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Policies | Plagiarism

Handbook: Academic Honesty, Plagiarism, and the Honor System

I: The Honor System

II: Plagiarism – Definitions

III: Plagiarism and the Internet

IV: Exercises
A. Identifying Plagiarism
B. Common Knowledge
C. Acceptable vs. Unacceptable Paraphrase

A. Resources on Campus
B. Useful Online Sources
C. A Guide to Academic Disciplines at Trinity and their Style Sheets

This Handbook provides guidance and illustrations for students to learn more about plagiarism and how to uphold Trinity’s Academic Honesty Policy. Nothing in this document should be construed as limiting Trinity’s ability to make a finding of plagiarism or academic dishonesty in any particular case. The material in this Handbook is for illustration only, and not intended to imply that all instances of plagiarism, cheating or academic dishonesty are illustrated here. Nor does this Handbook overrule the Academic Honesty Policy itself. The Academic Honesty Policy prevails as the governing rule in any case in which the information in this Handbook appears to conflict with any portion of the policy.

The Honor System

When you joined the Trinity community, you made a commitment to the Honor System, which has informed life at Trinity since 1913. The Honor Code was developed by Trinity students to reflect values that are fundamental to the university’s mission: the centrality of individual integrity in all aspects of life; the importance of learning for its own sake; and the value of learning within a community.

The students who adopted Trinity’s Honor Code understood two things:

First, they recognized that learning is a communal effort. Without a willingness on the part of professors and students to think carefully and share their own ideas, learning can never occur. But sharing ideas requires a commitment to honesty and integrity. Before they are willing to share their ideas, people need to know that they will receive credit for the work they have done. Without this assurance, the whole community that makes learning possible will break down. So, just as honesty is at the heart of family relationships, academic integrity is at the heart of the relationships that create a university community. Plagiarism and other forms of cheating harm the community by breaking down the trust on which it is founded.

Second, they realized that an education cannot be stolen; it can only be earned through individual effort. A degree is much more than a credential; it is evidence of education. The process of educating oneself requires struggling through learning challenges and plateaus in a way that strengthens the mind, heart and character of the learner. Plagiarism reduces this noble process to a cynical exercise in deception in which the cheater denies him- or herself an education.

For undergraduates, your commitment to the values that the Honor Code represents is formalized during the First Year Medal Ceremony, when students recite the Honor Pledge and sign the Honor Book. For graduate students, your matriculation at Trinity marked your commitment to that same Honor Code. In either case, as a student of Trinity, you have pledged yourself to the standards of academic and personal honesty that the Honor System represents.

As a student at Trinity, whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student, full- or part-time, you are obligated to maintain the highest level of intellectual integrity in your academic research and writing. Trinity’s Academic Honesty Policy specifies what the standards for academic integrity are at Trinity. The purpose of this handbook is to provide a brief overview of those standards, and how they apply to your work. Ultimately, the responsibility for learning and applying the entire body and breadth of those standards is yours.


At Trinity, we acknowledge your sincere commitment to the Honor System. Therefore, this manual is primarily concerned with illustrating less obvious forms of plagiarism – practices that result in unintentional plagiarism.

Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else’s ideas, words, research, or other intellectual or artistic work, and presenting them as if they were your own. Sometimes, identifying an act of plagiarism is easy. The following are all obvious instances of plagiarism:

  • downloading or purchasing a paper from the internet;
  • using whole paragraphs from a book, article, or online source without quotation marks and attribution;
  • submitting a research report written by a friend as your own work;
  • submitting as your own work a sculpture or a poem created by someone else.

All colleges and universities consider plagiarism a grave academic offense, and impose serious penalties on students who plagiarize. (Trinity’s policy.) It is important to keep in mind that unintentional plagiarism is still plagiarism; whatever your intention, you are subject to the University’s penalties for plagiarism. Therefore, it is essential that you learn to identify and avoid all forms of plagiarism. The exercises and quizzes in this handbook will help you identify gaps in your understanding of plagiarism and clarify “gray” areas.

