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As the Turabian Manual for Writers states, “We read words, not minds. So, think of plagiarism not as an intended act, but a perceived one” (p. 81). Writers must “acknowledge the work of previous scholars and provide a reliable way to locate it” (APA Publication Manual, 6th ed., p. 37).

The definition of plagiarism has changed over the centuries. Before and through the Dark Ages, it was assumed that all creative endeavors were attributed to the gods and not an individual. To take credit was to invite the anger of the gods and a slough of bad luck. It seems one first century AD poet called Martial did not agree with that and called out his “literary “kidnappers” who became the subject of a literary beating” (“The World’s First ‘Plagiarism’ Case”). Whether this story is true or not, it still makes for an interesting read.

Why complete and correct source documentation is important–beyond simplistic view of avoiding plagiarism.

  1. Integrity: Demonstrates personal and professional integrity.
  2. Trust: Allows for fact and credibility checking.
  3. Empowerment: Shared sources enable others to follow the study of a particular topic or extend the research.

Forms of Plagiarism

Negligent Plagiarism
(aka “Accidental”)

Deliberate Plagiarism

Recycling previously graded work without prior permission from instructor.

Missing quotation marks (or block format as needed) for quoted material.

Missing in-text citation even with proper punctuation or block formatting used.

Missing bibliographical listing (i.e. complete identification) for an in-text citation.

Mismatched citation and listing. In-text citation does not match first piece of information in corresponding reference listing exactly.

Copying (without credit to the source) material from print or web-accessed books, articles, etc.

Buying, downloading, or borrowing a paper.

Exceeding the academic standard of 20-25% quoted material within your content.

Avoid plagiarism like the plague!

  • Keep careful notes. (Hacker & Sommers, 2014, pg. 531)
  • Build a working bibliography.  (Hacker & Sommers, 2014, pg. 530)
    * Only items used in the submitted copy of your paper will be included on the Reference page.
  • Cite/Reference the source ideas, argument, statistics, images, photographs, charts, maps, graphs or other media items as well as direct quotes.
  • Avoid relying on introductory clauses as a substitute for proper source documentation.

Why go to all this work?

  • Documenting sources helps you (as a writer) evaluate what you believe about a subject.
  • Source documentation lends you credibility with your reader.
  • Missing or incomplete source identification information is perceived as a form of plagiarism.
  • Any form of plagiarism risks failing the assignment, failing a class, or expulsion from the institution due to poor demonstration of academic integrity.


Hacker, D., & Sommers, N. (2014). The Bedford handbook. (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Hume-Pratuch, J. (2010, October 28). What belongs in the reference list? [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Is it plagiarism yet?. (n.d.). Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab. Retrieved from

Turabian, K. L. (2013 April 9). A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

“The World’s First ‘Plagiarism’ Case.” Plagiarism Today. 4 Oct 2011,