You’re working on a homework assignment about dolphins. You search Google and find a good description of how they communicate. Using your computer, you copy and paste it directly into your paper. The web page does not list an author or publication date, and the passage is pretty short anyway, so you don’t bother to cite it.
You really like the way the author of your textbook expresses ideas, and so you begin to take notes from the textbook for a paper you’re writing. You copy the text but forget to include quotation marks, and you don’t record the pages where you found the information. When you begin writing your paper, you include the notes forgetting that these are exact phrases and sentences.
You are writing a paper for your history class about World War II and mention that the US entered the war after Pearl Harbor was bombed. You do not include a citation for this information.
You are writing a lab report for your physics class. You worked with your lab partner to conduct the lab experiment, but both of you are required to submit your own report. You meet at the library to work on the lab reports together. As you write the Introduction and Discussion sections, you decide together what to write in your individual reports. When you finish, the two reports are nearly identical.
You are taking a sociology class, which requires a 5-page research paper. You visit the Research Center in the Anderson Academic Commons, and a librarian helps you find articles on your topic in library databases. You copy and paste the most interesting parts of the articles into your paper without putting those parts in quotes, but you do list the articles in your Works Cited page.
You are doing a presentation for your nutrition class and use an image of the Food Guide Pyramid you found on a government web site. You do not cite where you found the image.
A search of the DU library databases leads you to a great article on your research topic. The article's author is making a different kind of argument than you are, but one of her points applies to your paper, too. You quote a three-sentence passage from the article and summarize some of the author's other ideas. You're nervous about using this author's ideas so much, so you're very careful to cite her properly and to make it clear which ideas are yours and which came from the article.
You're not very good at grammar, and you find it difficult to proofread your own work. You ask a friend to look over your paper for you, and you specifically tell him to only correct little things like punctuation and spelling. When he gives it back to you, he's made a lot of corrections, sometimes changing around entire sentences. You read the paper over after you've edited it, and it doesn't really sound like your writing style. You hand in the paper and hope that your instructor will not notice the stylistic differences.
Most of the scenarios on this page were adapted from a plagiarism worksheet created by Ann Roselle at Phoenix College. This guide is modeled after High Point University's plagiarism research guide created by Kathy Shields.