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Avoid Plagiarism: Accidental and Intentional Plagiarism


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Accidental and Intentional Plagiarism

This information was taken from the Leeward Community College Accidental vs. Intentional Plagiarism website. 

Accidental Plagiarism
Accidental plagiarism can occur when students do not fully understand what documentation is and how to do it.  Here are some examples: 

> Papers written from source materials which are never mentioned in the text and are not listed in a bibliography or works cited page are plagiarized. All writers are required to give credit where credit is due. 

> Papers which have references to sources in the text but no bibliography or works cited page are also plagiarized. One of the purposes of documentation is to aid readers who wish to study the same subject. Writers are expected to provide a full bibliographic reference for sources used. 

> Papers which have the bibliography/work cited page but no references to sources in the text are also unacceptable. Writers are expected to show which ideas came from which sources. 

Intentional Plagiarism
> 'Borrowing'  Papers
One form of intentional plagiarism is "borrowing" a friend’s paper. In "borrowing," students take another person’s paper, usually with their permission. They may add a new introduction or conclusion, and, of course, they change the name. Such borrowing constitutes plagiarism—even if the student makes significant changes. A "borrowed" paper is not the original work of the student who submits it. Professors try to minimize this form of plagiarism by making the actual assignment very specific so that few papers generated in other courses would fulfill requirements. Also, they may ask that all the sources for the paper be turned in.

> Purchasing Term Papers from Paper Mills :  Another form of intentional plagiarism is to buy a paper from a term paper mill like,,, and similar Internet sites. Students who are new to college life should not be naïve about these sites. Professors know what these sites are, where they are, and how to determine if a paper originated from them. No sophisticated technology is needed to find these sources, and since this type of plagiarism is so obviously intentional, anyone using these sites should be ready for lots of trouble and no sympathy.

> Internet 'Cutting and Pasting':  Finally, Internet cut and paste is a common strategy. Students may not realize that they are expected to organize ideas and write original pieces connecting ideas they have discovered through research. Instead they follow an organizational pattern they discover in one of their sources, write their own topic sentences, and then cut and past the specific information to support the topic sentences. This type of plagiarism is detected through commercial detection systems.