The Rules in Brief:

If . . . .
Then . . .
The information is common knowledge
You do not need a citation
The words are your own
The idea is your own
You do not need a citation
The words are someone else’s
Place them in quotation marks
Include a citation
The words are your own
The idea is someone else’s
Acknowledge the author of the idea by
referring to him/her in the text
Include a citation

Plagiarism and the Internet

The internet is an extremely valuable tool for research; however, it also provides unique opportunities for unintentional plagiarism.

  • First, the internet seems less formal as a source of information than books and journals. Anyone can post information on the internet; websites appear and disappear with alarming speed; and internet files are downloaded and shared with ease. However, it is important to realize that information on the web must be cited in the same way as any other source of information; the fact that it is easy to access does not mean that it is “common knowledge.”
  • Second, the ease with which pictures and text can be accessed on the internet and pasted directly and effortlessly into your own paper, makes it especially easy to make sloppy mistakes; if you are not diligent about enclosing direct quotes in quotation marks and recording the URL as you import information into your document, it is easy to lose track of where your own words end and those of your source begin.

Sloppy mistakes occur most frequently when people are 1) working when they are tired;
2) rushing to meet deadlines; and 3) multitasking. All three of these conditions apply to most university students. It is therefore vital that you develop techniques that will prevent careless errors that may result in unintentional plagiarism.

The following suggestions will help you avoid unintentional internet plagiarism:

  • Download information from the internet into a separate document, clearly labeled with the title of the document, the title of the website, the author, and the URL of the website. As you use this information in your paper, make sure you follow the rules for quotation and citation as you would for any other source.
  • Download text from the internet in a different color, typeface, or font than you are using for your own writing. This will let you see at a glance which parts of the text are yours, and which belong to the source. If you use this technique, you will also need to record the author, the title of the document, the title of the website, and the URL of the website to use in your citations. (Of course, the final version of the paper, which will indicate quotations and citations, should be in a uniform color, typeface, and font).
  • Remember that internet materials are updated frequently. Sites move, are renamed, and disappear altogether. You should therefore record all the pertinent bibliographic information from a website as you access it, and include the access date in your citations.

Practice Exercises

A: Identifying Plagiarism

Each academic discipline has its own conventions for acknowledging the work of others; Appendix B lists the citation styles used by each of the disciplines you might encounter at Trinity. These differences in citation format, while important, are largely mechanical. However, all academic disciplines require that you acknowledge the sources of your words, ideas, graphs, tables, etc. Failure to do so, whatever the discipline, is plagiarism.

The following scenarios represent situations which may or may not constitute plagiarism. Read each scenario carefully, and decide: is this plagiarism? If the incident is plagiarism, why? If not, why not? This exercise will be most useful to you if you think about it carefully before viewing the answers.

