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Departmental Policy on Plagiarism

Statement on Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a very serious academic offense which will result in penalties ranging from reduction of class grade to failure in the course. Plagiarism occurs when the ideas and words, published or unpublished, of others are presented as one’s own without citing the original source. Plagiarism also occurs when the papers, research, or works of another person are presented as one’s own work.

All direct quotations require a citation. The form of the citation varies according to the directions of the individual professor. In general the Department of History follows the Chicago Manual of Style Documentation I. A work sheet of citations in this style is given to each student enrolled in a history course. Most direct quotations are set off by quotation marks. If the quotation is longer than four typed lines it is indented by six spaces. The block quotation may be single or double-spaced, depending on the requirements of the individual professor. Use block quotations sparingly. Quote the source exactly; check it against the original to be sure everything is exactly the same. When taking notes always use quotation marks when you are copying directly from the source.

Paraphrasing is usually preferable to all but the shortest direct quotation. Paraphrasing material means that it is re-stated clearly and accurately in your own words. Sources must always be cited for paraphrased material. Material which requires citation, in addition to books and articles, includes: statistics, book reviews, dissertations, master’s essays, government documents, oral statements including tapes and interviews, unpublished written works, and internet sources. When your professor allows internet sources to be used the address must be complete and clearly indicate authorship and date.

The internet both makes plagiarism easier and allows plagiarism to be more easily recognized. Individual professors may use the internet and other means to guard against plagiarism. For example, they may require the student to Xerox the page or pages from which a particular source is taken, require note cards be turned in with the paper, or call numbers and location of each work cited be included in the bibliography.

Citing sources clearly and accurately is a scholarly courtesy, which shows respect for your own work and for that of others. It says to your reader: my conclusions are based on these sources; use them yourself – here is where they can be found – and then see if you agree or disagree. Academic honesty and scholarly values are at the heart of education. Plagiarism demeans yourself and devalues your degree.

If a student is found to have plagiarized a substantial amount of material in a paper, the penalty depends on the individual professor’s stated policy in the syllabus; after discussion, it may involve 1) no credit or failure for the assignment or 2) failure in the course. Students may appeal to Student Services where the problem is reviewed by a disciplinary committee, which is unpleasant and time consuming, and can be avoided by scrupulous care in the research and writing of papers.

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