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Collaboration Policy:

Your papers should be written independently, with all your sources properly cited. The Bedford Handbook shows how to cite various types of sources, including web sites and other non-print media. If you are not sure when you should make a citation, a good rule of thumb is that if you got an idea or a fact from somewhere other than your brain, you need to cite the source for that idea or fact. If you are in doubt, you probably need a footnote!

Some students seem to be unsure about what is allowed and what is not. For example, I've heard one say that buying a paper off the internet is not plagiarism, since they want you to buy them. This is incorrect reasoning. Plagiarism is taking someone else's ideas and representing them as your own, so it doesn't matter if they allowed you to, or wanted you to; the fact that you represent them as your own is all that counts.

Other students think that it is OK to cut and paste sections of web pages into their papers; they feel that since they have combined several ideas into a new form, then this makes it their own, so no reference is necessary. This also is incorrect. Certainly direct quotation of any kind (like cutting and pasting) requires a footnote. Some feel that if they paraphrase an idea or rewrite it in their own words, then that makes a footnote unnecessary. Again, this is not true. It's not the words that are at issue, but the idea: even if you express it in other words, the idea is not your own, and so the original author needs to be cited.

You may not have been careful about these references in the past, but as you mature in your academic career, you need to become more aware of these issues. If you have questions, be sure to contact me before you turn in your paper. Failure to follow this policy will result in a visit to the Dean. The college takes plagiarism very seriously, and so do I. You should be sure to read the material on plagiarism and academic honesty that you received in your freshman orientation package.

Please also read the comments on collaboration from my advice pages.

[HOME] FPR 10 (Winter 2003) web pages
Created: 31 Dec 2002
Last modified: Jan 5, 2003 8:21:25 PM
Comments to: dpvc@union.edu
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