistaken beliefs about how one incorporates sources into a text.
Switching One Word Is Still Plagiarizing
Many students believe that if they switch one word, that they have not plagiarized—but they have. The word order, or the syntax, or the way that the author wrote the information is still the possession of the author, and changing one word doesn’t respect that ownership. It would be as if someone changed the license plate and drove off in a car that he or she took: the car belongs to someone else and only 1 thing was changed.
Putting Information in Your Own Words Still Needs a Citation
Some students think that if they reword a passage, that they no longer need to cite it. This is what’s called paraphrasing—an important skill that lets the writer’s voice shape the text instead of too much direct quoting. Paraphrasing requires a citation. It’s still someone else’s work.
Cutting and Pasting Require Direct Quotes
One student who had little training in research thought she could cut and paste various portions of a research paper without citing or quoting. She thought because her material was factual, that it didn’t need citations. Sources do not have to be cited for 'common knowledge' - that is, for factual information readily available, for proverbs or common sayings, or for your own observations and experiences. Direct cutting and pasting, however, is stealing unless you give credit to the source.
Little Confidence in Yourself Can Spell an F in the Course
If you are taking others’ thoughts because you don’t feel confident enough to write out the meaning yourself, then you either need more time to digest this material or a visit to your professor’s office to have him or her explain concepts to you.
Non-Native Speakers: Memorization as Learning Can Lead to Plagiarism
If you’re from countries that foster memorization as learning, plagiarism can seem not wrong at all—but it is—you need to reword the material.
Never Assume That You Can Use What You Find Online Without Citing Its Source
Nothing releases you from the duty to acknowledge your use of anything you did not personally create yourself, even if it's free and publicly available online (A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by Kate L. Turabian, section 4.2.3). This means that you must cite all online sources. For images "freely" available on the internet, be sure to determine the owner of the copyright and attribute the source in your papers. For easier access to properly credited sources, search for images using Creative Commons or use a search engine such as Google advanced image search (under Usage Rights be sure to choose "free to use or share.").
Other examples of plagiarism:
Since Mount St. Mary’s Seminary & School of Theology is concerned not only with the formation of the mind of a person but also with the formation of character, academic honesty is expected of all students. The institution highly values the virtue of justice: giving another person his or her due. In addition to rendering justice to each student in the classroom, a student ought to acknowledge the debt of gratitude owed to other writers and scholars with respect to language and ideas. Mount St. Mary’s students are expected to hold themselves to the highest professional, academic and moral norms in acknowledging and citing the work of others in the academic
Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating on a quiz, test or examination; plagiarizing material for a paper, report, or presentation; falsifying or fabricating materials for a paper or presentation; using materials in papers, projects, and presentations that violate fair-use, piracy, and copyright laws; and, materially cooperating or assisting in the academic dishonesty of another.
Plagiarism of ideas is difficult for some students to recognize. A student who is uncertain about plagiarism ought to consult the most recent edition of Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers or the Eugene Maly Library guide to plagiarism found at http://library.athenaeum.edu. If doubts persist about what constitutes academic dishonesty, students are advised to consult with the library staff or the instructor of the course.
A student involved in dishonest or unethical practices with respect to coursework will be held accountable. If an instructor discovers or suspects that a student has been academically dishonest, he or she should discuss the matter with the student. The academic program director (Dean of the Seminary, Dean of the School of Theology, or Director of the Permanent Deacon Formation Program) of the student will be informed of the incident. The program director in each division will make The Athenaeum Dean aware of such incidents. In the case that the student is a seminarian, the seminarian’s Formation Advisor and the Formation Director will also be informed.
At the time of the alleged violation, the instructor will provide the student with the evidence or grounds for believing the student has acted in a dishonest fashion. The instructor will attempt to understand the circumstances surrounding the actions of the student and will make a determination of whether academic dishonesty occurred.
If it is determined that academic dishonesty occurred, consequences will follow, according to the clarity of the violation; the nature and type of the violation; the nature of the course itself; the weight of the assignment within the particular class; and, the particular circumstances of the student. The consequence of the violation for the particular course will be determined by the instructor of the course in consultation with The Athenaeum Dean. Consequences may include, but are not limited to, failure of the assignment or failure of the course. If after meeting with the instructor, the student is convinced that the accusation or penalty is unjust, the student may file an appeal to the program director, who will convene a committee to review the case. The committee will consist of three members of the Admissions and Degrees Committee; The Athenaeum Dean may not serve on this committee. The committee will examine the evidence and will interview the student and the instructor to make a final determination and recommendation to the President/Rector.
Source: pages 37-38 of the MTSM 2021-2022 Catalog
Content from this page was adapted from The Writing Center at Cleveland State University and the Patrick Power Library at Saint Mary's University.