Avoiding plagiarism

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Using someone else's ideas--but not giving credit for the source--is like stealing intellectual property from the author of the original.  You will discover many new thoughts in your research, so make it a habit to keep track of where you located these gems.

When you make photocopies from a book, make a copy of the book's title page also or write down (on one of the copied pages) all the details you would need to find that book again.  Capturing the facts needed for listing the book in a bibliography will be time well spent in the long run.

Whether or not you quote the exact words of an author of an article in a periodical, you still must provide the readers of your paper with the information needed to find that article themselves.  So, even if you paraphrase, the source must be cited.  If you use an electronic database to locate information in newspapers, magazines or journals, check (while you're still online) for the complete citation facts you will need to include at the end of your paper.

The Internet has introduced new temptations, such as copying and pasting text or images from a web page into a research paper.  If you use any facts or opinions found via the Internet, you must acknowledge the source and even include the date on which you accessed it.  Before you hand in your paper to an instructor, the creator of the web page from which you quoted may have updated that page or, perhaps, completely reorganized the file structure with new directories--making it impossible to find the page again using the same Uniform Resource Locator (electronic address).

Grossmont College considers plagiarism to be academic fraud and the penalties for committing this form of cheating could be as severe as suspension or expulsion of a student.  (See a current Catalog for more examples of disciplinary action and the Student Code of Conduct.)

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