The University of Alabama
Plagiarism
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The Code of Academic Conduct in the University of Alabama Undergraduate Catalog defines plagiarism and other acts of academic dishonesty as follows:

  • Plagiarism: representing the words, data, works, ideas, computer programs or output, or anything not generated in an authorized fashion, as one’s own
  • Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, study aids, or computer-related information
  • Fabrication: presenting as genuine any invented or falsified citation or material
  • Misrepresentation: falsifying, altering, or misstating the contents of documents or other materials related to academic matters, including schedules, prerequisites, and transcripts.

Although authors occasionally indulge in plagiarism intentionally, most often writers plagiarize unintentionally. Many do not realize that indirect quotations, which result from paraphrasing and summarizing material, also require acknowledgement of the author and the source of the idea.

A direct quotation of an author’s exact words is the only footnoted material that requires the use of quotation marks, but both direct and indirect quotations must be footnoted. Any idea or statement that is not the author’s own must be documented.

Remember- the following require the use of a citation:

  • Any material directly quoted from another’s work
  • Any information that is summarized or paraphrased
  • Any idea derived from a known source
  • Any fact or data that is not common knowledge and is borrowed from another’s work

Material that is common or general knowledge does not have to be footnoted, unless the wording is taken directly from a particular source. A general rule is that if a fact can be found in five or more sources, it is considered to be common knowledge and does not have to be documented.

¡Anthony C. Winkler and Jo Ray McCuen, Writing the Research Paper; A Handout (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, c1979) 89.