Information on Academic Honesty/Plagiarism

What is plagiarism?

The Sociology Department adheres to University of Washington policies regarding Academic Dishonesty, which includes plagiarism.  Plagiarism in the use of ideas, words, or other work that is not your own without formal acknowledgment of the source.  This certainly includes obvious forms of cheating, such as submitting writing done by another person or copying text from a book or website and representing it as your own.  However, it also includes less egregious methods, such as paraphrasing work without citing the source, using ideas and arguments without attributing them to the source, and improper, misleading, or incomplete citation.  Plagiarism need not be intentional, and "I didn't know" is not a defense.

What are the consequences?

The consequences of plagiarism are elaborated in UW's policies on academic misconduct. These include disciplinary actions such as probation, suspension, and dismissal of the student.

How can I avoid plagiarism?

When in doubt, cite!  If you are unsure about what constitutes plagiarism in a specific instance or on a given assignment, consult your instructor or teaching assistant. The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue has a helpful page (with links to exercises) called "Is it Plagiarism Yet?"  University of North Carolina's writing center also offers a comprehensive handout on plagiarism

Need help with proper citation?

Most sociologists use the ASA Style Guide of the American Sociological Association. The guide is available in our libraries, and Buffalo State has a longer online guide to ASA style.  Finally, some professors only require that you use an appropriate and consistent style of citation, in which case you can refer to a complete online listing of other Citation and Writing Guides  from UW libraries.