Plagiarism is the misrepresentation of the work of another as your own. It is academic theft; it is a serious infraction of the University Honor Code, which you have already signed a pledge to uphold upon entering SMU. Instances of plagiarism or any other cheating will be reported to the University Honor Council, and will at the very least result in failure of this course.

If you plagiarize, do not think that you will not be caught. Any decent web search engine like Google.com will expose plagiarism in seconds. If you can find it with Google, we can find it too.

With the Internet, "copy" and "paste" are too easy. It's tempting to grab a paragraph here and a paragraph there and assemble a paper that way. That amounts to plagiarism UNLESS the lifted material is placed in quotes AND accompanied by a citation showing where it came from. Finally, a paper consisting almost entirely of such quotes doesn't make the grade either! We are looking for original work by YOU, not some Internet source.

In case you have forgotten what the Honor Code is, here's a link to it.
SMU Honor Code

Here is SMU's Academic Honesty Tutorial.

Here is Acadia University's 10-minute tutorial.

Here is Avoiding Plagiarism from the OWL at Purdue.

Plagiarism is also extremely easy to avoid. Simply paraphrase the text in question (put it in your own words). You still need to cite the source. For example:

        Three rodents with defective vision,
        Three rodents with defective vision,
        Perceive how they flee,
        Perceive how they flee,

        They scurried by the spouse of the agronomist.
        She removed their posteriors with a kitchen utensil.
        Have you ever observed such a phenomenon,
        As three rodents with defective vision? *
or cite the source from which you obtained the text in question. For example:
        Three blind mice!  Three blind mice!
        See, how they run!  See, how they run!

        They all ran after the farmer's wife,
        Who cut off their tails with a carving knife!
        Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
        As three blind mice?

        --The Real Mother Goose, 1916 by Rand McNally & Company,
          Library of Congress Catalog Number: 16-15134
* As the top verse is not MY original work, here is the citation for it: Found on ScoutSongs.com in their virtual songbook.

Read the lyrics to Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky - by Tom Lehrer and DON'T DO THIS!!!

Listen to Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky on YouTube

Cautionary Note: Do not let anyone else have a copy of any of your papers, book reviews, or anything else. Copying someone else's paper is plagiarism. If you work on a paper using another student's computer, be sure to write your work onto portable media and delete all copies from that computer. Repeating - do not ever give a copy of the file for any of your work to another student. Remember that the person providing the copied material is just as guilty as the copier.

Stop and Think: Suppose you have a book review due tomorrow and you have not read the book. It seems easy to simply get on the web, grab one, add your name, and turn it in. Don't do this! The plagiarism detector will find it, and you won't like the consequences. You'll get a zero for the report and likely an F for the course. Also - an honor violation will be filed. Consider the possibilities if you run out of time.

  • Copy a report off the web. You will get a zero for the report, likely an F for the semester, and an honor violation.
  • Hand in the report late. You will at least get some credit for it.
  • Don't turn in that book review. You'll get the zero, lose one grade point for the semester because of it, and nothing else.
Consider all alternatives before you copy a review from the web.

NOTE: If you are a senior, never plagiarize anything. We have seen graduating seniors have post-SMU plans shot down because of the honor violation and failure of the course. Don't be stupid!