I. Policy on Plagiarism


Plagiarism is not acceptable. Whether it's intentional or an accident, it's still considered plagiarism, and the same penalties will apply.

What is Plagiarism and How Do I Avoid It?

Plagiarism may be defined as taking credit for work done by others. The two common forms of plagiarism result from quoting and paraphrasing. Quoting is simply copying text "word-for-word," and it becomes plagiarism when proper credit is not given to the original author.

Paraphrasing is less obvious than quoting. It involves rearranging or slightly rewording what was originally written by another author. Many people feel that by paraphrasing, they avoid plagiarism. However, if the paraphrase contains another person's idea, it's still plagiarism unless proper credit is given to the original author. In plagiarism by paraphrasing, a writer "steals" another's ideas, if not their exact words.

It's important that you understand what plagiarism is and how you can avoid it. Ideally, all work you submit should be in your own words , and should be your original ideas. If you use other ideas to support your own ideas, then you must cite your sources.

Directly copying text from a source, whether it is a book, website, student, or anything else, is plagiarism, unless you

  • place the text in quotation marks and
  • clearly cite the source using the format provided in sections III and IV of this page.

Whenever you are asked to provide a definition, you must write the definition in your own words, based on what you have learned in the lesson or from your own research.

If a teacher points out that your work contains plagiarism, then learn from the experience. The teacher is not insulting you; they are notifying you that you need to learn new writing skills. It is similar to a friend pointing out that you have (intentionally or unintentionally) done something seriously impolite. Learn from the experience and decide not to make the mistake again.

We recommend you study the following cites to gain a firm understanding of plagiarism:

The Research Process

The process of doing research is as follows.

  • Use various sources (books, websites, magazines, etc.) from which to gather information.
  • Take notes from what you find in the sources
  • Record the exact sources in your notes. Note: http://www.yahoo.com/, http://www.google.com/, or other search engines do not count as sources; you need the exact URL of the online source.
  • Use credible sources.  Blog pages may not be used as references. Blogs generally have no oversight or editorial review, and thus no quality control.
  • Encyclopedic resources (such as Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica) may be used as legitimate sources. However, any number of pages from one of these resources are still considered a single source. In assignments requiring more than one cited source, other resources must be referenced. Four Wikipedia pages will not pass as four different sources.
  • Begin writing your assignment in your own words.
  • List the sources you use in the bibliography and cite them appropriately as described below.

Go to various sources to gather information. We are more concerned with the effort you put into a lesson than in your rushing through a lesson to complete the course. The point of writing in your own words is to develop your own thinking processes and to improve your written communication and creative skills. Be creative and honest with your written assignments. If you have any questions at all during your writing process, please ask. That is what we are here for, and we are more than happy to assist.

An effective practice in avoiding plagiarism is to avoid looking at your source materials when writing your own work. Depend on your notes instead. It is simply too easy to (consciously or unconsciously) copy someone else's words when they are in front of you.

What happens if you need to use another person's idea or writing to support your work? Then you need to cite your sources. How do you do that? Read the sections below. You will be expected to be familiar with the content of this page.


If you plagiarize on a lesson, you will get a failing grade for that lesson, and be required to rewrite the plagiarized work (in your own words). This will lower your final grade. You may also be required to complete a Principles lesson before you are readmitted to the course. If a student repeatedly plagiarizes, the student will be required to pass a proctored exam to earn credit for the courses. There is an additional cost for proctored exams. School administrators may also drop a final course grade by up to one full letter grade.

Students who repeatedly plagiarize may also be suspended or expelled from the school.

This policy is stated in Step 5 of the student orientation. It is your responsibility to check your work and ask questions about citation to avoid plagiarism.



II. Paraphrasing


Whenever text is copied word-for-word from a source, it must be enclosed in quotation marks and properly cited. Even when properly quoted and cited, an essay may be unacceptable if there is excessive use of quotes. Remember, students are expected to demonstrate their mastery of course material, and quoting someone else's work does not necessarily demonstrate your understanding the material that was quoted. In many essays, you will need to paraphrase extensively and cite your paraphrases.

Study the following passages to learn proper methods of paraphrasing a source.

Original passage: (from Chapter 2 of the Outline of American History)


A significant factor deterring the emergence of a powerful aristocratic or gentry class in the colonies was the fact that anyone in an established colony could choose to find a new home on the frontier. Thus, time after time, dominant tidewater figures were obliged, by the threat of a mass exodus to the frontier, to liberalize political policies, land-grant requirements and religious practices. This movement into the foothills was of tremendous import for the future of America.

Unacceptable paraphrase:


A big factor in stopping an aristocratic class from forming in the colonies was that anyone in an established colony could choose to find a new home on the frontier. Dominant tidewater figures were obliged by the threat of a mass movement to the frontier, to liberalize policies, land-grant requirements and religious practices. This movement into the foothills was tremendously important for America's future (Outline 2).

