Plagiarism Defined

Although there are many forms and variations of plagiarism and academic dishonesty, in general, the English Program, in agreement with the University of West Georgia's policy on academic dishonesty , defines plagiarism as using the words and/or ideas of another without properly giving credit to the source(s).

It should be noted that unintentional plagiarism is plagiarism nonetheless.

In addition to obvious methods of plagiarism such as intentionally representing someone else's words as one's own, other acts such as "making up" sources, turning in work done in fulfillment of another course, or receiving excessive assistance are all forms of academic dishonesty, and subject to the penalties for plagiarism. 

Excessive Collaboration

Excessive Collaboration may be a good idea gone bad; or more correctly, perhaps it is a good idea merely misused. Students collaborate excessively when the end result of all the idea swapping, sharing, brainstorming, and conferring has been to obliterate one student’s voice and replace it with that of another. Student writers collaborate excessively when they abandon, wittingly or unwittingly, their own words and adopt, claiming them as their own, the ideas or exact phrasing of their collaborator.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism can result when students are unaware of the proper methods of acknowledging and documenting sources. To help avoid unintentional plagiarism, please take a look at the following resources:

Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing
Here you will find instructions for making effective use of source material as well as the definitions of and distinctions between quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing, courtesy of the Purdue University online Writing Lab.
Avoiding Plagiarism: This guide, also brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing Lab, explains the "how to's" of avoiding plagiarism.

Plagiarism Module: This online module, through the University of Connecticut, provides helpful information concerning plagiarism (how to avoid it, how to recognize it, etc.). It also contains activities that will allow you to practice the skills taught within the module.

Plagiarism PowerPoint: This PowerPoint provides some basic information about plagiarism, including definitions, classifications, and links to websites that can help in avoiding and identifying plagiarism.

Plagiarism Penalties

Each incidence of plagiarism is subject to review and consideration by the instructor, and is subject to a range of penalties including but not limited to failing the assignment, failing the course, and referral to the disciplinary review board (which may ultimately result in the expulsion, suspension, or disciplinary removal of the student from the university).

In order to facilitate the prevention and detection of plagiarism, the University of West Georgia maintains records of plagiarized assignments and those who prepare and/or submit them.