Plagiarism occurs when a writer attempts to use another’s words or ideas without acknowledging their source, whether intentionally or not. There are two basic types of plagiarism: unintentional plagiarism and intentional plagiarism. While both forms of plagiarism put the writer at serious risk, intentional plagiarism is considered a more serious offense and is often more detrimental to a student’s grade. It is the student’s responsibility to both understand the different types of plagiarism and how to avoid them. When a student plagiarizes (be it intentional or unintentional) they will be held responsible for their actions and may face disciplinary action. If you need further assistance with plagiarism, please ask your instructor.
- Unintentional plagiarism occurs when sources are inaccurate or incompletely cited. This type of plagiarism most often occurs in the following ways:
- When writers incorrectly paraphrase a source. (Usually when paraphrase is too close to the wording or sentence structure).
- When writers do not identify the source of a quotation.
- When writers fail to indicate an idea that came from a source, making it appear as though the idea was original to the writer.
For information on correctly using sources, please refer to Source Use.
- Intentional plagiarism occurs when students turn in an essay that:
- Is written by a friend
- Is bought or downloaded from an essay-writing company
- Includes passages that are cut and pasted from one or more sources without proper citation
Note: Some instructors consider it intentional plagiarism when a student uses an essay that was written for a previous course. If you are considering using an essay written for a previous course, please talk to your instructor.
One of the easiest ways students can avoid plagiarism is to make sure they are correctly citing their sources. This can be done by simply cross referencing each citation in the paper to each entry in the Works Cited section of a paper. If, at any time during the writing process, you are concerned you may be unintentionally plagiarizing, please talk to your instructor or visit the University Writing Center for ways you can avoid plagiarism.
Consequences of Plagiarism
If you plagiarize in English 120 or English 121, you will likely fail the assignment on which you are working and your case may be passed to the University for additional disciplinary action. Because of the design and nature of English 120 and English 121, it will take as much (or more) work for you to plagiarize in it than it will to actually complete the work of the class. The First Year Writing Program and Eastern Michigan University as a whole take plagiarism very seriously. For a more detailed explanation of Eastern Michigan University's stance on academic integrity, refer to Section V.A. of the Student Conduct Code.