Plagiarism Quiz Answers

1. "Handing in significant parts or the whole of a paper or article from an author other than myself, granted that I acknowledge that this is from an author other than myself, is not plagiarism."

FALSE. Work turned in as your own must be original; that is, it must be composed by you and contain your understanding of your textual or empirical materials.

2. "Common knowledge (composed of facts that can be found in a variety sources and which many people know) does not need to be cited."

TRUE. What are examples of "common knowledge"? The earth is round, John F. Kennedy was a president of the United States, it becomes warm as the Spring progresses in the northern hemisphere of the earth, the earth is the third planet from the sun, the French word for the English word "dog" is "chien," etc.

3. "If I change a few words within a section of source text and then use that in my paper, then I am paraphrasing and not plagiarizing."

FALSE. You also need to cite the original that you are using. Further, even if you cite it, changing a few insignificant words or changing the word or sentence order can still be plagiarism. If you want to use a passage verbatim (that is, word for word) in order to express each idea in it, then use it verbatim: quote and cite it.

4. "It is best to simply reproduce the text of an authoritative source on a topic if the instructor wants me to give an authoritative view."

FALSE. What you are being asked for in a written, academic, paper is the product of your research on a topic. If that research is empirical, your paper involves the results of your empirical research. If that research is more conceptual in nature, it involves your thoughts and interpretations of concepts, including others' thoughts and interpretations. In either case, what you are being asked for is your work and your ideas, not the work and ideas of someone else.

5. "I didn't plagiarize; my paper has quotes all throughout the paper, almost sentence for sentence!"

TRUE. You didn't plagiarize, but you demonstrated by your paper that your rhetorical style and your method of argument are immature and/or that you haven't spent the time and effort in thinking through the materials that were your sources. Your grade will reflect this. The paper must be your argument, and you must, indeed, make an argument.

6. "Plagiarism is punishable by failing the assignment."

FALSE. It depends on the instructor, the department, and the institution in which the plagiarism occurs. Some institutions expel the student, some instructors fail the student for the course, and yet other instructors fail the student for the assignment. SIS instructors place plagiarism statements in their course syllabi.

7. "I guess that I'll find out if I plagiarize when I do it!"

TRUE. However, the awareness of what plagiarism is or is not lies upon the student. Students of library and information science, particularly, are expected to use their research skills to gain this awareness.

8. "If I use, verbatim, a sentence from a source, then I need only to cite it in order to avoid the charge of plagiarism."

FALSE. Besides being cited, the sentence needs to have quotation marks around it if it is used verbatim.

9. "It is ok to simply copy and paste sections from Internet sources into my paper."

FALSE. Those sources need to be cited, and if verbatim, quoted and cited. Further, simply copying and pasting source materials rarely makes for an argument, much less for a good argument. Internet sources can be unreliable, as well. Better work is expected from undergraduate and graduate students.

10. "It wasn't plagiarism; I just didn't understand what you wanted/what the material was about, and I ran out of time, so that is why all this appears to be plagiarized!"

FALSE. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it is, most likely, a duck. It is your responsibility to budget your time and to do a paper worthy of your name and person. Plagiarism is plagiarism; sloppy work is sloppy work. Your name is on that paper. The paper represents who you are. It is your argument for the subject of the class. Be proud of yourself and your work.

11. "My husband/wife/child/parent/friend--or other--helped me with the paper. S/he wrote or rewrote part or all of it in order to make it more interesting, more authoritative or 'smarter.' This wasn't plagiarism-I simply got some help."

FALSE. If the work was dual --or more--authored, then you need to have all the names down as to whom the authors are, and since it is likely that only one of you is taking the class, the question comes down to how to reward that effort. Here, plagiarism coincides with academic dishonesty. It is the same as if someone else took a test for you or helped you take a test or did the whole or part of one of your class projects for you. It is plagiarism because you are representing someone else's ideas and efforts as your own. However, light copyediting is not authoring and talking things over with someone is not authoring, unless using that person is misrepresenting your writing ability in the given language or that person is giving you enough original ideas or interpretations so that such make up the thesis and major contents of your paper. Further, if someone does provide key suggestions upon your own, original, argument, then you should have the courtesy to acknowledge he or she in your paper. The key idea here, again, is that your paper should be your argument, your writing, your empirical work and/or conceptual reading of source materials. When doing empirical research, you must work through the experiments, when doing conceptual research, you must think through the source texts. In either case, the writing, thesis, and argument of the paper must be yours. You must be the author.

12. "I had my paper translated into English and have handed that in with just my name. Is that ok?"

NO. As number 11, above, if the work is not yours, you must acknowledge it. It may or may not count as plagiarism, depending on the context. But, it most likely will be considered not being academically honest. If it is a translation of your work by someone else, then that person must be acknowledged.