Plagiarism has long been a problem in
academic circles and will, regretfully, probably always be a problem.
Too often it results from a lack of work on the plagiarizer's part--a
willful and wanton theft of intellectual property, followed by the
outrage of the plagiarizer tacking his or her name on the stolen work.
Instituitions of learning impose strict and severe penalties on
plagiarizers, from failing the plaigiarized assignment to expulsion.
Unfortunately, as well, plagiarism isn't just the purview of the lazy
and procrastinating student. Even well-known authors have been accused
(and found guilty) of this offense.
Sometimes, however, it's unintentional. Yes, plagiarism can actually
occur without intent. This occurs when the writer fails to properly
quote or cite the original source. The writer may have every honest
intention in the world to give credit where credit's due, but failure
to adhere to the proper forms of quotation and/or citation can give the
The best way to avoid this situation is to properly quote and cite
one's sources. There are several formats one may use; they vary from
academic discipline to academic discipline, even from publication to
publication. The three most commonly used in undergraduate classes are
the Modern Language
Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing
(most often just called
the MLA Handbook), the Publication
Manual of the American
APA manual) and The Chicago Manual
. These are available for purchase, but you might find
these quick guides userful as well.
Though each style manual has some variations in terms of how to quote a
source in your writing, they are all essentially the same. For the
proper ways to quote a source, please click here