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If you have any questions or need any help regarding plagiarism, paraphrasing, summarizing, or citations please do ask us in the library.


What is plagiarism?

For you, a student at Haywood Community College, this means it is a violation of the academic honesty policy in the HCC Student Handbook:

Plagiarism – The intentional theft or unacknowledged use of another’s work or ideas. Plagiarism includes,
but is not limited to: a) paraphrasing or summarizing another’s words or works without proper
acknowledgement; b) using direct quotes of material without proper acknowledgment; or c) purchasing or
using a paper or presentation written or produced by another person. If a student is uncertain about what
constitutes plagiarism, he/she should discuss with the class instructor.

Policy 5.3.2 1.A Student Code of Conduct

So it's cheating on your work. The Handbook also says that penalties for plagiarism can involve but are not limited to:

A. Re-do the assignment, or submit another assignment;
B. Additional course work;
C. Loss of credit for the assignment; or
D. Loss of credit for the class

You could lose financial aid or fail to get your degree. It's considered a very big deal. Why? Well, you're cheating on assessments for class, so the instructor doesn't know if you understand the material and can't pass you. They'll wonder if you've done it before, and so will your other instructors in different classes. In fact instructors have tools that tell them if the words you use are someone else's.

Outside of HCC, in the wider world, plagiarism causes people to lose respect and jobs. It's a bad idea, but it's easily avoided.

How To Avoid It

It's actual pretty easy to avoid plagiarism.

  1. Take good notes. When you take notes from an article or book be sure to clearly mark which are other people's words or ideas, along with a page number. This way when it's time to write you'll know which ones are yours and which aren't.
  2. Cite. This simply means letting a reader knows whose ideas and words you're using. Ask your instructor which citation style you should follow. Use in-text citations when you directly quote, summarize or paraphrase some else's words or ideas. Add the book or article to your bibliography at the end. See the how to cite page for more information on how to do this.
  3. Check. When you've finished writing do a quick check. Have you accidentally used someone else's ideas? Have you used page numbers for quotes? Are all of the sources you used in your reference list?


How To Write And Cite

While you're writing, there are 3 ways to cover other people's words: quote, paraphrase, or summarize.

  1. Quote: exactly how you tell the reader that you're directly using someone else's words depends on the citation style, but every quote requires quotation marks and an in-text citation that will involve the author and likely the page number. Never use other people's words without putting them in quotes.
  2. Paraphrase: you shouldn't quote too much, it's lazy and doesn't demonstrate understanding. Instead, paraphrase: use your own words to communicate someone else's ideas, usually a sentence. This is more challenging, but show that you know what you are writing about.
  3. Summarize: sometimes you need to present some background information for a peper but with little detail. Then you summarize. You still cite, but whereas paraphrasing is a sentence, a summary may be of a set of ideas, a book, a chapter or a page. You read, think, then condense.