  1. A student uses an internet article in researching her paper. She finds several of the ideas in the article useful, and develops them in her own paper. Since she does not quote from the text, she does not cite it in her paper, but she does put the reference in the bibliography. Answer.
  2. In researching a paper on Mary Kingsley, a student discovers that Kingsley was born in Islington in 1862. She didn’t know this fact previously. However, every article she reads on Kingsley reports the same fact. She does not acknowledge the source of this information with a citation. Answer.
  3. You are taking a class that a friend has already taken. She lets you read her paper in order to get some ideas, and tells you to use any parts of the paper you find useful. You incorporate some of her paragraphs into your paper without citation. Answer.
  4. A friend offers to let you read his paper in order to get some ideas, and tells you to use any parts of the paper you find useful. You incorporate one of his paragraphs into your paper, and you are careful to include all of the citations from his paper in your footnotes, so that the reader will be able to find the original source of the information. Answer.
  5. A student finds a picture on the web that perfectly illustrates a point she wants to make in her paper. She downloads the picture, but does not use the website’s analysis; in addition, she writes her own caption for the picture. Since the analysis and caption are her own, she does not include a citation for the picture. Answer.
  6. A student uses a data set collected by his professor in his analysis of economic trends. Since he develops his own analysis, and since his professor has not published the data, he does not include a citation for the data set. Answer.
  7. You find an interesting analysis of Kant’s categorical imperative in a book on 18th century philosophers. You do not quote directly from the text, but you mention the author of the book as the source for this idea, and include a citation at the end of the paragraph. Answer.
  8. A student finds some interesting information on a website that is not under copyright. She downloads several paragraphs and incorporates them into her paper, but doesn’t cite them, because they are in the public domain. Answer.
  9. You are discussing your term paper with your professor. She gives you an interesting idea about how you might interpret some of the material you have been studying. Since the discussion was informal, and does not pertain to an area in which your professor intends you publish, you incorporate her suggestions without attribution. Answer.
  10. You fine a very interesting quote from Gregor Mendel’s “Experimentation in Plant Hybridization” in a book about Mendel’s life. In your paper, you include the quote, and cite Mendel’s paper as the source. Answer.

Identifying Plagiarism: Answers and Discussion

  1. This is plagiarism. Although the student was correct to cite the article in her bibliography, this is not enough. If she uses the ideas in her paper, she needs to acknowledge the source of those ideas in the paper itself. One way to do this is to acknowledge the source of the idea directly (i.e., “As Jones has pointed out, . . . .”) Even with this reference, the paper should also include a citation. Depending on your discipline, this could be an in-text citation or a footnote or endnote. Back to question.
  2. This is not plagiarism. Although the student didn’t know this fact before, it is an easily established fact that is well known to anyone who has written on Kingsley. Since it is undisputed and well known, it would fall into the category of “common knowledge,” and does not need to be cited. Back to question.
  3. This is plagiarism. The fact that your friend has given you permission to use her paper is not relevant; if you are presenting work that someone else has done as your own, it is still plagiarism. At Trinity, your friend would also be guilty of violating the Honor Code by helping you to plagiarize. Back to question.
  4. This example is trickier – but it’s still plagiarism. Even if you include the citations, presenting someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Once again, your friend would be also in violation of the Honor Code. Back to question.
  5. It depends. If the image is well-known (i.e., a picture of the Mona Lisa), it can be considered common knowledge, and therefore would not need a citation. However, if the image is the product of another individual’s artistic or intellectual work (i.e., a personal photograph, even of a well-known artifact, like Chartres Cathedral; or a graph or chart that forms part of another person’s paper or research) it would be considered plagiarism. In general, if the image represents the artistic or intellectual work of another person, it should be cited. Back to question.
  6. This is plagiarism. Even though the student did his own analysis, the material he is working with was generated by someone else, and that work should be acknowledged. The fact that the data have not been published is irrelevant; it is still someone else’s work, and needs to be cited. Nor does it matter that the data set was developed by the student’s professor; professional norms require that all sources be acknowledged. Back to question.
  7. This is the appropriate way to avoid plagiarism. Even though you have not quoted directly from the text, you should mention the source of the idea in the body of your paper, and cite the source. Back to question.
  8. This is plagiarism. It is irrelevant that the material you are using is in the public domain, or that it is not protected by copyright. If it is not your work, you must acknowledge its source. Back to question.
  9. It is important to recognize the intellectual work of others. Your professor’s ideas should be acknowledged, even if she has not written on the subject, and does not intend to do so. The same would hold true if the idea came from a fellow student or friend. Back to question.
  10. This is plagiarism. Even though you are acknowledging the source of the quotation, you have failed to acknowledge the source of your own information – the biography of Mendel. Citing only Mendel’s paper would indicate to your reader that you had read the paper itself, whereas you have, in fact, been relying on someone else’s research. The correct way to avoid plagiarism in this instance would be to cite the original source of the quote (Mendel’s “Experiments in Plant Hybridization”) and your source for the quote (“quoted in . . . .”). Back to question.