--This is an unacceptable paraphrase. Some words have been changed, removed, or replaced with synonyms, but the basic structure of the paragraph is unchanged. Also, many words and most of the phrasing is the same. It is plagiarism to copy someone?s writing structure, as well as their words. Even though the source has been cited, this is still not acceptable.

Unacceptable paraphrase:

  • Movement into the foothills was important to America's future. An aristocratic class could not form in the colonies because "anyone in an established colony could choose to find a new home on the frontier." All the time, "dominant tidewater figures" had to "liberalize political policies, land-grant requirements and religious practices." "A significant factor deterring the emergence of a powerful aristocratic or gentry class in the colonies was the fact that anyone in an established colony could choose to find a new home on the frontier," (Outline 2)

--This is slightly reworded, but quotations are used far too often. The writer of this passage probably does not fully understand the original passage, and cannot reword it, so she quotes the parts that she doesn?t truly understand.   The original meaning of the passage is muddled, and the quotations make it difficult to read.

Acceptable paraphrase:


Because colonists always had the option to leave and expand westward to the frontier, colonial governors often had to give in to their demands for changes in laws, land grants, and religious requirements. The aristocracy never grew to the power it had enjoyed in the old world because the lower classes always had the option to leave the colony, so they were never really at the mercy of the powerful classes. This steady movement westward was a major force in shaping future events (Outline 2).

--This is completely rephrased and reworded. The structure is entirely different, and the paragraph offers a slightly different focus for the same information. As you can see, to write a good paraphrase, you must fully understand the information in the source. If you don't fully understand your source, you will have a very difficult time rewording it. Note that the source still needs to be cited.

Acceptable paraphrase:

Class stratification was not as pronounced as in the old world, and the ruling classes held much less power. The ability to expand westward gave the general population some political leverage that they had never enjoyed in Europe. "The dominant tidewater figures were obliged, by the threat of a mass exodus to the frontier, to liberalize political policies, land-grant requirements and religious practices. "(Outline 2).

--This is an acceptable combination of a quote and a paraphrase. The paraphrased section is still completely reworded, and the quote is only one sentence long. The source is cited.


III. The Works Cited List


A Works Cited list is a list of the works you have cited in your essay. A Works Cited list is placed at the end of your work.  Any source that you used in your work will need to be included in the Works Cited.  If the reader is interested in the source of your material, they can easily take a glance at the Works Cited list and determine where your information is from. This is sometimes referred to as a bibliography, but a bibliography is actually a list of potential sources on a topic, not necessarily the sources you cited.

A basic Works Cited entry will generally contain at least these elements:

  • Author's name (if given)
  • Title
  • Place of publication (which may be a city or a website)
  • Publisher (if known)
  • Copyright date
  • Date you accessed the information (for online sources)
  • URL (for online sources)
There are several other elements your citation may need to contain.  Please see the sites linked at the end of this section for fuller explanations and examples of what elements you may need to cite.

Remember that articles (on the web or in a periodical, newspaper, etc), short stories, poems, chapters, and tv episodes are placed in quotation marks. Books, anthologies, movies, newspapers, periodicals, and websites are underlined or italicized.

A Works Cited list is easy to create.  All you need to do is to pay attention to where you found your information, and place the information about your sources in a particular order and format.  Take a look at the following examples. 


For a book with one author:

Croowley, Alyster. What Rabbits Eat. New York: Diamond Paperbacks, 1993.

For a book with two authors:

Sorensen, Scott, and Rob LeBrick. Finding Alfalfa. Dallas: Acme Publications, 1994.

For a book with no author:

The World of Leafy Greens. Sante Fe: French Publications, 1995.

A signed article in an encyclopedia

Pupp, Ryan. "Chlorophyll." Encyclopedia Britannica: Macapaedia. 1999 ed.

An unsigned article in an encyclopedia:

"Chinese." Encyclopedia Virginian. 1991 ed.

An article in a magazine:

Glasser, Danny. "A Healthy Flow of Algae." Time. 4 Oct. 1982: 74.

An article in a newspaper:

Ensey, Jone E. "Multiple Jack Rabbits Termed On Decline." Harrisburgh Post. 10 Oct. 1976: A37.

An article from a CD-ROM:

Vakuz, Gary S. "Absolute Nothing." Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. 1993.



Online sources are formatted somewhat differently than print sources.   Because online sources can change so easily and rapidly, it is important to cite not only the copyright date (or date of last revision) of the source, but the date you accessed the site.  Online sources, like print sources, may have publishers (or organizations that act as publishers), and this information should be noted in your citation when it is available.

