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Academic Standards: Plagiarism Examples

Understanding Academic Standards for Writing and Citing Sources


  • Buying a paper.

  • Copying a paper.

  • Hiring someone to write a paper.

  • Copying and pasting paragraphs from another work without citing that work.

  • Copying from another work and making changes to make it appear to be your own.

These examples are serious cheating and when detected, will generally result in severe consequences (which can include dismissal from your program).

Misuse of Sources (Accidental Plagiarism) & How to Avoid It

  • Bad paraphrase that borrows too much from the original

    • Carefully read paraphrases to make sure that you don't have too many words or phrases from the original.
    • Visit Purdue's Online Writing Lab and complete the Paraphrase Exercise for help improving your paraphrasing skills, including making sure that you keep the author's meaning while using your own words.
    • Consider summarizing rather than paraphrasing.
    • Consider quoting instead of paraphrasing.
  • Missing citations

    • Include citation information each time you add words or ideas from others to your notes or drafts.
    • Include an in-text citation or footnote every time you use an idea, paraphrase, or quotations from a source. (Including it in the reference list, works cited, or bibliography is not enough.)
  • Not enough original content.

    • Carefully read your paper and make sure that most of the words are your own.
    • Even in writing literature reviews that focus on summarizing the work of others, make sure that you make thoughtful decisions about what to include and convey that decision making process in the paper.

These examples are serious errors in academic writing and fall within the Oklahoma City University definition of academic dishonesty and may result in sanctions (including failing grades and classes) under that policy.

OCU Definitions

Oklahoma City University's Academic Honesty Policy is found on page 31 of the 2015-2016 Graduate and Undergraduate Catalogs. It includes:

"Students are advised that cheating and plagiarism are not tolerated. The university expects all students to maintain a high standard of ethics in their academic activities. In this context, forms of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to, cheating on tests, examinations or other class/laboratory work; involvement in plagiarism (the appropriation of another’s work and/or the unacknowledged incorporation of that work in one’s own); collusion (the unauthorized collaboration with another person); misrepresentation of actions; and falsifying information."