Plagiarism is a noticeable problem in my classes although hardly overwhelming. Almost every term one or more students has suffered because they plagiarized material either unintentionally or intentionally. The intent of this page is to make clear what constitutes plagiarism and what my policies are for plagiarism in my courses.

At the end of this page I've put the official Provost Academic Dishonesty link.. What I put here only emphasizes the forms that I've seen in my classes, it does not negate anything else defined as academic dishonesty in the handbook.

Common Plagiarism Problems

Copying Web Text

If you copy text from a web page (or any printed source)you must:

Paraphrasing a Source

If you use the ideas from a source, but put them in your own words you have paraphrased that source. Again, you must:

Note that paraphrasing is the area where it's easiest to be unsure. You do not have to cite what you've learned in your courses from a textbook. On the other hand you would need to cite a book by an engineer that you read in a course, but isn't a normal "textbook". The rule should be "When in doubt, cite the source!"

Image Credits

Images of all kinds (including data files) from other sources other than explicitly "public domain" must be credited. As with text citations the credit for the image must be adjacent to the image. A general page of "sources" somewhere on a web site is not sufficient.

My Policies about Plagiarism

I'll treat each case of apparent plagiarism individually, but the following will be my guidelines.

"Inadvertent Plagiarism"

If it appears that you were not attempting to take another person's ideas, but failed to meet the requirements for quoting or citing sources I'll deduct points from your grade as follows:

"Intentional Plagiarism"

If I find direct use of other people's words or images without citation with the apparent intention to use it as your own I'll deduct points from your grade as follows:

For any case in which I decide there is "major" intentional plagiarism, or any 2nd offense of any sort, your name will be reported to the university judicial office as required by university rules.

It's my understanding that if this is the first indication that you've plagiarized there will be no consequences. However, if you have been reported in another class then you will be subject to the university's judicial procedure.

Note on Prior Student Work:

It may be particularly tempting to use the work of other students who have taken a course because much of it is available for Prof. Mitchell's courses via the Assignments Database. This work should be treated in exactly the way as any other source. If you base your web page or portions of it it on work done by other students they should be given credit and it should be possible for the instructor to determine what work is yours and what work was developed by others. It's your responsibility to make the distinction clear.

If you are going to use your own work prepared previously or simultaneously for another course you must explicitly cite it and quote it in the same manner as for other sources. If you plan to turn in a complete document that has been or is being used for another course you must have prior approval.. Not receiving prior approval will be regarded as plagiarism.

The Provost Policy on Academic Dishonesty is on the web- Read the full section to know the official policies, which of course take precedence over anything state here. What follows is only an excerpt from that handbook (note that I've cited the source and put the text in quotes).



Plagiarism is the inclusion of someone else’s words, ideas, or data as one’s own work.When a student submits work for credit that includes the words, ideas, or data of others, the source of that information must be acknowledged through complete, accurate, and specific references, and, if verbatim statements are included, through quotation marks as well. By placing his/her name on work submitted for credit, the student certifies the originality of all work not otherwise identified by appropriate acknowledgments. Plagiarism covers unpublished as well as published sources. Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

Students are urged to consult with individual faculty members, academic departments, or recognized handbooks in their field if in doubt regarding issues of plagiarism."


Fabrication is the use of invented information or the falsification of research or other findings. Examples include, but are not limited to:


Cheating is an act or an attempted act of deception by which a student seeks to misrepresent that he or she has mastered information on an academic exercise that he/she has not mastered. Examples include, but are not limited to:

Updated: 6/19/2012