A typical entry for an Internet source contains this information in this order:

  1. the author or editor's name. Lastname, Firstname. (if available)
  2. the title of the article in quotation marks. (if available)
  3. the name of the overall website (such as the domain name) on which the article was published in italics.
  4. the date or version of the specific article (such as the "last updated" date)
  5. the name of the publisher or the institution or organization responsible for the site and the publishing or copyright date separated by a comma (ex. About.com, 2011). If a publisher is not available put "n.p." in the spot. If a date is not available put "n.d." in the spot.
  6. page numbers (if applicable)
  7. medium of publication. (ex. Web.)
  8. the date you accessed the site
  9. the specific url of the article you read (not the home page). This is required by CompuHigh, but considered optional by MLA. Please note, MLA suggests that the url be placed inside carrots (<.....>) in the citation. However, doing this will cause problems with your posting.  Instead, just put the url at the end of the citation as you see below.

Articles from Internet sites:

Bradley, Larry S. "The Time Machine." Chronology.com. 3 October 2005.  The Chronology Project, Inc., 2005.
          Web. 30 April 2007. http://www.chronology.com/~Time/Machine/Larry.html.

"What is a Watershed?" Water. 17 Nov. 2009. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2009. Web.
          17 June 2011. http://water.epa.gov/type/watersheds/whatis.cfm.

  "Skateboarding." Wikipedia.org. 10 June 2011. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., n.d. Web. 17 June 2011.




Online sources are also formatted differently than print sources.

A typical entry for a television program contains the title of the segment, title of the program, credits to writers or performers, network, call letters of the local station broadcating the program, city of the local station, and broadcast date. Not all of this information will always be available.

A television program:

"Queen of trees." Nature. Deeble and Stone. PBS. WNPB, Morgantown, WV. March 20, 2007




Note that your sources are listed in alphabetical order.


           Bradley, Larry S. "The Time Machine." Chronology.com. 3 October 2005.  The Chronology Project, Inc., 2005. Web.
                     30 April 2007.


         "Chinese." Encyclopedia Virginian. 1991 ed.

          Croowley, Alyster. What Rabbits Eat. New York: Diamond Paperbacks, 1993.

          Ensey, Jone E. "Multiple Jack Rabbits Termed On Decline." Time. 10 Oct. 1976: A37.

          Glasser, Danny. "A Healthy Flow of Algae." Time. 4 Oct. 1982: 74.

          Pupp, Ryan. "Chlorophyll."
Encyclopedia Britannica: Macapaedia. 1999 ed.


           Vakuz, Gary S. "Absolute Nothing." Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. 2005.

   The World of Leafy Greens. Sante Fe: French Publications, 2000.


Find more detailed information and explanations about formatting on the following websites:



IV. Citing Your Sources


Parenthetical Documentation (also known as Parenthetical Citation)

The parenthetical citations direct your reader to the Works Cited list at the end of your paper. In most cases, the parenthetical citations include the author's last name and the specific page number for the information cited.

Note, that the following is the way we would like you to document your work, however, other teachers may have other preferences. Before writing a paper, it's always a good idea to check with the teacher of that course.

Use of Authors' Names

Always mention the author's name?either in the text itself or in the parenthetical citation?unless no author is provided.

If the author's name is mentioned in the text

If the author's name is used in the text introducing the source material, then cite the page number(s) in parentheses:

Branscomb argues that "it's a good idea to lurk (i.e., read all the messages without contributing anything) for a few weeks, to ensure that you don't break any of the rules of netiquette" (7) when joining a listserv.

If the author's name is not mentioned in the text

If the author's name is not used in the sentence introducing the source material, then include the author's last name in the parenthetical citation before the page number(s). Note that no comma appears between the author's name and the page number(s).

The modern world requires both the ability to concentrate on one thing and the ability to attend to more than one thing at a time: "Ideally, each individual would cultivate a repertoire of styles of attention, appropriate to different situations, and would learn how to embed activities and types of attention one within another" (Bateson 97).

If there is more than one work by the same author

If a document uses more than one work by an individual author, include an abbreviated form of the title of the work in addition to the author's name and relevant page number(s). Separate the author's name and the title with a comma:

Hypertextuality makes text borderless as it "redefines not only beginning and endings of the text but also its borders?its sides, as it were" (Landow, Hypertext 2.0 79).

If two authors have the same last name

If the document uses two sources by authors with the same last name, include the author's first name in the text or the parenthetical citation:

Tom Peters talks about a company that facilitates employees' renewal by shutting down its factory for several hours per week while teams work through readings on current business topics (57).

If there are two or three authors

If a source has two or three authors, place all of the authors' last names in the text or in the parenthetical citation:

A team can be defined as "a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable" (Katzenbach and Smith 45).

