Recognizing & Avoiding Plagiarism

What is Plagiarism?

Many people think of plagiarism as the simple copying of someone else’s words with the intent of passing them off as one’s own. While that is certainly a type of plagiarism, it is by no means the definition of it.

Plagiarism is a kind of intellectual theft, but rather than being a black-and-white issue, plagiarism comes in various shades of gray. Instances of plagiarism can range from the accidental misuse of a punctuation mark to the willful purchasing of a prepared essay – all instances of plagiarism, however, are in violation of the honor system.

What Plagiarism Looks Like

We designed this tutorial to expose you to what plagiarism looks like in various contexts so you can use sources more responsibly in your own writing.

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The WFU Honor System

The honesty, trustworthiness, and personal integrity of each student are integral to the life and purposes of the Wake Forest community. This statement is embodied in one of our oldest traditions, and that is the honor system (or honor code, as some call it). When you signed your application for admission to Wake Forest, you agreed to live by the honor system at Wake Forest. In specific terms that means that you and every other student have agreed not to deceive (lie to) any member of the community, not to steal from one another, not to cheat on academic work, not to plagiarize academic work, and not to engage in any other forms of academic misconduct. It means that we can trust each other, and that we willingly accept responsibility for our own conduct and activities. This is a tradition that goes back to the founding of Wake Forest, and with your participation, it continues to be a cornerstone of our community and our interactions with one another.

—From the Wake Forest University Student Handbook, Fall 2012/Spring 2013, p. 9 (emphasis added)