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College of Arts and Sciences

Academic Integrity Quiz

department of political science

Plagiarism Examples and Guidelines: A Quiz

When to Provide Acknowledgment

Suppose the passages below appeared in a paper you were submitting as your own. Decide whether or not a citation must be given for the passage, and be specific about the rule regarding plagiarism that you are applying. Click on your answer, Yes or No, for a discussion of the principles that apply.

The Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia's Independence Hall on May 25, 1787. Of the 55 delegates who attended the opening session, only 39 remained to sign the completed Constitution on September 17, 1787.


Yes, a citation is required because ...
No, a citation is not required because ...

According to the Constitution's 19th Amendment, adopted in 1920, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."


Yes, a citation is required because ...
No, a citation is not required because ...

Among Palestinian males in the West Bank and Gaza, fully 67% of those age 20-29 years old report that they are observant Muslims, and that percentage rises to 92% among those age 60 and older. However, those who report being religious activists constitute only about 25% of Palestinian males, and this percentage does not vary by age group.


Yes, a citation is required because ...
No, a citation is not required because ...

In his draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson had listed mankind's "unalienable Rights" as "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." The other delegates at the Continental Congress who had read their John Locke would have been accustomed to a different list of political rights, "Life, Liberty, and Property." So why did Jefferson depart from the expected? Perhaps it was a young man's democratic rebellion against the privileges of the propertied men around him.


Yes, a citation is required because ...
No, a citation is not required because ...

Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

For the examples below, compare the original text with the example below it. Decide whether or not the example passage constitutes plagiarism, and be specific about the rule regarding plagiarism that you are applying. Click on your answer, Yes or No, for a discussion of the principles that apply. [The original source is Samuel Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968). The citations are in the MLA style, in parentheses.]

Original: The degree of community in a complex society thus, in a rough sense, depends on the strength and scope of its political institutions. The institutions are the behavioral manifestation of the moral consensus and mutual interest.

Example: The degree of community in a complex society thus depends on the strength and scope of its political institutions. The institutions are the behavioral manifestation of the moral consensus and mutual interest (Huntington, 10).


Yes, this is plagiarism because ...
No, this is not plagiarism because ...

Original: The impact of modernization on politics is varied. Numerous authors have defined political modernization in even more numerous ways. Most of these definitions focus on the differences between what are assumed to be the distinctive characteristics of a modern polity and of a traditional polity. Political modernization is held to be movement from the one to the other.

Example: "The impact of modernization on politics is varied" (Huntington, 34). Numerous authors have defined political modernization in numerous ways. The majority of these definitions focus on the differences between what are assumed to be the distinctive characteristics of modern politics and of traditional politics. "Political modernization is held to be movement from the one to the other" (Ibid.).


Yes, this is plagiarism because ...
No, this is not plagiarism because ...

Original: The early widespread political participation in America as contrasted with Europe often leads people to conclude that political modernization in general occurred earlier and more rapidly in the United States than in Europe. Such, however, is far from the case.

Example: Observers are often led to conclude that political modernization in general occurred earlier and more rapidly in the United States than in Europe, because widespread political participation occurred earlier in America. Such is far from the case, however, as Samuel Huntington argues (Huntington, 94).


Yes, this is plagiarism because ...
No, this is not plagiarism because ...

Original: To cope successfully with modernization, a political system must be able, first, to innovate policy, that is, to promote social and economic reform by state action. A second requirement of a political system is the ability to assimilate successfully into the system the social forces produced by modernization and achieving a new social consciousness as a result of modernization. In due course, these social groups demand participation in the political system, and the system either provides for this participation in ways harmonious with the continued existence of the system, or it alienates the groups from the system and produces overt or covert civil strife and secession.

Example: Huntington asserts that, in order to avoid the political upheaval that can occur with modernization, a political system must accomplish at least two tasks successfully: it must bring about social and economic reform through appropriate government policies; and it must grant political participation to the new social forces that have been raised to political consciousness by modernization. If a political system fails in either task, the new social groups may engage in violence or demand political separation (Huntington, 140).


Yes, this is plagiarism because ...
No, this is not plagiarism because ...

 


Discussion of Plagiarism Quiz Examples

The Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia's Independence Hall on May 25, 1787. Of the fifty-five delegates who attended the opening session, only thirty-nine remained to sign the completed Constitution on September 17, 1787.

Discussion: No, this passage does not require a citation of sources (although you may provide one if you wish), because the information given is simply historical fact widely available in reference works and histories of the Constitutional Convention.

