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Avoiding Plagiarism

What is plagiarism?

According to Trinity's Academic Honor Code, plagiarism is defined as "the use of anyone else’s words or ideas without assigning proper credit to their original source."

Is it possible to plagiarize, and subsequently be charged with plagiarizing, if one did not intend to cheat?

Yes.  When a source does not receive attribution, whether this was intentional or accidental, the result is the same.  The original work or information was not attributed to its author.  This means that by default, the individual using information that has not been attributed to a source will receive credit for creating that work or developing that information.  It is therefore necessary that both intentional and accidental situations of plagiarism be considered in the same manner.  

Why do people plagiarize?

While reasons for plagiaristic activity can vary depending on the person or situation, the following situations are commonly associated with behaviors resulting in charges of plagiarism.  None of these would be considered an appropriate excuse for such activity.

What are the benefits of acknowledging my sources?

Writers, researchers, students, and teachers must all give attribution to the sources they use as they develop projects and write essays and articles.  The long standing tradition of situating your own ideas among the ideas of others who have written and conducted research on your topic is as valuable an activity as conducting unique research, writing an enlightening new analysis, or positing a bold theory.

Offering attribution to your sources has a number of benefits:

How can I avoid plagiarism?

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Where can I find more information on plagiarism?

The following links provide further information related to plagiarism and the need for giving attribution to your research sources.

Trinity University Academic Honor Code

Avoiding Plagiarism: Practical Strategies  (from the Duke University Library)

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