Note: Some of these scenarios appear in Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 4th ed. (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2002), 71-2, where you will also find a fuller discussion of plagiarism. For additional practice, see the “Citation Quiz” and “Using Sources Quiz” in Robert A. Harris, The Plagiarism Handbook, (Los Angeles: Pyrczak Publishing 2001), 143-6.

B: Common Knowledge

If you found some of the questions in the previous exercise confusing, you are not alone. Many people who are sure they know what plagiarism is are less confident when faced with specific examples that seem to fall into gray areas. One of the most confusing issues for many students is the question of what constitutes “common knowledge.”

Everyone knows that you do not need to provide a citation for “common knowledge.” But what is common knowledge? As example #2 in the previous exercise illustrates, a fact that may be commonly known by researchers in the field may be new to you. Conversely, after researching a paper for several weeks, you may know some things very well that would not be recognized as common knowledge. So, how do you know when to include a citation?

The Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab suggests three criteria for identifying something as common knowledge:

“Material is probably common knowledge if . . .

  • You find the same information undocumented in at least five other sources
  • You think it is information that your readers will already know
  • You think a person could easily find the information with general reference sources”

Using these definitions, consider the following scenarios, and decide whether or not you need to include a citation. This exercise will be most useful to you if you think about it carefully before turning to the answer key on the back:

  1. In your paper for your genetics class, you note that humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. You didn’t know this before you took the course, but decide not to provide a citation for this information, since all biology textbooks contain this information. Answer.
  2. You find a really good journal article about the psychology of adolescent girls with eating disorders. You use some of the ideas, but don’t quote directly. Since nearly every book and article you looked at referred to this article, you don’t cite it, because it is common knowledge. Answer.
  3. You decide to introduce your paper on Jane Austen with a quote from Northanger Abbey. Since your professor will know where the quote came from, you don’t include a citation. Answer.
  4. You find some interesting information on fractals on the web. You don’t cite it, because material on the web is considered common knowledge. Answer.
  5. The proverb “The early bird catches the worm” seems particularly apropos to the subject of your paper, so you decide to quote it. You go the library and find a book of proverbs so that you can provide a citation. Answer.

Common Knowledge: Answers and Discussion

  1. The reasoning here is correct; you do not have to provide a citation for information that appears in all textbooks on the subject, even if the information is new to you. Back to question.
  2. This would be plagiarism. The fact that most of the books or articles you read referred to this particular article merely illustrates that it is an important and well-regarded piece of work. It does not, however, make the material in the article “common knowledge.” The article should therefore be cited in your paper wherever you refer to ideas it contains, even if you don’t quote from it directly. It should also be included in your bibliography. Back to question.
  3. The quotation from Northanger Abbey might be well-known to the professor and everyone else in the class; however, it is still not common knowledge, and should therefore be cited. Back to question.
  4. This would be plagiarism. Information on the web, while easily accessible and free, is not common knowledge; ideas and words taken from a website need to be cited like any other source. Back to question.
  5. You’re going to a lot of unnecessary work. A proverb is a form of common knowledge, and does not need to be cited. Back to question.

Acceptable vs. Unacceptable Paraphrase

One source of inadvertent plagiarism is inappropriate paraphrasing. Most students know that when you take the exact words from a source, you need to indicate that by including the words in quotation marks, and providing a citation. However, many are unsure about how and when to cite their sources when they are not using the exact words, or paraphrasing.

If you are paraphrasing, you need to do the following in order to avoid plagiarism:

  • Make sure that you are using your own words and style; changing a few words, or rearranging the order of the text, is not sufficient.
  • Even if all the words are your own, you must still acknowledge the source of your ideas. One way to do that is to introduce the material by acknowledging the source as part of your own text (i.e., “According to Applegarth, . . .”). In addition, you must include a citation for the source (i.e., James Applegarth, Anatomy for Artists, Fly-By-Night Press, 2004, 73).

