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Academic Honesty: Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism is when you use the work or ideas of someone else in your own work without giving credit to the original source. Sometimes people intentionally cheat by trying to pass a paper as their own work, but, very often, plagiarism happens by accident. Regardless of the intention, plagiarism can have serious consequences. The UHD Student Handbook includes an Academic Honesty Policy (PS 03.A.19) with a definition of plagiarism and procedures for faculty to follow when they suspect a student may have plagiarized or cheated on a paper. Penalties for plagiarism can include a failing grade (F) for a course.

What Actions Are Considered Plagiarism?

The Online Writing Center at Purdue University lists some common examples of plagiarism:

  • If you buy, steal, or borrow a paper and turn it in as your own.
  • If you hire someone to write a paper for you, then turn it in as your own.
  • If you use a source too closely when you are doing a paraphrase.
  • If you build on someone’s ideas without citing or giving proper credit.
  • If you copy from another source without proper credit.

Note that teachers and administrators usually do not distinguish between accidental and intentional plagiarism.

Both types are viewed as grave actions.

How Can I Check My Paper for Plagiarism? What is turnitin?

Every student at UHD is enrolled in a BlackBoard class called "Student Orientation - Essentials for Online Course Success". In this class, the menu item "My Tools" has a tool called turnitin. Use the turnitin tool to check your paper for plagiarism. This is the best way to detect plagiarism in your paper, giving you a chance to correct or remove the plagiarism before you submit it to be graded.

Note that the "Student Orientation" class is not tied to any of your coursework and anything you submit to turnitin in this area of Blackboard will not be seen by any of your professors.

Where Can I Learn More About Plagiarism?

On campus, you can ask your professor. You can also visit the UHD Writing & Reading Center (N-925). The Writing Center tutors can help with any stage of writing, including helping you avoid plagiarism.

On the Web, there are various sources of information for students to learn about plagiarism. These include the following:


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Last updated or reviewed on 8/27/13

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