Skip Navigation
Academic Honesty

What is Plagiarism?

Academic honesty means the use of one's own thoughts and materials in the writing of papers, taking of tests, and other classroom related activities. Students intentionally aiding other students in any infraction of the academic honesty policy are considered equally guilty.

Students are expected to give full credit for the borrowing of other's words or ideas. Intentional or unintentional use of another's words or ideas without acknowledging this use constitutes plagiarism.

There are four common forms of plagiarism:

1.  The duplication of an author's words without quotation marks and accurate references or footnotes.

2.  The duplication of an author's words or phrases with footnotes or accurate references, but without quotation marks.

3.  The use of an author's ideas in paraphrase without accurate references or footnotes.

4.  Submitting a paper in which exact words are merely rearranged even though they are the same is misrepresentation. Misrepresentation is the submission of materials for evaluation that are not the student's own.


At Howard Community College, plagiarism is taken very seriously, and the penalties for plagiarism are harsh. For the first offense, the student receives an "F" grade on the assignment and his/her name is forwarded to the Division Chairperson. Then, the Vice President of Student Services will notify the student in writing of the consequences of this infraction. For the second offense, the student receives and "F" grade for the course and is dropped form the course and barred from further class participation. The Division Chairperson forwards the name to the Vice President of Student Services who will meet with the student. A third offense "will result in disciplinary action as determined by the Student Judicial Process" (Student Handbook).

Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism

(courtesy of faculty member Jim Bell)

1.  Read the relevant information two or three times. Close the source and say in your own words the essence of the material. Then write the togemeaning in your own words. Open the source to see if you have the correct meaning and have used your own words.

2. Review the original source for relevant information that you might have overlooked. By including this information your answer will be a better answer and give you more possibilities for putting together different words.

3.  Analyze the source for the key terms. Then think of other ways to say the same thing. Attempt to integrate information from several sentences into one sentence using your own words.

4.  Reorganize your summary. Don't use the source's organization. Pull together related material and put the ideas into your own words.

Back to Academic StandingForward to Library Services