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Resources to Understand and Avoid Plagiarism

FSU Academic Honor Pledge

"I affirm my commitment to the concept of responsible freedom. I will be honest and truthful and will strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University. I will abide by the Academic Honor Policy at all times."

About Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a serious issue in the American academic community.  New knowledge is built on previous ideas and knowledge, and credit must be given to those who ideas are being used.  Failure to do so and to present another's ideas as your own can result in serious consequences, including a lower or failing grade on an assignment or in a course, probation, suspension, or dismissal from the university.

Plagiarism Includes:

  • Copying information from a source text without attribution.
  • Paraphrasing information from a source text without attribution.
  • Turning in a peer's work as your own.
  • Purchasing a paper from a commercial source.

- Wilhoit, S. (1994). Helping students avoid plagiarism. College Teaching, 42 (4), 161-164.

The FSU Academic Honor Policy defines plagiarism as "presenting the work of another as one's own (i.e., without proper acknowledgement of the source)."  

Typical examples include:

  • Using another's work from print, web, or other sources without acknowledging the source;
  • quoting from a source without citation;
  • using facts, figures, graphs, charts or information without acknowledgement of the source,
  • utilizing ghostwriting or pay-for-paper services.
  • Excessive repetition (poor paraphrasing of another’s words)
  • Improper citation (failure to cite properly)
  • Improper Idea borrowing (failure to cite another’s ideas)
  • Fraud (creation of false sources)
  • Forgery (turning in another person’s work as your own)

    Source: "Class Plagiarism Policy" at Purdue OWL
  • Additional academic work
  • Reduced grade (including “0” or “F”) for the assignment
  • Reduced grade (including “F”) for the course
  • Reprimand (written or verbal)
  • Educational Activities
  • Restitution
  • Conduct Probation
  • Disciplinary Probation
  • Suspension
  • Dismissal
  • Expulsion
  • Withholding of diplomas, transcripts, or other records
  • Suspension of degree
  • Revocation of degree.

Source: FSU Academic Honor Policy

Tips for Instructors: How to Detect Plagiarized Papers

  • Ask the student to describe how they found the sources cited, and what strategies they used to conduct the search for the paper in question.
  • ​Use search engines such as Google or Google Scholar.  Entering a four to eight word, distinctive phrase in a full text search engine will often yield the source of the plagiarism. Be sure to use the proper search techniques for locating phrases.  Put quotation marks around the passage in question and run it against the search engine. 
  • Search some of the common, full text article databases used by the students. Searching unique, selected phrases can help locate the exact article in which it appears.
  • Look for vocabulary not commonly used in this particular class. 
  • Look at the citations included. Are they all from sources not likely to be encountered in academic research? Are they outdated? 
  • Look for statements at the end of the paper that acknowledge a source for the paper. 
  • Look for unusual formatting, either a change in fonts or the formatting itself. 

    Source: Adapted from University of Illinois Undergraduate Library

Preventing Plagiarism
from Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab)
Includes handouts, exercises, and class plagiarism policy

Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It.
from Indiana University.

Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices
Council of Writing Program Administrators

Cheating 101 Internet Paper Mills
Margaret Fain , Coastal Carolina University
A comprehensive list of internet paper mills

  • iThenticate (Free to FSU community)
  • SafeAssign (availlable through Blackboard)
  • Turnitin (availlable through Blackboard)
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