Appendix I—Plagiarism


The Honor Code applies to all aspects of a student’s academic life. This means that all tests, quizzes, examinations, and assigned written or oral work of any kind is expected to be the work of the student alone (unless otherwise assigned or approved) and that failure to observe this requirement shall be considered a violation of the Honor Code. The Honor Code prohibits the giving or receiving of information to or from students who write the test at another time.

To forestall unintentional violations of academic integrity so far as possible, the concept of plagiarism needs some discussion and definition here.

Plagiarism of any sort involves presenting someone else’s intellectual output as one’s own. One kind consists in unauthorized collaboration on an assignment. Discussing and studying together are legitimate and desirable. But joint efforts should not extend to planning and writing something together that is supposed to show one’s individual grasp of the matter at hand (unless the assignment specifically requires such collaboration).

Another kind of plagiarism consists in using someone else’s work (in whole or in part) in a test, a paper, a lab report, or some other context where one is expected to be doing independent work. The most obvious form is to quote someone else’s exact words (or use data, or a diagram, or a musical score, etc.) without showing that the material is borrowed. But it is also plagiarism to rewrite (paraphrase) someone else’s ideas, or follow someone else’s plan of development, or present someone else’s argument, without acknowledging the source; changing the wording does not cancel the debt. Of course, matters of common knowledge need not be credited to a source. To be safe, however, one should not assume anything is common knowledge unless one has seen it mentioned in print more than once without a reference to some other source of information.

The usual form for showing such debts is a footnote, giving at least the name of the author, the title of the work, and the exact page. (Customs governing what should be included in the note vary somewhat from one subject field to another; the departments of instruction can provide information about their particular requirements.) Direct quotations must always be indicated: short quotations should be enclosed in quotation marks, and longer ones should be set off from the writer’s own text by indentation. (Generally, quotation marks are required if one quotes three or more words from a sentence; however, if it is significant, even a single quoted word should be set off in quotation marks.)