Biology 100/103 - Concepts in Biology
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What is Plagiarism?

The question of what really constitutes plagiarism is often raised in this class and elsewhere. I would like to clarify what might be construed as such:

  1. Outright copying of another's work (including 'cut & paste' jobs) with or without giving credit to the source. This is the most serious form of plagiarism and is always considered to be intentional. Examples are: Buying, borrowing, stealing, or otherwise obtaining term papers, lab reports or other work via the internet, from other students, or any other source. Cutting and pasting paragraphs from web sources is the most common form of this type of plagiarism. Note that it does not make much difference whether you actually reference your source - if it is copied, it is a form of plagiarism! My recommendation is: do not quote (with OR without quotation marks) material in your term paper unless it is for purely aesthetic purposes (i.e. Shakespeare, to make an interesting introduction)...always attempt to put the information in your own words.
  2. Copying or using someone else's work (words, pictures, diagrams) without acknowledging the source, even if paraphrased. For example, you may change the wording of a paragraph you find on the web, but fail to give credit to where you got the paragraph from. This is also a serious form of plagiarism as it can be assumed that you have taken credit for the information for yourself. 
  3. Copying parts of someone's work, even if other portions are paraphrased. For instance: "To be or not to be, that is what was asked" is still largely copied. If you want to describe a long list of symptoms that you found on a web page for meningitis, try rephrasing the symptoms by grouping them together differently, explaining the symptoms, etc. Don't just copy the whole list or merely rearrange the order of words in the list!

What is Academic Dishonesty?

Academic dishonesty extends beyond the issue of plagiarism and encompasses all forms of cheating, falsification of data, and fabrication of data. This means:

  1. Cheating: Using any form of unauthorized help during exams, quizzes, or other in-class or out-of-class tests. This includes having anyone else write or re-write your lab reports or term paper
  2. Falsification of data: Altering any collected data (including numbers, descriptions, pictures, graphs, or statistical outcomes) in ways that misrepresent the actual outcome. This includes using photographs and diagrams depicting results that were not your own (e.g. you cannot photocopy a picture from your lab book and claim it as representing your results). 
  3. Fabrication of data: Making up any of the data that was to be collected, or claiming to have done parts of an experiment that were never done.

How will Plagiarism/Academic dishonesty be dealt with?

Depending on the perceived severity of the offense (was it intentional or inadvertent? How much of the course grade was affected? How much of an assignment was plagiarized? Was this a repeat offense?) the instructor may:

  1. Mark down the assignment by one letter grade
  2. Give a grade of "0" for the assignment
  3. Give a grade of "E" for the course
  4. Refer the student to the campus judicial committee for academic dishonesty. This will result in a hearing before the judicial committee and may result in expulsion from the University. 

How will instances of plagiarism be detected?

All students will be asked to submit electronic copies of their paper 1) to, a plagiarism-detection web site that will check your paper against a database of other papers and web sources, and 2) to me via ANGEL. You will also be asked to submit printed copies of your research article sources. Other electronic plagiarism detection tools may also be used at the college's/department's/instructor's discretion, depending on availability.


I have read the Plagiarism/Academic Dishonesty Policy for Bio 203 as shown on this page. This page was last edited on 01/04/2008 . I hereby indicate that I understand the policy and agree to abide by it:

I do not understand the policy explained on this page:

Although you may argue that there ought to be a third option for you ("I disagree with the policy"), let me assure you that disagreement with the policy is tantamount to intending to cheat/plagiarize.

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