Plagiarism--handing in written work
which is not your own--is a form of stealing. Other people (your
teachers, fellow students, tutors in the writing lab) may give
you suggestions for improving a piece of written work, but the
work itself must be your own.
There are two forms of plagiarism.
One is unintentional or careless when you use other writers'
words and ideas, usually in a research paper, as though they were
your own. This sort of plagiarism occurs because of unfamiliarity
with the conventions of documentation in academic papers; the
sections on plagiarism in A Writer's Reference (257-264)
and in The Curious Researcher (80-83) should help you understand
how to quote, paraphrase, and summarize the ideas of others in
an acceptable manner. If you commit this kind of plagiarism,
your instructor will ask you to rewrite part or all of your paper
so that your sources are properly acknowledged. You can then
receive credit for the paper.
The second form of plagiarism is
outright cheating--turning in a paper which someone else has written
and claiming it as your own, or copying sections of a book or
article without proper documentation when you have had documentation
forms explained to you. If an instructor finds that you have
done this, she or he will contact the Director of Composition.
The penalty for cheating may range from failing the paper to
failing the course, depending on the evidence and the extent of
the dishonesty in plagiarizing. Cases may also be referred to
the University Conduct Committee, which has the power to expel
students from the institution.