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Research Guides

Biology 114: Organisms & Environments: Plagiarism and How to Avoid It

A guide to biological sciences resources available at the University of Idaho Library

About this Guide

This guide offers resources for recognizing and avoiding plagiarism.

Image from University of Wisconsin- Green Bay Cofrin Library

What are the Consequences?

Plagarism is a serious offense. The following is taken from the UI Regulations for Academic Performance.

Consequences of plagiarism can include:

 . . . the instructor may ask you to rewrite the paper, using correct forms of documentation.

 . . . the instructor is empowered by the university to give you a failing grade in the course. In addition, a file may be established with the Dean of Students to record the incident..

 Source: UI Policy, Regulation O-2 (Academic Performance)

What is Plagiarism?

To plagiarize is to use someone's else's work as your own, without giving credit to the person.

This definition of plagiarism comes from the University of Idaho Student Code of Conduct.

"Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the following:

1) using, by paraphrase or direct quotation, the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment;

2) using materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials without prior authorization by the instructor."

Source: UI Student Code of Conduct, Article 2, Section A-1, Academic Dishonesty

How Can I Avoid Plagiarism?

Plagiarism can be a deliberate (downloading or purchasing pre-written essays) or accidental (assuming that if it's online, you don’t need to give credit).

Avoid plagiarism by citing your sources! If it isn’t your idea, give credit to the person who came up with that idea!

Always cite when you:

  • Use another person’s idea, opinion. (If you use someone’s idea but put it into your own words, you still have to give them credit.)

  • Refer to information that is not considered common knowledge. (Common Knowledge means facts that are generally known by most people.)

  • Use another person’s actual words. (That’s called a direct quote, and you must give credit to the person who said it.)

  • Paraphrase of another person’s spoken or written words.