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Writing Center: Plagiarism

This guide contains hours and contact information for the Writing Center

Did you know?

Back in 2005, the Associated Press reported that Elizabeth Paige Laurie, the granddaughter of Bud Walton (you know, the co-founder of a little company called WalMart), surrendered her Bachelor's degree to the University of Southern California after an investigation stemming from the allegations of her former roommate, Elena Martinez. Martinez admitted to ABC's "20/20" that over the course of about 3 years, Laurie had paid her $20,000 to write papers and complete assignments for her. The allegations came after the Laurie family donated $25 million to USC for the construction of a new sports arena which, at the time, was named for their daughter. According to NBC news, the University of Southern California concluded their investigation and announced the revocation of Laurie's degree after she surrendered her diploma. The sports arena has now been re-named. You can read the NBC news article or the Los Angeles Times article for more information!

The Honor Code

When you enter LaGrange College as a Freshman, you formally sign the LaGrange College Honor Code. In doing so, you promise to abide by the statutes of the honor code and "to be honest and truthful in all academic matters" (LC Honor Code, pg 10). This includes refraining from any and all misuses of another person's work or receiving unauthorized help on an assignment, among other offenses. If you plagiarize another person's work or witness another student plagiarizing another person's work without reporting the offense, you may be brought before the honor council who can then impose sanctions against the offending student(s). Please take the time to read through the Honor Code handbook to familiarize yourself with the standards you, as a student, need to uphold. For a quick look at the Honor Code and information about the Honor Council please visit the Honor Council's Webpage.

What is Plagiarism?

What is it?

To put it simply, plagiarism is misusing someone's original work by copying, re-using, or otherwise presenting the work as one's own regardless of one's intent. 

What forms does plagiarism take?

Some forms of plagiarism are:

  • Directly quoting from another person's work without giving credit to the original author.
  • Paraphrasing another person's work or ideas without giving credit to the original author
  • Having someone write a part or all of your papers for you
  • Writing a paper or a part of a paper for someone else
  • Heavily editing someone's paper to where ideas and wording no longer are the author's original ideas and content or having someone heavily edit your paper in the same manner.

What are some examples of plagiarism?

Glad you asked! Here are some examples:

  • Timmy is writing a paper on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and finds a good website with information about the Globe theater. Timmy decides to just copy and paste some of that information into his paper.

Ok, Timmy has multiple problems here. Not only should Timmy concern himself with the reputation of this webpage before trusting the information, he directly steals the information from it to put in his paper! That is plagiarism and a poor choice.

  • Donna has been up all night working on her biology paper, and the words are starting to run together in her head. She puts in the last quote from her journal article that she needs to use to support her argument, and immediately goes to bed. She turns in the paper the next day and does not realize that she did not use a citation for that quote!

Donna's sleepiness got the best of her because even though it was an accident, Donna did not give credit to the original author of that quote, and that is plagiarism regardless of whether Donna intended to plagiarize. Always double and triple check your quotes!

  • Jonathan has a busy schedule. He's at football practice every week, his anatomy and physiology class is getting harder by the day, and he's been working 30 hours a week at his part-time job lately. His Spanish paper deadline is coming up fast, and he hasn't even started it yet. His roommate, Sam, has already finished the same assignment. With all that extra money Jonathan is making at his job, he thinks about paying his roommate to go ahead and write that paper for him!

Don't do it, Jonathan! Sometimes the going gets tough and it seems like all these classes and extracurriculars are too much to deal with, but getting caught with a plagiarized paper will only make your college experience tougher. It's never worth it to plagiarize a paper!

Plagiarism on YouTube

Here is a video created by Bainbridge College about plagiarism. Don't worry, they give permission on YouTube for others to use it, but they still get credit for creating it!


Here are some tips for avoiding accidental (or maybe even purposeful?) plagiarism!

  • Always double, triple, quadruple check your in-text citations and those on your references or works cited page! Make sure all information is correct and in the correct place!
  • If in doubt whether something needs to be cited, cite it anyway or ask your professor! Better safe than sorry!
  • Professors have seen all forms of plagiarism before, and can spot it from a mile away. It's never worth it to plagiarize!
  • Always use quotations marks if it is a direct quote to avoid any confusion. No quotation marks are needed if you have paraphrased the quote, but you must ALWAYS cite both direct and in-direct quotes!

Style Guides for citing those quotes!

Need more info on how to cite those quotes correctly to avoid any plagiarism?

Here are some links to the Purdue Owl website which can provide a quick overview on how to style those works cited, reference, and bibliography pages and create accurate in-text citations. Purdue Owl only provides information for those looking to use MLA, APA, and Chicago Manual styles and only gives a general overview of each. For a more in-depth look at a particular writing style, you may find style handbooks for MLA, APA, Turabian, ACS, and more on reserve at Lewis Library. If you need to access them, just come to the circulation desk and ask for what you need!

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