Empowering, Informing, and Connecting Our College Community

Plagiarism Overview

Plagiarism (as a form of Academic Dishonesty) is extremely complicated for teachers and students alike. Faculty often assume students understand what plagiarism is — or even that students understand the brief injunctions against it on the syllabus — whereas most researchers find just the opposite to be the case.

Frequently, students are merely making developmental mistakes as they attempt to appropriate academic discourse. In defining plagiarism, the links below ask teachers significant questions: Is it plagiarism if the student does it by mistake or doesn't know better? Is plagiarism the same thing in all disciplines? How does the Internet complicate our assumptions about the ownership of text and ideas? And perhaps most important, how should we handle students when the specter of plagiarism rears its ugly head?

Writing Program Administrators suggest that the best prevention to plagiarism comes in designing assignments for students that resist the easy lifting of text or ideas from other sources by requiring students to apply the knowledge they get from sources.

Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism

Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers (Robert A. Harris)
Harris focuses here on "strategies of awareness" for teachers and students; these strategies involve establishing a "mindset" about plagiarism that both parties can understand. See also Harris's "free anti-plagiarism tips" from his book The Plagiarism Handbook at Antiplagiarism.com.
Plagiarism & Anti-Plagiarism (Heyward Ehrlich, Rutgers)
Ehrlich reminds readers, "If plagiarism is to be combated, it must be done regularly throughout the semester, not just at the end."

Links of Interest

Electronic Plagiarism Seminar (Gretchen Pearson, Le Moyne College)
Preventing Cyber-Plagiarism (Penn State)
The New Plagiarism: Seven Antidotes to Prevent Highway Robbery in an Electronic Age (Jamie McKenzie)

Resources to Share with Students
Avoiding Plagiarism (Purdue OWL)
Avoiding Plagiarism: Mastering the Art of Scholarship (UC Davis)
Biology Program Guide on Plagiarism (U of British Columbia)

Plagiarism Overview, English Department, Edmonds Community College

Draft Plagiarism Statement 

Suggestions for Minimizing Plagiarism

Interventions and Disciplinary Actions

Recommended Steps:

Note: Instructors are advised to contact the VPSS, even for minor cases that don’t require official disciplinary action. The instructor can ask the VPSS only to record the incident. However, if the student is already in the disciplinary database, the VPSS can monitor any patterns of academic dishonesty that might develop.

What Happens When the Vice President for Student Services (VPSS) Must Take Disciplinary Steps?



This letter will serve as official notification following our meeting yesterday in my office. We met to discuss your involvement in a plagiarism incident in your History xx class.

I appreciate the fact that you readily admitted that you committed plagiarism however; academic dishonesty is a serious violation of the Guidelines for Student Conduct as published in the Students Rights and Responsibilities Code. Under the Washington Administrative Code, Chapter 132Y-125-004, subsection 2, you are in violation of subsection (a) Dishonesty, including but not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the college.

Therefore, this letter will serve as an official reprimand and as a warning to you that any further incidents of this kind may result in additional disciplinary action against you.

If you wish to appeal this disciplinary action, you may do so by stating your appeal in writing and submitting it within ten days of the above date to the college president.

A copy of this letter will remain in the college’s confidential file for two years, at which time, barring any further incidents, it will be destroyed. This letter is not considered part of your permanent record at the college.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this letter, please contact me at 425.640.1668 or stop by my office for an appointment.

Vice President for Student Services


(2009: Used and adapted, with permission, from information received at the University of Washington-Bothell Academic Writing Center.)

Students are expected to be familiar with the Student Rights and Responsibilities, Guidelines for Student Conduct, and Disciplinary Action Procedures provided by the Office of Student Life and printed in the student handbook. Students who violate rules of academic misconduct and dishonesty are subject to disciplinary sanctions, including suspension and dismissal.
Academic misconduct and dishonesty includes, but is not limited to: Cheating, Fabrication, Facilitation, and Plagiarism.

Cheating means

Fabrication means

Facilitation means

Plagiarism means

Ways to Avoid Plagiarism:

Consequences for Plagiarism: At Edmonds CC, the consequences for any form of plagiarism include: denial of credit for the assignment, and/or denial of credit for the course, and/or notification of the Vice President for Student Services, and/or sanctions imposed (including suspension and/or dismissal from the college) by the Vice President for Student Services as he/she deems appropriate according to the policies and procedures of the college.

When in doubt, DON’T!

2009: Used and adapted, with permission, from information received at the University of Washington-Bothell Academic Writing Center.