A Simple Plagiarism Definition
Plagiarism: An act of academic dishonesty which involves acquiring the work of another (from sentences to fully written papers) and passing it off as one's own academic work.
In order to protect yourself as faculty, to teach your students, and to make enforcement possible, we* recommend the following:
- Faculty should define plagiarism for their own course in writing.
- Faculty should delineate consequences of plagiarism.
- Faculty should use low stakes assignments requiring students to demonstrate understanding of the type(s) of referencing of sources needed in a course.
For further assistance, handouts, and sample activities, please use the links above to visit our materials page.
* 2006/2007 Ad-Hoc Plagiarism Committee
Plagiarism White Paper (PDF)
This "white paper" on plagiarism, developed by Denise Stephenson, provides context for faculty to redifine plagiarism and how it manifests, and lists several points on which faculty might consider revising their own practices.
The Council of Writing Program Administrators has developed this statement on Best Practices for Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism. It provides an extensive list of tips for educators to implement assignments and practices that help students learn citation and avoid plagiarism.
In a chapter from her book Tools for Teaching, Barbara Gross Davis provides context for the plagiarism issue, and provides several strategies for instructors to promote academic integrity in the classroom, particularly on essays and exams.
MiraCosta’s policy on plagiarism can be found in its statement on academic integrity.
Academic Integrity (BP5505)
If a faculty member believes a student has plagiarized (misrepresented someone else’s work as his/her own) or, in some other way been dishonest, she/he may apply any of the following remedies:
- Issue a verbal warning
- Lower the grade for an assignment
- Submit an Academic Integrity Report to the Vice President of Students Services
- Recommend to the Vice President of Student Services suspension from the class
Plagiarism Quiz (PDF)
Plagiarism is not as simple as we sometimes imagine. When a student buys a paper or when a student “borrows” a paper from someone, we can all agree it is plagiarism and is wrong. However, when it comes to how to appropriately use material from sources, it’s much less clear. In a quiz called “Plagiarism’s Shady Boundaries,” Denise Stephenson has created a discussion ground around some of the more problematic areas. For example, whether or not a paraphrase needs to be cited confuses many students. It’s also true that the boundaries of plagiarism are not stable from culture to culture, whether that’s national culture or disciplinary culture. This quiz can provide fodder for a rich discussion of what constitutes plagiarism in a particular class.
Too often, the rationale for citation practice (to provide a trail of research and to value academic property) are not made clear to students. These handouts for APA and MLA demonstrate what constitutes proper citation practice as well as providing some examples of plagiarism. These tools, developed by Robert Kelley, are very helpful in teaching students expected parameters of formal citation.
This Documentation Overview, developed by Holly Ordway, serves as an introduction for students to MLA format and effective quoting. It highlights the differences between quoting and paraphrasing and gives examples of integrated quotes, citation for secondary sources, and documentation for web pages.
This activity, developed by Robert Kelley, serves as both a diagnostic and instructional tool, allowing you to assess where your students' understanding of citation style lies and to give students the understanding of ctiation requirements and APA format they need to be successful.
Created by Denise Stephenson, this activity serves as an informal introduction for students to course expectations for citation style, as it may differ greatly among disciplines and instructors.
This activity requires students to take notes on assigned readings by paraphrasing the material. Developed by Jane Mushinsky, this activity is easily adapted to any course material, and gives professors an easy way to correct any misunderstandings students might have about what constitutes effective paraphrasing.
This assignment requires students to select an article and show their understanding of its content by quoting, paraphrasing, and citing the material. It serves as an introduction to working with sources and differentiating between paraphrasing and quoting. It also provides a visual reference for students of the assignment's required layout. Developed for behavioral sciences by Robert Kelley, this assignment requires students to work with the APA style, but can be easily adapted for a variety of assignments.
This assignment was adapted by Linda Shaffer from the Paraphrase and Quote Practice activity above and requires similar elements, but also gives an overview on evaluating the credibility of sources.
Created by Jane Mushinsky, this assignment requires students to cite and organize sources for a research paper. It also refers students to the MiraCosta Library's web page on MLA citation.