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The act of presenting another’s work or ideas as your own

Plagiarism is defined as the use of intellectual material produced by another person without acknowledging its source. You commit plagiarism when:

.   Using the views, opinions, or insights of another without acknowledgement.
.   Copying the writings or works of others into your academic assignment without crediting the original author, then submitting such work as your own.  Even 
    using a small phrase without quotation marks is considered plagiarism.
.   Paraphrasing the original phraseology without proper attribution.
.   Faking a reference or giving references to original sources without looking them up.
.   Changing the order of the original sentence or a few words or phrases without citing the source. 

Why Avoid plagiarism?

Plagiarism is a violation of the Santa Ana College Student Code of Conduct and students who knowingly steal the words or ideas of another can be punished with a failing grade and possibly more severe action. Not only is plagiarism wrong but it can result in copyright fines.  When you plagiarize you really cheat yourself and invite faculty and future employers to question your integrity.  Moreover, when you copy sentences using unfamiliar terms or concepts, the sudden shift in your writing style becomes quite obvious to your instructor.

Ways to Avoid Plagiarism


.   Do use your own ideas and words.  Present the argument or point of view using your own distinctive voice, your original way of looking at things.
.   Do give credit whenever you use another person’s idea, opinion, theory, or interpretation. 
.   Do cite all statistics, graphs, charts, and quotations no matter where you find them.
.   Do put the passage you are word-for-word-quoting in quotation marks.  If the passage is more than 3 lines of text, start a new paragraph and indent, putting the
    citation at the end of the paragraph. These are the only mechanisms for indicating quoted material. 
.   Do include others’ thoughts to provide evidence that supports your argument.
.   Do check with your instructor if you are unsure whether to cite information.
.   Do take care when printing, downloading, and emailing sources. 
.   Do make clear the way you are using the source.  As you take notes, distinguish between paraphrases and direct quotations. 
.   Do check a citation guide or style manual such as the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (Ref. Desk LB 2369 G 53) for specific rules regarding the
    documentation of materials. 
.   Do use The Citation Machine at to cite your sources.  See Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism on back.
.   Do ask the staff at the SAC Writing Center to review your writing.  If you received specific help from someone in writing the paper, acknowledge it.


.   Don’t buy, steal, or borrow a paper or test, then submit it as your own work.
.   Don’t re-submit or reuse a paper written for another class.
.   Don’t make up fake sources, quotes, interpretations, or interviews.
.   Don’t hire or ask someone else to write or rewrite your paper.
.   Don’t overwhelm your paper with outside sources.  Pretty soon your paper looks like a field of quotation marks.  This does not represent very much intellectual
    work on your part.
.   Don’t think that your instructor won’t recognize the sudden change in your writing style.
.   Don’t think that because something is on the Internet it doesn’t need to be cited or referenced in your paper.
.   Don’t “cut and paste” materials from the Internet or other electronic sources into your paper without acknowledging where the information comes from.
.   Don’t quote or paraphrase from another source without crediting the original author.
.   Don’t procrastinate on assignments so that you are under time-pressure and become tempted to take shortcuts.
.   Don’t be afraid to confer with your instructor. 

Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism

.   Start early.  Give yourself time to digest the various sources, to confer with your instructor, and revise your draft.
.   Think about what you are reading and outline an argument that reflects the conclusions you are drawing.
.   Flesh out the argument.  
.   Break large topics into smaller, more manageable ones.
.   Write mainly in your own words.  Always write your papers from scratch, starting with a blank screen. Do not succumb to the temptation to start with
    someone else’s words and massage them into a paper.
.   If you “cut and paste” make sure each passage is properly cited.  If you are doing a lot of cutting and pasting you are not writing a very good paper. 
.   If you are editing some words out of an original passage, rearranging the order, and using a thesaurus to look up synonyms for other words – you are not writing
    - you are assembling and you still must cite the original work.
.   Do the citation work at the time of writing instead of leaving it for the end. 
.   Do use The Citation Machine:  Once your citation is made highlight 
    it and press “Control + C” to copy.  Toggle over to your document’s “Works Cited “ page and press “Control +V” to paste.  Remember to indent. 
.   Knowing how and when to cite is your responsibility.  If you come from a country where the definitions of plagiarism are different you need to learn what is
    academically acceptable here.   
Copyright 2005, RSCCD.  REV 04/08/2008 MEB