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Plagiarism: a quick guide for students

What is plagiarism:
According to BC's policy on Academic Integrity  "Plagiarism is the act of taking the words, ideas, data, illustrations, or statements of another person or source, and presenting them as one's own. Each student is responsible for learning and using proper methods of paraphrasing and footnoting, quotation, and other forms of citation, to ensure that the original author, speaker, illustrator, or source of the material used is clearly acknowledged."  Refer to BC's comprehensive Academic Integrity Policy.

Avoiding plagiarism:
Take excellent notes. Plagiarism often stems from sloppy research and subsequent rewriting rather than a deliberate desire to cheat. Nevertheless, even unintentional failure to cite sources correctly and honestly may constitute plagiarism. Many students mistakenly take bad notes during the research process. They write someone else’s text verbatim on a card or on their computer and forget quotation marks. When they write the paper and refer to their notes, they forget the text on the card or computer is another author’s and not their own. Any reader who recognizes the original text believes that the student has cheated. This can lead to tough penalties. 

  • Take excellent notes, utilize them effectively, write the entire paper yourself, and document sources well and honestly.
  • Ask your professor. If you're not sure about citing something, check with your instructor.
  • Plan your time carefully - often times students make careless mistakes when under pressure to complete a paper or assignment.
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