Plagiarism is defined as presenting someone else’s work, including the work of other students, as one’s own. Any ideas or materials taken from another source for either written or oral use must be fully acknowledged, unless the information is common knowledge. What is considered “common knowledge” may differ from course to course.

a. A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another person without acknowledgment.

b. A student must give credit to the originality of others and acknowledge an indebtedness whenever:

1. Directly quoting another person’s actual words, whether oral or written;

2. Using another person’s ideas, opinions, or theories;

3. Paraphrasing the words, ideas, opinions, or theories of others, whether oral or written;

4. Borrowing facts, statistics, or illustrative material; or

5. Offering materials assembled or collected by others in the form of projects or collections without acknowledgment.


Since these words are not mine, I need to appropriately cite their source:


Here is another statement:

In the broadest sense, plagiarism occurs whenever an author presents words or ideas as his or her own when, in fact, they were someone else's. More specifically, if you copy someone's paper, you have plagiarized. If you buy, trade for, or steal someone's paper, you have plagiarized. If you are walking down the street, find a really good essay, and decide to turn it in, you have plagiarized. Sometimes, we don't think we're really plagiarizing, but in fact we are. For example, say you have been researching for a while now, and you have a pile of note cards with random quotations on them. There is one card with a really good idea, but you're not sure if you copied it from your source or if you came up with the idea yourself.

If you put it in your paper, is it plagiarism?

Well, if it turns out that it did, indeed, come directly from the book, article, or web site that you were working with, then yes, it's plagiarism. If you're not sure, go back and double check. This is why taking thorough, copious notes is a good thing.



Plagiarism is apparently a growing problem on this campus and others. In most instances, it occurs because students do not understand that what they are doing is actually plagiarism. For example, a student may go to an Internet site, copy and paste a key phrase or paragraph, and then simply forget to indicate to the reader where it came from. However, Willamette's policy clearly states that ignorance is not an excuse. Here is some of the language found in our catalogue in the section "Plagiarism and Cheating Policy"

Plagiarism and Cheating Policy

Plagiarism and cheating are offenses against the integrity of the courses in which they occur and against the College community as a whole. Plagiarism and cheating involve intellectual dishonesty, deception, and fraud, which inhibit the honest exchange of ideas. In accordance with Willamette University's Standards of Conduct, students are entitled to notice of what constitutes plagiarism and cheating and the right to appeal penalties. Plagiarism and cheating may be grounds for dismissal from the College.

When appropriate during the semester, such as in conjunction with assignment of a class project or review for an exam, faculty members are encouraged to discuss plagiarism and cheating and how to avoid them.

Definitions and Penalties

Cheating is any form of intellectual dishonesty or misrepresentation of one's knowledge. Plagiarism, a form of cheating, consists of representing someone else's work as one's own. All members of the Willamette University community are expected to be aware of the serious breach of principles involved in plagiarism. Ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism shall not be considered a valid defense. If students are uncertain as to what constitutes plagiarism for a particular assignment, they should consult the instructor for clarification. A faculty member may impose penalties for plagiarism and cheating ranging from a grade reduction on an assignment or an exam to failure in the course. A faculty member also may suggest that the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts initiate further action.

I find the phrase "Plagiarism....consists of representing someone else’s work as one’s own" to be at the heart of the matter. As long as you don't do this, you will be fine. Notice that in quoting the language of the policy directly, I used quotation marks but since I didn't care to include the parenthetical phrase "a form of cheating," I replaced it with an ellipsis (. . .) to indicate that something from the original was omitted.

Of course, a much more flagrant and egregious form of plagiarism is the case of a student going to an online supplier of student papers and purchasing a paper that one can download, and then handing that paper in as your own work. Don't even think of doing this. Willamette now subscribes to Turnitin, a website that allows us to input a few keywords or sentences and discover if a paper or document exists on the web containing those phrases. Any teacher who is struck by something either familiar or out of the ordinary about the language of a paper, will probably run a check on it through Turnitin, so be forewarned. If it appears a student has done this, paperwork and documentation may be filed with the Dean's Office and the student will face some serious consequences.


In a word, you cannot borrow words, phrases, sentences, or ideas from other works or authors without attribution. A significant number of plagiarism cases could be resolved or avoided altogether simply by proper citation. But even when you do cite your source, if you incorporate the direct wording from the original, you must use quotation marks or indent the quote (if it is a longer, "block quote") in order to signal the reader that these words are not your own. Then you are obliged to tell the reader where the information or the analysis that you borrowed can be found. It is when you fail to tell your reader that words which would otherwise appear to be your own, are, in fact, not your own, that you cross over the line and engage in plagiarism.


All this having been said, since the papers I am asking you to write for this class are not "research" papers but more discussion/analysis/response papers, you probably will not be citing a lot of outside sources. However, you presumably will be citing the books ordered for this Colloquium, and you need to attribute properly when you do so.

A longer quote can be indented as a "block quote" in which case, it does not need quotation marks:


For about six years, from 1968 through 1975, the Band was one of the most popular and influential rock groups in the world, their music embraced by critics (and, to a somewhat lesser degree, the public) as seriously as the music of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Their albums were analyzed and reviewed as intensely as any records by their one-time employer and sometime mentor Bob Dylan. And for a long time, their personalities were as recognizable individually to the casual music public as the members of the Beatles. (from:


You are welcome to read and incorporate additional materials in your papers but just be sure that you do not borrow without attribution. Otherwise, when you pull quotes from the materials assigned in this class, there are a number of simple, shorthand ways of citing these materials that we will discuss in class.

Since so many problems arise when students use material they find on the Internet, you may find the Hatfield Library's links on how to cite the internet useful. See: