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In college, students are expected to write, write, and write some more!  Instructors differ in exactly what they expect in a paper, but one rule holds true across the board:  Never plagiarize!  At first glance, this appears to be a straightforward rule; however, students are often confused on exactly what qualifies as plagiarism.  Plagiarism is presenting someone else's work as one's own.  Instructors expect students to develop original ideas while incorporating work that has already been completed by other researchers and authors.  This is where students often stumble, and place themselves in danger of plagiarism.


FHSU addresses plagiarism in the Academic Honesty policy.  Students who are found in violation of this policy are subject to consequences such as verbal and/or written warnings, lowering of assignment and/or course grade, or, in extreme cases, suspension from the University.  When students are accused of plagiarism, they are given the right to appeal in the following manner:  1.) informally with the instructor;  2.) formally with the department; and 3.) formally with the Provost.[1]


On top of academic consequences, there are also legal ramifications when individuals are accused of plagiarism.  In the United States, there are laws protecting the authors of copyrighted materials.  Some instances of plagiarism constitute copyright infringement.  According to, cases of plagiarism that reach a court of law are typically misdemeanors with the possibility of fines or jail time.[2]


To avoid being placed in this uncomfortable position, students have an obligation to learn the skills necessary to avoid plagiarism.  First and foremost, students must understand how to cite properly using formatting styles such as MLA, APA, or Chicago.  An improper citation, or lack thereof, could easily lead to an accusation of plagiarism.  Put quotations around any sentence that is word-for-word from a source.[3]  An excellent resource for learning and using the different styles is the Purdue Online Writing Lab.


Secondly, students should understand how to paraphrase correctly. Paraphrasing is summarizing or rephrasing an idea initially written by someone else.  Students should change not only the words, but also the sentence structure to avoid plagiarism.  Once paraphrased, the content of the writing should still match the source, but will be expressed in your own words.  Paraphrased information should not be used to just reiterate someone else’s ideas, but to support your own ideas in the paper.  Remember that paraphrasing still requires a citation![4]


Once you have mastered these skills, academic writing will come more naturally.  If you are ever in doubt, make sure to use a citation.  Your instructors are an excellent resource for questions about writing format and style.  For more information on plagiarism, please see the resources below:


      FHSU Academic Honesty Policy

      Purdue Online Writing Lab

      Harvard Guide to Using Sources

      Copyright Infringement (Wikipedia)


Happy Writing!


Erica Fisher






Plagiarism Resource for Students
Posted by: Jessica( Visit ) at 3/14/2015 5:56 PM

Thanks to help teachers instruct students on how to understand and avoid plagiarism.
Posted by: Max( Visit ) at 10/31/2015 2:17 AM

How can I secure my blog against plagirism? How do protect myself against content thieves?
Posted by: Phil( Visit ) at 8/1/2016 9:28 AM

Really practical advice for students - thanks for this
Posted by: Jamie( Visit ) at 8/25/2016 6:34 AM

Great advice for students - thanks for sharing!
Posted by: James( Visit ) at 10/6/2016 5:59 AM

Great advice here as plagiarism is a growing problem and helping students understand how to avoid plagiarism by educating them what qualifies as plagiarism is an important thing to do.
Posted by: Matt( Visit ) at 11/4/2016 7:31 PM

This is such a wonderful input on the topic. Thanks Erica. I'll definitely give this some social media coverage!
Posted by: Paul( Visit ) at 11/11/2016 7:05 AM

Erica, what a well written article! I've had my fair share of back-and-forth action against people who've copied my content without permission. This will definitely help! Thanks a ton!
Posted by: Anthony( Visit ) at 2/16/2017 7:38 AM

Great advice for students - thanks for sharing it here in this page!
Posted by: Bhavesh( Visit ) at 3/6/2017 6:04 AM

Understudies ought to change the words, as well as the sentence structure to keep away from literary theft. Once reworded, the substance of the written work ought to in any case coordinate the source, yet will be communicated in your own words.
Posted by: Dead Rising Jacket( Visit ) at 3/25/2017 2:10 AM

Great piece Erica! I like how you pointed out on the importance of paraphrasing correctly in order for students to become better in academic writing.
Posted by: Marco( Visit ) at 3/27/2017 10:04 AM

Great advice here as plagiarism is a growing problem and helping students understand how to avoid plagiarism by educating them what qualifies as plagiarism is an important thing to do.
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Posted by: Tina Lloyd( Visit ) at 4/18/2017 12:48 AM

Wonderful post and information. good work.
Posted by: visit( Visit ) at 4/18/2017 8:43 AM

There is nothing much better than sharing knowledge to everyone. Great tips.
Posted by: Sef( Visit ) at 4/19/2017 5:11 AM

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