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Citation, Documentation, and Avoiding Plagiarism: Plagiarism and Documentation

This guide provides information about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. It also includes links to help you with MLA and APA citation format.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism can be defined as using someone else’s words, ideas, images, or data without properly acknowledging the original source. Plagiarism is a serious offense and is a violation of this College's Student Code of Conduct.  Examples of plagiarism include:

  • copying exactly someone else’s work without acknowledging the original source
  • altering someone else’s words, ideas, images, or data and presenting them as one’s own
  • paraphrasing someone else's words without acknowledging the original source
  • claiming as one’s own work that was created, altered, or revised by someone else
  • copying exactly someone else's work, acknowledging the original source, but omitting quotation marks
  • obtaining a paper from a research service, a "term paper mill," or a "free term paper" website

Penalties for committing plagiarism are at the discretion of the classroom instructor; however, they may include disciplinary sanctions such as a failing grade for the assignment, a failing grade for the course, or dismissal from college.

What is Documentation?

Plagiarism can be avoided by using information in an ethical way. Documentation ensures that the original creator of a source is properly acknowledged each time his or her words, information, ideas, or images are used in another work.

Proper documentation is done both in the text of a project and in a works cited or references list at the end of the project.  This serves several purposes, including:

  • providing complete publication information for a source
  • giving credit to the original creator of a source
  • enabling the reader to more easily find the original source
  • providing a standardized style for recording that information.