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Department of Humanities and Social Sciences

Policy on Plagiarism

Plagiarism is "the false assumption of authorship; the wrongful act of taking the product of another person's mind and presenting it as one's own" (Alexander Lindley, Plagiarism and Originality, New York: Harper, 1952, p. 2). Simply, plagiarism is cheating; it is the theft of thought. It consists of borrowing another person's words or ideas without acknowledging their source. Acknowledgement is accomplished through the use of footnotes, endnotes and bibliography.

Plagiarism is serious. All cases of suspected plagiarism will be referred directly to the committee on Academic Integrity.


The following guidelines should be helpful in avoiding plagiarism in any written project:

  1. If you are quoting a passage, sentence or phrase from another author or speaker, use quotation marks to indicate this. Cite the author in your text and in works cited. (If you use a long selection, present it in an indented block of text. The block format eliminates the need for quotation marks. If dialogue appears within the selection, use quotation marks for the dialogue.)
  2. If you present facts which are not common knowledge, indicate your source.
  3. If you paraphrase (restate in your own words) what someone else has written, cite that source in your text and reference list/works cited.
  4. If your line of thinking has been influenced by another author, give that person credit by citing the source in your work.
  5. Never submit as your own any work which has been done by another student.


Different disciplines prefer different citation formats. Consult with your instructor to determine the citation form she or he prefers.


Plagiarism is typically committed in desperation, often as a last resort. It is better to discuss with your instructor any questions you have about citing sources or visit the Writing Center for help.


Return to Citations for examples of in-text and reference list citations.