Skip to Main Content

USD Information Literacy Lessons: Page 10

The broad focus of these lessons is understanding sources of information, including examples that can help you learn how to access information sources at USD. Each lesson is dedicated to a specific element of information competency.

Part Two: Plagiarism

Using information in an ethical and honest manner is crucial to your education. In fact, the entire academic/research system rests upon the belief that students and scholars are using information and conducting research with honesty and integrity. Throughout your college career, you will be asked to gather, synthesize, and analyze information and to present your findings to an audience. That audience will expect your work to be accurate, honest, and well-documented. This ethical component of argument-making is known as the ethos. Ethical argument can be as convincing as factually accurate argument (what's known as the logos).Using the skills you learn in Freshman English throughout your college career will ensure that your audience will not be disappointed.

What Is Plagiarism?

The Council of Writing Program Administrators (WPA) distinguishes between intentional and unintentional plagiarism (2003).

“In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source.”

“Unintentional plagiarism [includes] carelessly or inadequately citing ideas and words borrowed from another source.”

The WPA identifies the following as some causes of plagiarism and the failure to use and document sources appropriately (2003):

·  fear of failure or taking risks in their own work

·  poor time-management skills or poor planning

·  not know how to integrate the ideas of others into one’s work

·  not knowing how to document sources appropriately

·  not knowing how to take careful and fully documented notes during research

·  viewing the course, assignment, conventions of academic documentation, or consequences of cheating as unimportant

Additionally, the WPA points out that “students from other cultures may not be familiar with the conventions governing attribution and plagiarism in American colleges and universities” (2003).


The next page covers the USD Academic Dishonesty Policy. It is very important that you know, understand, and follow this policy as a USD student. The subsequent page will take you to an online plagiarism tutorial (the VAIL Tutorial) where plagiarism will be defined and described, and you will learn ways to avoid plagiarism in your own work.


Council of Writing Program Administrators. Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices. Council of Writing Program    Administrators, Jan. 2003. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. <>. 


>> Next page

Footer for USD LibGuide v2.0