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Academic Integrity - Plagiarism and Citation: Home

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Academic Integrity

Knowing how to avoid plagiarism and how to cite sources are hallmarks of academic integrity. (Learn more about this topic with Credo Instruct.



What does the Ivy Tech Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities say about plagiarism?  Here is a definition of plagiarism from section IIA of the Code:

"Plagiarism : Presenting within one’s own work the ideas, representations, or words of another person without customary and proper acknowledgment of that person’s authorship is considered plagiarism. Students who are unsure of what constitutes plagiarism should consult with their instructors. Claims of ignorance will not necessarily excuse the offense."

In simpler terms, plagiarism is passing off someone else's work as your own.  For example:

  • If you borrow or buy a paper from a friend and turn it in with your name on it, that's plagiarism.
  • If you copy from the Internet or any other source and turn it without citing the source, that's plagiarism.
  • If you use ideas from a book, magazine, or website and don't indicate or document the source, that's plagiarism.
  • If you directly copy from any source and don't put the words inside quotation marks, that's plagiarism.

Intentional Plagiarism

Sometimes students plagiarize intentionally.  They run out of time to complete an assignment or they're worried about their ability to complete an assignment successfully or they get lazy, and they copy information from a source. 

Obviously, intentional plagiarism is a serious academic offense, and students who commit this type of offense face serious academic consequences.

Unintentional Plagiarism

Sometimes students plagiarize unintentionally.  They don't have a great deal of practice at paraphrasing and documenting correctly, and they make errors.

When unintentional plagiarism occurs, it can represent a learning opportunity for students -- a time to seek help from the instructor and additional information about documentation styles and how to use them appropriately.

Please note, though, that even unintentional plagiarism can result in serious academic consequences - depending on the specific context within which the plagiarism occurs.

Student Resources

PlagiarismStudent Resources for Avoiding Plagiarism

What is Citation / Documentation?

What is Citation / Documentation?

When you conduct research for a paper or speech, you will consult sources of information (books, journals, etc.) relevant to your topic. In your paper or speech, you will use some of the words and/or ideas and maybe graphics from these sources. You must tell those reading your paper or listening to your speech from which sources the words/ideas/graphics came. This is documentation.

If you do not document your sources, the reader is led to believe the ideas/words/graphics are your own. This is plagiarism.

Documentation Styles

There are many different documentation styles.  Two of the most common in academic communities are MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association).  In addition to spelling out how to format your paper, both of these styles require two things:

  • Parenthetical (MLA) or in-text (APA) citations
  • Works Cited (MLA) or References (APA) page


Parenthetical or in-text citations:
Parenthetical or in-text citations are a way of telling the reader, “This bit of information came from this particular source on my works cited or references page.”  For example:

  • MLA    

According to Sánchez-Jankowski, “youth gangs have been depicted as the trade schools for organized crime” (131).

  • APA    

According to Sánchez-Jankowski (1991), “youth gangs have been depicted as the trade schools for organized crime” (p. 131).


Works Cited or References Page:
The Works Cited or References page is a list (in alphabetical order) of all sources that the writer used.  It appears at the end of the paper.  Examples:


Works Cited

Sánchez-Jankowski, Martin. Islands in the Street: Gangs and American Urban Society. Berkley: California UP, 1991. Print.



Sánchez-Jankowski, M. (1991). Islands in the street: Gangs and American urban society. Berkley: University of California Press.


One way to avoid plagiarism is to give credit to the original authors whose IDEAS you use in your writing. There are several documentation and citation styles you can use. Check with your teacher to make sure you are using the correct documentation style.