Lesson 3.7: Plagiarism


On this page, you will learn about plagiarism.

Detecting plagiarism

Are you curious about how teachers find out if students are plagiarizing? Dr. Sarah Eaton shares some websites and programs that are used to detect plagiarism. EmergingEdTech wrote an article on an overview of plagiarism detection applications. If you want to know how this software works, this is a good read.
Plagiarism Defined

Using others' work and misrepresenting that work as your own without giving the author credit.

~University of Guelph, Academic Integrity , 2004

When people break these copyright rules, they can get into some pretty big trouble.

In school, that could mean having to redo an assignment, getting zero, or even getting suspended or expelled. Here is an extreme example that happened recently in Alberta:

Alberta medical dean accused of plagiarism resigns

"Dr. Philip Baker, dean of medicine and dentistry at the University of Alberta, stepped down Friday amid allegations of plagiarisms. Students say a speech given by Baker during a graduation banquet last week, which told personal storied about how medical science has helped his wife and children, was lifted from a talk given by surgeon and professor Atul Gawande at Stanford University's 2010 medical school convocation."

~ CBC News, Alberta medical dean accused of plagiarism resigns, June 2011

Avoid the plagiarism trap by providing citation

Remember to always ask your teacher.

All schools have plagiarism policies and handouts on proper citation techniques. When in doubt ... check!

One good place to start is on the Plagiarism.org website. They have an excellent resource page on how to cite sources.

Can you identify plagiarism? Which of these students plagiarized?

  1. Helen turns in another's work, word-for-word, as her own.
  2. Andreas copies significant portions of text straight from a single source without alteration.
  3. Abdul copies from several different sources, tweaks the sentences to make them fit together and keeps most of the original wording.
  4. Kate uses an assignment that she has already handed in.
  5. Landon mentions the author's name but does not provide any other information.
  6. Alfonzo provides inaccurate information of the source.
  7. Cheng spends a lot of time paraphrasing and then, because so much of it is in his own words, he decides not to name the original source.

Plagiarism.org, "What is Plagiarism?, 2012

All of the students plagiarized. Do any of the scenarios surprise you?