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Plagiarism:  What is it?

Plagiarism occurs when you use another’s words, ideas, assertions, data or figures and do not acknowledge that you have done so.  In simple terms, plagiarism is a form of theft.

If you use the words, ideas or phrasing of another person or from published material, you must

• Use quotation marks around the words and cite the source.

• Alternatively, you may paraphrase or summarize acceptably and cite the source.

If you use charts, graphs, data sets or numerical information obtained from another person or from published material, you must also cite the source.

Whether you quote directly or paraphrase the information, you must acknowledge your sources by citing them. In this way, you have the right to use another’s words by giving that person credit for the work he or she has done.

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This guide has been adapted from one produced at MIT entitled Academic Integrity at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:  A Handbook for Students.  We are grateful for their permission to use and revise the work for students at the University of Pennsylvania.

Written by Patricia Brennecke, Lecturer in English Language Studies
Edited by Professor Margery Resnick, Chair of the Committee on Discipline, and Joanne Straggas, Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education.  Prepared with the support of Professor Robert P. Redwine, Dean for Undergraduate Education at MIT.

Adapted in Fall 2006 for use by graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania and published as the Handbook for Students, Ethics and Original Research by Professor Barbara Fuchs, Romance Languages, Dr. James B. Lok, Professor of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Linda Meiberg, graduate student and Karen Lawrence, Assistant Director of Education.

This edition edited, amended and produced by:

The University Honor Council and the
Office of Student Conduct
University of Pennsylvania
Fall 2008