Understanding Plagiarism Quiz
Test yourself: Answer yes or no to each question. Click on the question to see the correct answer with an explanation.
Question 1: You find an article that is perfect for your research paper. You know you should not copy entire sentences word-for-word. Instead, you rearrange the sentences and replace the descriptive words with your own. You also add a complete footnote citing the page and the source. Is this an act of plagiarism? yes or no
Yes. Even if you footnoted the source correctly, your paraphrased text is unacceptable. To paraphrase correctly, you must restate the original passage in your own words and in your own style. Reordering sentences or replacing adjectives is not enough. Go to the ESC Online Writing Center to learn more about paraphrasing.
Question 2: You find a Web site at a university research center that features white papers on economic policy issues. One document contains a chart that succinctly conveys one of your primary arguments. You download the image and insert it into your paper. Is including this chart an act of plagiarism? yes or no
Yes. It is plagiarism if you do not give credit for the source of the information. At minimum you must include a footnote with the full bibliographic information (author, title and publisher, etc.). Many graphic images are protected by U.S. copyright regulations. If this image is included in your paper, you must either contact the publisher for permission to use the image, or find out if paper is covered by the educational "fair use" exemption. For more information on copyright email an Empire State College librarian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question 3: You are reading a book that cites a very pertinent article on your research topic. You forget to obtain a copy of the article. Despite this, you include a summary of the article's findings in your paper, written in your own words, and add a footnote to cite it. Is including this information into your paper an act of plagiarism? yes or no
No. You did give proper attribution to the source and correctly paraphrased the author's original content. Instead, you committed a dishonest act by misrepresenting your research efforts.
Question 4: You are assigned to write computer code for a sorting task. You're almost finished, but have one bug you cannot fix. You email a fellow student and describe your problem. He responds with a brief message suggesting you refer to a section of your text. If you follow up on your friend's suggestion, is this an act of plagiarism? yes or no
No. Computer code plagiarism includes: 1) Sharing lines of code even though collaboration is expressly forbidden; 2) Incorporating code from another source and without proper attribution; 3) Discussing specific algorithmic strategies with another with the intent of using this person's ideas; 4) Reusing code from another source to the extent that only variables or statement order are changed.
Question 5: You want to use a very distinctive phrase as the main theme in an essay. You find the phrase while reading an academic article. The first time you use the phrase you add a sentence about the author of the phrase and the title of the article. Is this an act of plagiarism? yes or no
Yes. You did not provide sufficient information about your source. First, the distinctive phrase must be put into quotation marks to indicate it is not your words. Although you documented the author and the article title in your text, you must provide the rest of the citation in a footnote. This reference must include the journal name, the volume, issue, year and pages.
0-2 Correct Answers
Don’t delay.You’ll need to acquaint yourself with the basics of plagiarism so you don’t get yourself into trouble. Start with this online brochure published by the College called Academic Integrity and Writing the Research Paper.
3-4 Correct Answers
Not bad! To avoid all possible pitfalls, visit the Writing Reseources in the Online Writing Center to hone your skills in paraphrasing and using citations correctly.
5 Correct Answers
Well done! You’ve got an excellent understanding of plagiarism and how to avoid it through careful attribution of others' ideas. Consider sharing your knowledge with others via a study group or an online discussion.