According to the Constitution's 19th Amendment, adopted in 1920, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

Discussion: No, this passage does not require a citation of sources, even though it contains a direct quotation. The sentence itself sufficiently identifies the source, a specific article of the U.S. Constitution, which is a public document that is widely known and available. For the same reason, direct quotations from other common sources in the discipline—such as the Declaration of Independence or the United Nations Charter—can also be identified within the body of the text. However, if the source being used is a translation from another language—e.g., De Tocqueville's Democracy in America, Plato's Republic, or the constitution of China—then a full citation of the translator, publisher, page number, etc., is required, because the translator is entitled to credit and because your readers may wish to confirm the accuracy of your quotation.

Among Palestinian males in the West Bank and Gaza, fully "67%" of those age 20-29 years old report that they are observant Muslims, and that percentage rises to "92%" among those age 60 and older. However, those who report being religious activists constitute only about "25%" of Palestinian males, and this percentage does not vary by age group.

Discussion: Yes, this passage does require a citation of sources, because the information given is not widely known within the discipline and is clearly the product of the scholarly work of others, who are entitled to acknowledgement.

In his draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson had listed mankind's "unalienable Rights" as "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." The other delegates at the Continental Congress who had read their John Locke would have been accustomed to a different list of political rights, "Life, Liberty, and Property." So why did Jefferson depart from the expected? Perhaps it was a young man's democratic rebellion against the privileges of the propertied men around him.

Discussion: No, if the interpretation of Jefferson is your own, this passage does not require a citation of sources. The words in quotation marks come from common sources in the discipline and also do not require citations. Yes, this passage does require a full citation if you have drawn this interpretation from another author, however.

Original: The degree of community in a complex society thus, in a rough sense, depends on the strength and scope of its political institutions. The institutions are the behavioral manifestation of the moral consensus and mutual interest.

Example: The degree of community in a complex society thus depends on the strength and scope of its political institutions. The institutions are the behavioral manifestation of the moral consensus and mutual interest (Huntington, 10).

Discussion: Yes, this is plagiarism, even though a citation to Huntington is given. The example passage is virtually identical to the original and therefore requires quotation marks in addition to the citation. By failing to enclose the identical wording in quotation marks, the writer of the example is implying that the wording is his own summary of Huntington—which is dishonest.

Original: The impact of modernization on politics is varied. Numerous authors have defined political modernization in even more numerous ways. Most of these definitions focus on the differences between what are assumed to be the distinctive characteristics of a modern polity and of a traditional polity. Political modernization is held to be movement from the one to the other.

Example: "The impact of modernization on politics is varied" (Huntington, 34). Numerous authors have defined political modernization in numerous ways. The majority of these definitions focus on the differences between what are assumed to be the distinctive characteristics of modern politics and of traditional politics. "Political modernization is held to be movement from the one to the other" (Ibid.).

Discussion: Yes, this is plagiarism, even though citations to Huntington are given and quotation marks are placed around some of the wording. The second and third sentences in the example passage are in fact virtually identical to the original, and they constitute unacceptable paraphrasing. By omitting quotation marks around strings of words in these sentences that are original to Huntington, the writer of the example is implying that the wording is his own—which is dishonest.

Original: The early widespread political participation in America as contrasted with Europe often leads people to conclude that political modernization in general occurred earlier and more rapidly in the United States than in Europe. Such, however, is far from the case.

Example: Observers are often led to conclude that political modernization in general occurred earlier and more rapidly in the United States than in Europe, because widespread political participation occurred earlier in America. Such is far from the case, however, as Samuel Huntington argues (Huntington, 94).

Discussion: Yes, this is plagiarism, even though a citation to Huntington is given. The example passage changes some of the original wording and shuffles phrases around, but it still contains long strings of words that are virtually identical to the original, which constitutes unacceptable paraphrasing. By relying heavily on the original wording and omitting quotation marks, the writer of the example is implying that the wording is his own summary of Huntington—which is dishonest.

Original: To cope successfully with modernization, a political system must be able, first, to innovate policy, that is, to promote social and economic reform by state action. A second requirement of a political system is the ability to assimilate successfully into the system the social forces produced by modernization and achieving a new social consciousness as a result of modernization. In due course, these social groups demand participation in the political system, and the system either provides for this participation in ways harmonious with the continued existence of the system, or it alienates the groups from the system and produces overt or covert civil strife and secession.

Example: Huntington asserts that, in order to avoid the political upheaval that can occur with modernization, a political system must accomplish at least two tasks successfully: it must bring about social and economic reform through appropriate government policies; and it must grant political participation to the new social forces that have been raised to political consciousness by modernization. If a political system fails in either task, the new social groups may engage in violence or demand political separation (Huntington, 140).

Discussion: No, this is not plagiarism, because the summary departs significantly from Huntington's original wording. Indeed, the example passage is arguably even more clear than Huntington's original, and thus demonstrates what good summarizing can accomplish. Nonetheless, a citation acknowledging Huntington as the source of the ideas is still necessary.