If there are four or more authors

If a source has four or more authors, include the first author's last name followed by et al. (Latin for and others), either in the text or in the parenthetical citation. You can also name all of the authors:

Cogdill et al. argue that "making backchannel overtly available for study would require making its presence and content visible and its content persist, affecting the nature of the backchannel and raising social and ethical issues" (109).

If the source has a corporate author

If a source has a corporate author, include the author's name and the page(s). If the corporate author's name is long, it should be included in the text rather than the parentheses:

According to the Centre for Development and Population Activities, interest in gender roles and responsibilities over the past decade has been "driven by the realization that women often do not benefit from development activities and in some cases become even poorer and more marginalized" (3).

If no author is identified

If a source does not include an author's name, substitute for the author's name the title or an abbreviated title in the text or parenthetical citation. Underline the title if the source is a book; if the source is an article, use quotation marks:

The use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems has grown substantially over the past five years as companies attempt to adapt to customer needs and to improve their profitability ("Making CRM Work").

Placement of Citations

  •  Place a citation as close to the quoted or paraphrased material as possible without disrupting the sentence.
  • When material from one source and the same page numbers is used throughout a paragraph, use one citation at the end of the paragraph rather than a citation at the end of each sentence.
  • Parenthetical citations usually appear after the final quotation mark and before the period. An exception occurs, however, in quotes of four or more lines since these quotes are presented as block quotes: that is, they are indented and use no quotation marks. In such cases, the parenthetical citation goes after the period, as the following example shows:
Bolles argues that the most effective job hunting method is what he calls the creative job hunting approach:figuring out your best skills, and favorite knowledges, and then researching any employer that interests you, before approaching that organization and arranging, through your contacts, to see the person there who has the power to hire you for the position you are interested in. This method, faithfully followed, leads to a job for 86 out of every 100 job-hunters who try it (57).

Treatment of Electronic Sources

In-text citations for electronic sources are treated in most respects as print texts are. The only real difference occurs because electronic texts do not have page numbers (unless the source is in PDF format or otherwise mimics a print version of the source). Sometimes, numbered paragraphs appear on an electronic source. In such cases, use paragraph numbers instead of page numbers. The paragraph number should appear in your citation following the abbreviation par. If an electronic source includes section numbers or screen numbers, use those numbers after the word section or screen. Most often, however, the source will have no paragraph, section, or screen numbers. In such instances, include no number in the parentheses, as shown below:

The Collaborative Virtual Workspace (CVW) prototype is being used by the Defense Department for crisis management (Davidson and Deus).

  © 2004 The Write Place,  Judith Kilborn http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/research/mlaparen.html



V. A Sample Paper


The following paper is courtesy of: http://www.aresearchguide.com/sampleparenth.html Go to this site to find out more information about documenting your work. © 1998-2004 I. Lee. All Rights Reserved. Note that the parenthetical documentation has been highlighted.

  The Many Facets of Taboo

            The World Book Encyclopedia defines Taboo as "an action, object, person, or place forbidden by law or culture" (Dundes).
            As pointed out in the Occultopedia, another word for taboo is "tabu" a Polynesian word meaning that which is banned. The Occultopedia also points out that taboo is found among many other cultures including the ancient Egyptians, Jews and others
            Mary Douglas has analyzed the many facets and interpretations of taboos across various cultures. In her view, taboos could be considered a kind of "brain-washing"
(2549) as they are transmitted to individuals along with an entire cultural system made up of a pattern of values and norms. 
            In reference to Freak Shows at circuses, an interesting observation is made that people who possess uncommon features and who willingly go out in public to display such oddities to onlookers are acting as "modern-day taboo breakers" by crossing the "final boundary between societal acceptance and ostracism"
            In traditional British East Africa, between the time of puberty and marriage, a young Akamba girl must maintain an avoidance relationship with her own father
(Freud 17).
            Looking at taboo in a modern society, Marvin Harris gives an interesting example of the application of cultural materialism to the Hindu taboo against eating beef (qtd. in McGrath).

Works Cited

Douglas, Mary. "Taboo." Man, Myth & Magic. Ed. Richard Cavendish. New ed. 
          21 vols. New York: Cavendish, 1994. 2546-2549.

Dundes, Alan. "Taboo." The World Book Encyclopedia. 2000 ed.

Freud, Sigmund. Totem and Taboo. New York: Random, 1918.

McGrath, Stacy. "Ecological Anthropology." Anthropological Theories: A Guide
          Prepared by Students for Students. 19 Oct. 2001. U. of Alabama. 15 Feb. 2004

Rothenberg, Kelly. "Tattooed People as Taboo Figures in Modern Society."
          1996. BME/Psyber City. 15 Feb. 2004 .

"Taboo." Occultopedia: Encyclopedia of Occult Sciences and Knowledge.  Site created 
          and designed by Marcus V. Gay. 12 Feb. 2004 .