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Plagiarism Statement
Chemistry Materials from Ray Tedder

The plagiarism statement here is given to students on the first day of class.  The student and parents or guardians must sign this statement indicating that they understand what plagiarism is and the consequences to students if committed.

Plagiarism Statement for the Classes of Ray Tedder, Dorman High School

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Collegiate Dictionary <> to plagiarize is, to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own: use (another's production) without crediting the source, or, to commit literary theft: present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.  It doesnt matter where the words of ideas come from: the internet, a book, a radio or TV broadcast, a speech, the lecture given by a teacher, or from another student to whom you were talking.  If you are working with another student and you both write the same sentence or even a part of a sentence, this is plagiarism.  It doesn't matter that you are on the same lab team or in the same study group.  The original words were either your's or the other student's.  The person who uses another person's words or ideas in their own paper, without properly citing that source, is a plagiarizer.   Avoiding plagiarism is simple.  Just cite your source.

Wake Forest University's English Department published a web page which defines plagiarism quite well.  It was composed by Professor Anne M. Boyle and Thomas McGohey.  It can be found at <>.  The definition is succinct and well-written.  So here, in part, is what was said at that site:

To put your name on a piece of work is to say that it is yours, that the praise or criticism due to it is due to you. To put your name on a piece of work any part of which is not yours is plagiarism, unless that piece is clearly marked and the work from which you have borrowed is fully identified. Plagiarism is a form of theft. Taking words, phrasing, sentence structure, or any other element of the expression of another persons ideas, and using them as if they were yours, is like taking from that person a material possession, something he or she has worked for and earned. Even worse is the appropriation of someone elses ideas. By "ideas" is meant everything from the definition or interpretation of a single word, to the overall approach or argument. If you paraphrase, you merely translate from his or her language to yours; another persons ideas in your language are still not your ideas. Paraphrase, therefore, without proper documentation, is theft, perhaps of the worst kind. Here, a person loses not a material possession, but something of what characterized him or her as an individual.

Plagiarism is a serious violation of another persons rights, whether the material stolen is great or small; it is not a matter of degree or intent. You know how much you would have had to say without someone elses help; and you know how much you have added on your own. Your responsibility, when you put your name on a piece of work, is simply to distinguish between what is yours and what is not, and to credit those who have in any way contributed.

Republished by permission.

Indiana University's web page on plagiarism <> suggests these guidelines for avoiding plagiarism:

To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit whenever you use

         another person's idea, opinion, or theory;

         any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings--any pieces of information--that are not common knowledge;

         quotations of another person's actual spoken or written words; or

         paraphrase of another person's spoken or written words.

Republished by permission.

At a college, technical college, or university, plagiarism can result in a failing grade for the course or expulsion from the college or university.  These become part of your permanent record.

In Ray Tedder's Courses at Dorman High School, plagiarism will result in a grade of zero for the paper, regardless of whether the paper in question is a first draft or if you are normally allowed to correct and resubmit the paper.     

Please tear along the line below.  Keep the top portion for yourself.  Sign in pen and return the bottom to your teacher.

I have read and understand the above explanation of plagiarism and the penalty for committing it.




Parent or Guardian Signature                                 Parent or Guardian Printed Name                            Date of Signature



Student Signature                                                   Student Printed Name                                              Date of Signature


More help on understanding plagiarism.

Excerpt from online article published by James E. Evans and reprinted by the author's permission:



Defining plagiarism is not as simple as one might think.  Everyone seems to know it is wrong, including those who commit the offence, but few know how to completely define it. There are auto-plagiarism and self-plagiarism, substantial plagiarism and incidental plagiarism, and finally there is unconscious plagiarism or cryptomnesia, which seemingly would allow an excuse to all but the most obvious plagiarists. 

Plagiarism is often simply defined as passing off someone else's work as your own.  The keyword here is "work".  That could extend from photographs or other graphics, musical compositions, documents that are published or unpublished, to a person's basic idea for a piece of work  (Pean, 2000). 

Auto-plagiarism is the failure of authors to cite themselves when using excerpts from their old work in a new and original work.   As researchers tend to publish in sequence with their research, it would follow that most of it is serialised.  Researchers would tend to refer to their previous work quite often.  However, once published, the copyright no longer belongs to the author, but to the publisher, and any use of that material must be properly attributed (Rogers, 1998). 

Self-plagiarism differs from auto-plagiarism in the sense that it is more to do with a student trying to use his or her own work as fulfilment of an assignment for more than one course, without permission.  Substantial and incidental plagiarisms are of fairly obvious definition.  However, unconscious plagiarism or cryptomnesia bears an explanation. 

Cryptomnesia is hidden memory.   A person believes himself to have had an original idea when, in fact, the idea came from the memory of an experience which he has forgotten (Carroll, 1998).  Mark Twain, Helen Keller, and George Harrison are among those who are discovered to have been "victims" of cryptomnesia (Carroll, 1998) (Zwick, 2000).  These victims plagiarised the work of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Margaret Canby, and the Chiffons respectively, but each offence was considered unintentional and a result of cryptomnesia. 

Understanding plagiarism is a key to its discovery and prevention.  However, if academics are not fully aware of the various types of plagiarism or its kissing cousin, copyright law, how can students in higher education be expected to understand it?  They cannot.  The best correction for plagiarism is not punishment, but prevention. 


Carroll, R.T.  Cryptomnesia.  The Skeptics Dictionary.  1998.  March 20, 2000.

Pean, H.  Virtual Fake Outs.  Student.Com. 1995-2000.  March 18, 2000.

Rogers, J.D.  How to Cite Skilfully and Avoid Plagiarising.  Department of
Microbiology and Immunology, Baylor College of Medicine.  1997.
March 18, 2000.

Zwick, J.  Unconscious Plagiarism.  Tuesday, April 11, 2000.  April 15,


Excerpted on 20 Oct, 03  from


Copyright issues.
When writing, you should be concerned about more than plagiarism.  Here is some helpful information to make sure that you stay on the safe side of the law.