The following examples illustrate some of the most common problems with paraphrasing. The original text is provided below; five paraphrases follow on the next two pages. Decide whether each paraphrase is successful or not successful, and be prepared to give reasons why or why not. This exercise will be most useful to you if you think about it carefully before turning to the answer key the follows the paraphrases:

(This exercise is modeled on “Acceptable Use Versus Plagiarism Exercise” in Robert A. Harris, The Plagiarism Handbook, (Los Angeles: Pyrczak Publishing 2001, 148-50.)

Original Text (from Benjamin Keen, “The Legacy of Bartoloméé de las Casas,” Ibero-Americana Pragensia, (Prague), vol. 11 (1977) 5 7-67. [online]

Scholars have long debated whether medieval or Renaissance influences were decisive in the formation of Las Casas’s thought…. To be sure, Las Casas had an immense fund of classical and medieval learning and was a master of the Scholastic method of disputation. . . Certainly Las Casas was a spiritual son of Thomas Aquinas, the Church Fathers, and Aristotle … But Las Casas was also a child of the Renaissance. This was the Las Casas who based his argument for the rationality and equal capacity of the Indians above all on observation and experience, who offered an environmentalist interpretation of cultural differences, and who regarded with scientific detachment such deviations from European norms of conduct as human sacrifice and ritual cannibalism.

Acceptable vs. Unacceptable Paraphrase: Sample Paraphrases

Paraphrase 1:

Academics have argued about whether medieval or Renaissance thinking was most important in Las Casas’s thought. He certainly had a great deal of classical and medieval learning, and had mastered scholastic disputation. He was also the child of Aquinas, the fathers of the church, and Aristotle. But he was also influenced by the Renaissance. He argued that the Indians were rational and equally capable from his observations and experiences. He interpreted cultural differences as deviations from the European norms. Answer.
Paraphrase 2:

Las Casas’s thought is both medieval and influenced by the Renaissance. Benjamin Keen says that Las Casas “had an immense fund of classical and medieval learning.”1 However, although he was a spiritual son of Thomas Aquinas, the Church Fathers, and Aristotle, he also was a child of the Renaissance. He based his argument for “the rationality and equal capacity of the Indians”2 on observation and experience, and was able to offer an environmentalist interpretation of cultural differences such as human sacrifice and ritual cannibalism.
1 Benjamin Keen, “The Legacy of Bartoloméé de las Casas,” Ibero-Americana Pragensia, (Prague), vol. 11 (1977) 57-67. [online]

2 Ibid.


Paraphrase 3:

Students of Las Casas’s works have identified both medieval and Renaissance ideas in his thinking. Benjamin Keen, for example, has noted that the ideas of Aquinas, the Church Fathers, and Aristotle can all be found in Las Casas’ thinking. He also notes, however, that Las Casas relied on his own experiences, rather than on the authority of earlier thinkers, to make his arguments supporting the rationality of the Indians. In this, and in his ability to describe practices like cannibalism and human sacrifice without judging them by the values of his own culture, he demonstrates, according to Keen, an intellectual approach more commonly associated with the Renaissance.1

1Benjamin Keen, “The Legacy of Bartoloméé de las Casas,” Ibero-Americana Pragensia, (Prague), vol. 11 (1977) 57-67. [online]


Paraphrase 4:

In his article “The Legacy of Bartoloméé de las Casas,” Benjamin Keen argues that Las Casas’s thought reflects both medieval and Renaissance influences. He had an immense fund of medieval and classical learning, and was a child of Thomas Aquinas, the Church Fathers, and Aristotle, but was also influenced by the Renaissance. He based his arguments for Indian rationality and equal capacity on experience and observation, and saw cultural differences as something caused by the environment. He could regard deviations from European norms, like human sacrifice and ritual cannibalism, with scientific detachment.1

