RLCL 1004: Plagiarism

FYE information for Religion/Culture, Foreign Languages, and Philosophy majors

Is it Plagiarism

It can be difficult to avoid plagiarism if you’re not exactly sure what plagiarism is!  We all know that it is a bad idea to take someone else’s work and pass it off as your own, but plagiarism is sometimes more complicated than that.  Basically, you always want to give credit where credit is due, but determining when that is can be a complicated process.

You can read this brief (1 page) article on identifying plagiarism for hints:  https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/02/


Currently, the most popular guide to citing correctly is the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) site.  When you click on the Research and Citation link in the left-hand column, you're taken to a page about Research and Citation Resources, including detailed instructions and examples of how to use APA style, MLA style, and Chicago Manual of Style methods.

Using Sources in your paper

This 5 minute video from Hartness Library in Vermont will walk you through how to properly incorporate sources into your papers.

If you'd like a more in-depth discussion of quoting vs paraphrasing, check out the video below.

What needs to be cited

As you’ve probably figured out by this point, erring on the side of caution and citing your sources is usually the best path to follow, especially when you’re quoting directly, paraphrasing someone else’s ideas, or aren’t sure if the information that you’re using should be considered “common knowledge.”  Just as a quick refresher, watch this brief (1:05 minutes) video about what should be cited.

Common Knowledge

The Purdue Owl, a fantastic citation guide, defines “common knowledge” as information that you do not need to cite because it cannot be attributed to a specific person or group.  However, determining what counts as “common knowledge” can sometimes be very difficult.  Common knowledge can mean different things to different people, but there are a few rules of thumb that you can use to help you figure out what common knowledge means in your particular circumstances.