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Political Science & Philosophy Plagiarism Policy

Many students are under the misconception that rewriting something is not plagiarism because they are "putting it in their own words." However, in the academic world, if the source is not acknowledged, such rewriting is plagiarism. This is a major concern for academics because copying and pasting is increasingly common in undergraduate papers. 

The accessibility of the Internet makes plagiarism very tempting and easy, and unintentional plagiarism often springs from this source. Cutting and pasting is usually easy to detect but actually accounts for only a small percentage of plagiarism. Most plagiarism is text manipulation. This page will explain what constitutes academic plagiarism, reference the Weber State University policy on plagiarism and list the definitions within the department for dealing with accusations of plagiarism for faculty and students. 

Perhaps most importantly, this page is designed to inform students, so that plagiarism can be prevented and students acquire the professional and competent writing skills during their undergraduate coursework in the Department of Political Science and Philosophy that meet the high standards of the academy and prepare them for the world of work. 

Our department works from the assumption that our students are persons of character and honesty who want to do the right thing, but that we are bombarded in our society with bad information passed off as fact, and unattributed information is everywhere—but academics play by a different, and more rigid, set of rules. In fact, without our higher standards, we lose our credibility and authority as experts. Plagiarism is not just about academic dishonesty; it is integral to our role in society as educators, researchers and experts. These values are essential to higher educations’ mission, and passing them on to our students is a responsibility this department takes very seriously. 



What is Plagiarism?

Simply stated, plagiarism is using someone else's work without giving appropriate credit. This improper usage can include the following:

  • Copying and pasting text from online media, such as encyclopedias.
  • Copying and pasting text from ANY website.
  • Transcribing text from any printed material, such as books, magazines, encyclopedias or newspapers.
  • Simply modifying text from any of the above sources. Replacing a few select words with one's own does not constitute original work and thus is plagiarism.
  • Using photographs, video or audio without permission or acknowledgment is plagiarism. You may use photographic, video or audio sources with or in a paper or multimedia presentation that you create, as long as you do not profit from it or use it for any purpose other than the original assignment. You should include the source in your bibliography.
  • Using another student's work and claiming it as your own, even with permission, is academically unethical and is plagiarism. Known as "collusion," this misrepresentation is unacceptable.
  • Purchasing course papers or other work from commercial sources is academically unethical and is treated as plagiarism.
  • Translation from one language to another is not using your own words and ideas and is treated as plagiarism. Translations fall under the guidelines for quotations, summaries and paraphrasing.
  • Current professors must approve re-using written work from another or previous course. You may use your previous work as a basis for new research if the original work is included in your bibliography.



Quoting, Summarizing & Paraphrasing 

Whenever you quote, summarize or paraphrase, you must acknowledge the original source. If you do not directly credit your source in a citation, you are in violation of the plagiarism policy. Follow these guidelines when acknowledging your source:

• If you quote a source, you must quote exactly, word for word. Cite the source in the paper with a footnote or parenthetical reference.

• The sources for summaries and paraphrasing must also be cited. Cite these exactly as you would a quotation. Summaries and paraphrasing are merely condensed versions of someone else's work. You must, therefore, give them credit for the information.

• Simply put, paraphrasing is putting an author's work into your own words. Although the information is in your own words, it is still the original author's work. You have merely rephrased it. Summarizing is writing out the main points of someone else's work in your own words. Once again, this is not information that you have created; therefore, it must be cited.