Plagiarism and your term essay
As you plan your term essays, I want to alert you to the university statutes and regulations regarding originality. Students are sometimes confused about the extent to which they may quote from or paraphrase parts of another article, so some guidance might be helpful, and may avert difficulties later. Basically, I expect the wording of your essay to be original, and to represent your account of what you have understood from the papers you have been reading on your chosen subject. Thus, an ideal essay would reflect not only what you read, but your interpretation, comments and observations about the topic. If you feel you need to quote a sentence or two from a paper, be sure it is marked in quotations, and the citation is given at the point of quotation. The information given below should give you a clear understanding of this important topic.
The University of Illinois Student Code, Article 1 part 4 deals with infractions of academic integrity. Part 1-402 (d) defines and discusses plagiarism as follows:
Plagiarism: Representing the words or ideas of another as one's own in any academic endeavor. This includes copying another student's paper or working with another person when both submit similar papers to satisfy an individual, not a group, assignment, without authorization.
1. Direct Quotation: Every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks or by appropriate indentation and must be promptly cited in a citation. Proper citation style for many academic departments is outlined in such manuals as the MLA Handbook or K. L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations. These and similar publications are available in the University bookstore or library.
Example: The following is an example of an uncited direct quotation from a case in which the student in question was found guilty of plagiarism.
Original Source: To push the comparison with popular tale and popular romance a bit further, we may note that the measure of artistic triviality of works such as "Sir Degare" or even "Havelok the Dean" is their casualness, their indifference to all but the simplest elements of literary substance. The point is that high genre does not certify art and low genre does not preclude it. (From Robert M. Jordan, Chaucer and the Shape of Creation, Howard University Press, 1967, page 187.)
Student Paper: To push the comparison with popular tale and popular romance a bit further, you can note that the measure of artistic triviality in some works of Chaucer's time period is their casualness. Their indifference to all but the simplest elements of literary substance. The point is that high genre does not certify art and low genre does not preclude it.
2. Paraphrase: Prompt acknowledgment is required when material from another source is paraphrased or summarized in whole or in part. This is true even if the student's words differ substantially from those of the source. To acknowledge a paraphrase properly, one might introduce it with a statement such as "To paraphrase Locke's comment . . ." and conclude it with a citation identifying the exact reference. Or the concluding citation might say, "The last paragraph (two paragraphs, etc.) paraphrases statements by . . ." and then give the exact reference. A citation acknowledging only a directly quoted statement does not suffice as an acknowledgment of any preceding or succeeding paraphrased material.
Example: The following is an example of unacknowledged paraphrase that could warrant a charge of plagiarism.
Original Source: The era in question included three formally declared wars. The decision to enter the War of 1812 was made by Congress after extended debate. Madison made no recommendation in favor of hostilities, though he did marshal a "telling case against England" in his message to Congress of June 1, 1812. The primary impetus to battle, however, seems to have come from a group of "War Hawks" in the legislature. (From W. Taylor Reveley III, "Presidential War-Making: Constitutional Prerogative or Usurpation?" University of Virginia Law Review, November 1969, footnotes omitted.)
Student Paper: During this period three wars were actually declared by Congress. For instance, in 1812 a vehemently pro-war group of legislators persuaded Congress, after much discussion, to make such a declaration, despite the fact that Madison had not asked for it, though, to be sure, he had openly condemned England in his message to Congress of June 1, 1812.
3. Borrowed Facts or Information: Information obtained in one's reading or research that is not common knowledge should be acknowledged. Examples of common knowledge might include the names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc. Materials that contribute only to one's general understanding of the subject may be acknowledged in the bibliography and need not be immediately cited. One citation is usually sufficient to acknowledge indebtedness when a number of connected sentences in the paper draw their special information from one source.
Further information can be found in the University of Illinois Student Code.