Pan African Studies 420: Avoiding Plagiarism

What is Plagiarism?

To plagiarize means to:

  • Steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own;
  • Use (another's production) without crediting the source;
  • Commit literary theft;
  • Present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.

(Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary definition of "plagiarize," retrieved June 20, 2005)

CSUN Policy on Plagiarism

. . .Cheating or plagiarism in connection with an academic program at a campus is listed in Section 41301, Title 5, California Code of Regulations, as an offense for which a student may be expelled, suspended, or given a less severe disciplinary sanction. . . .
(California State University Northridge Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog, 2008-2010 (PDF), Appendix E-2. Academic Dishonesty, p. 587)

Plagiarism: Intentionally or knowingly representing the words, ideas, or work of another as one's own in any academic exercise. Comments:

  1. Direct Quotation: Every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks, or by appropriate indentation or by other means of identification, and must be promptly cited in a citation. Proper citation style for any academic department is outlined by the MLA Style Sheet or K. L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations. These and similar publications are available in the Matador Bookstore and at the reference desk of the Oviatt Library. [See also: Citing Your Sources: Style Guides]
  2. Paraphrase: Prompt acknowledgment is required when material from another source is paraphrased or summarized in whole or in part in your own words. To acknowledge a paraphrase properly, one might state: "to paraphrase Locke's comment . . ." and conclude with a citation identifying the exact reference. A citation acknowledging only a directly quoted statement does not suffice to notify the reader of any preceding or succeeding paraphrased material.
  3. Borrowed Facts or Information: Information obtained in one's reading or research which is not common knowledge among students in the course must be acknowledged. Examples of common knowledge might include the names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc. Materials which contribute only to one's general understanding of the subject may be acknowledged in the bibliography and need not be immediately cited. One citation is usually sufficient to acknowledge indebtedness when a number of connected sentences in the paper draw their special information from one source. When direct quotations are used, however, quotation marks must be inserted and prompt acknowledgment is required.

(California State University Northridge Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog, 2010-2012, Appendix E-2. Academic Dishonesty) (Retrieved December 6, 2010)

Need More Help?

Further information on writing annotated bibliographies may be found in:

  • Harner, J.L. (2000). On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography. New York: The Modern Language Association of America. Reference Room Z1001 .H33 2000
  • Ikeda, A. (2002). Writing Annotated Bibliographies. Claremont, California: Claremont Graduate University Writing Center. Retrieved 7th September 2004 from the World Wide Web:
  • Stacks, G. and Karper, E. (2001). Annotated Bibliographies. West Lafayette, Indiana: Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University. Retrieved 11th July 2002 from the World Wide Web: