Defining Plagiarism

Information Literacy Module V: Preparing to Use Information Ethically

According to the Muskegon Community College Student Handbook, plagiarism is “the use of another’s words or ideas without permission or acknowledgment,” but what does this mean to your research project? “Permission” refers to copyright protection, which we’ll discuss later in this module. “Acknowledgment” refers to citation and documentation guidelines required by your field of study or by your specific instructor. Common styles include Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), and Chicago. Failure to cite and document researched information is considered plagiarism, and can range from blatant dishonesty, like downloading an essay and turning it in as your own, to carelessness, like summarizing information from a source and failing to cite it.

Guiding Your Research
Share your experience with the concept of plagiarism. Have you heard of it? What do you know about it? Give an example of how someone might plagiarize when trying to complete the research assignment you’re working on now.


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