1 Benjamin Keen, “The Legacy of Bartoloméé de las Casas,” Ibero-Americana Pragensia, (Prague), vol. 11 (1977) 57-67. [online]


Paraphrase 5:

In his article “The Legacy of Bartoloméé de las Casas,” Benjamin Keen argues that Las Casas’s thinking reflects both the heritage of the Middle Ages and the new ways of thinking that were characteristic of the Renaissance. He notes that while Las Casas “had an immense fund of classical and medieval learning,” his reliance on experience, rather than authority, in making his argument that the Indians were rational beings, and his ability to describe practices such as cannibalism and human sacrifice with “scientific detachment,” mark him as “a child of the Renaissance.”1

1 Benjamin Keen, “The Legacy of Bartoloméé de las Casas,” Ibero-Americana Pragensia, (Prague), vol. 11 (1977) 57-67. [online]


Acceptable vs. Unacceptable Paraphrase: Answers and Discussion

Paraphrase 1: This paraphrase is unacceptable and would be considered plagiarism.

First, the writer has not acknowledged the source of her information. Even though she does not quote directly, the source of her information must be acknowledged.

Second, although the words and phrases have been altered, the paraphrase is too similar to the original to be considered the writer’s own work.

The writer has apparently used a thesaurus to find synonyms for several words (i.e., “scholars” have become “academics”; “influences” has become “thinking”; “son” has become “child”; etc.). In addition, she has abbreviated some phrases (i.e., “the Scholastic method of disputation” has become “scholastic disputation”). However, when placed side be side, it is clear that the sentence structure of the two texts is the same:

Original: “Scholars have long debated whether medieval or Renaissance influences were decisive in the formation of Las Casas’s thought.”

Paraphrase: “Academics have argued about whether medieval or Renaissance thinking was most important in Las Casas’ thought.”

Moreover, the content and the argument of the paraphrase are the same as the original.

In short, the paraphrase differs from the original in only very superficial ways; the new paragraph is not significantly different from the original in either form or substance.

Back to question.
Paraphrase 2: This paraphrase is unacceptable and would be considered plagiarism.

At first glance, this would appear to be an acceptable paraphrase. It contains direct quotations, which are indicated by quotation marks, and is appropriately cited with complete and accurate footnotes. However, this paraphrase is still unacceptable, since sentences and phrases (i.e., “a spiritual son of Thomas Aquinas, the Church Fathers, and Aristotle”; “an environmental interpretation of cultural differences”; etc.) have been taken directly from the original, without quotation marks to indicate that they are not the writer’s own words.

Back to question.

Paraphrase 3: This is an acceptable paraphrase.

• The writer of this paraphrase has thought about what the source says and absorbed it. Having understood the content of the original, she has expressed it in her own words, relaying to the reader her understanding of what Keen has said.

• Even though she has used no direct quotations, the author has indicated the source of her information by using phrases such as “Benjamin Keen has noted” and “according to Keen.”

• In addition, she has included a citation indicating the exact source of her information (the website on which she found Keen’s article).

Back to question.

Paraphrase 4: This paraphrase is unacceptable, and would be considered plagiarism.

Although the writer cites her source, and notes in her text that the argument of this paragraph was suggested by Benjamin Keen, the paraphrase contains phrases (i.e., “an immense fund of medieval and classical learning” and “deviations from European norms”) which are taken word for word from the original text. These quotations are not enclosed in quotation marks, leaving the impression that they are the words of the essay writer, although they are, in fact, Keen’s words. In consequence, this paraphrase is not successful, and the writer of this paragraph would be guilty of plagiarism.

Back to question.

Paraphrase 5: This is an acceptable paraphrase.

  • The writer has assimilated the information in the original source, and has discussed
    its content in her own words.
  • The writer has give credit to Keen for the ideas taken from his article by referencing him in her own text (i.e., “Benjamin Keen argues” and “he notes”).
  • Where the writer has used the exact words of the original, she has indicated this by
    enclosing them in quotation marks.
  • The writer has indicated her source by providing a complete citation to Keen’s

Back to question.

Appendix A: Resources on Campus

In addition to this handbook and your professors, there are a number of resources on campus that you can turn to for additional information regarding plagiarism and how to avoid it.

The Writing Center:

What we do:

• Interpret your instructor’s comments
• Help you get started and to find a topic for writing
• Teach you strategies to help you develop and expand your idea
• Help you with reading of your text or research
• Work with you to organize your paper
• Act as second reader to give you feedback
• Help you to revise
• Help you to spot and fix your grammatical errors

We also have writing workshops, a website (click on “handouts” link), and flyers in a stand outside our door, Science 115.

The Director, (202-884-9319) will meet with you once during the semester if you want to talk about your writing problems or goals.

How we work:

• Scheduled hour-long appointments (202-884-9118)
• Drop-ins for quick questions or to see if an appointment has opened up
• Consultation slips that you co-write with the Peer Consultant. You choose whether to send to your professor

(This section was contributed by Dr. Catherine Carey)

The Sister Helen Sheehan Library

The library staff offers research workshops; check the website for dates.

Appendix B: Useful Online Sources

To supplement your knowledge, Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) handout, “Avoiding Plagiarism“, can be accessed online.

It provides:

  • definitions of plagiarism
  • information on when to provide documentation
  • advice on how to conduct research in a way that minimizes your chances of committing inadvertent plagiarism
  • ways to identify “common knowledge,” and
  • a short quiz to test your understanding.

Other useful sources include:

“How to Avoid Unintentional Plagiarism,” Drew University

This site provides examples of plagiarism and information on how to paraphrase and cite properly in order to avoid plagiarism

“Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It,” Indiana University Bloomington

This site gives supplies a foundation to those looking to recognize and avoid plagiarism, using crisp and concise language and simple instructions.


“What is Plagiarism?” research resources

This site provides definitions of plagiarism, examples of different types of plagiarism and information on plagiarism and the internet. If you follow the link for “preventing plagiarism” (or go directly to this website and click on “student plagiarism prevention,” you will find lots of information about how to organize your research and take notes effectively so as to avoid unintentional plagiarism during the research/writing process.

“What is Plagiarism?” University of Guelph

This site describes different types of plagiarism and teaches you how to avoid it by paraphrasing and citing appropriately. It also includes interactive quizzes where you can test your understanding of plagiarism, citation, and summarizing.

Appendix C: A Guide to Academic Disciplines at Trinity and Their Style Sheets

All of your professors, whatever their field, share the same expectation: that the work you submit will be properly documented, so that you acknowledge the sources of your words, ideas, illustrations, graphs, maps, etc. However, the various academic disciplines follow different conventions when documenting sources. Some use in-text citations, while others use footnotes or endnotes. Papers in English use the MLA style sheet, while historians and art historians prefer The Chicago Manual of Style and social scientists use the APA citation format. The differences in these citation styles are largely mechanical, but it is important to use the correct citation format when you are writing a paper in a particular discipline. The list that follows indicates which style sheet you should use when writing papers in the various disciplines you might study at Trinity.

APA (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association)

Political Science
Sociology (Sociology sometimes uses the ASA style sheet; ask your professor)

Chicago (The Chicago Manual of Style)

Art History
Religious Studies and Theology

MLA (MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers)


Citation styles used in the sciences (biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, mathematics, physics) vary; each scholarly journal has its own style of documentation. When writing a paper in one these disciplines, you should ask your professor how they would like you to document your sources.

For questions about Trinity policies, please contact the Academic Affairs, Human Resources, or President's Office as appropriate.



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