An Online Tutorial Taking You Through the Steps of the Library Research Process Don't Shoplift!

MCC Home Library Home Tutorial Home Site Map

Tutorial Contents:
  1. Library Map & Virtual Tour
  2. Avoiding Impulse Buys
  3. Size & Shape of Information
  4. Most Bang for Your Buck
  5. Trying it on for Size
  6. Don't Shoplift!


We know it is wrong to go into a store and take merchandise without paying for it.  It isn't ours and it is stealing.  Many people, however, don't think it is wrong or stealing to take other people's ideas or information and pass it off as their own without properly citing it.  Why is this?  Students might wonder why should they rewrite something in their own words when someone else can say it better, or question whether their own ideas are as worthy as an experts, or think because it is so easy to cut and paste or copy from a book that it must not be wrong.  In fact, this is plagiarism. 

First of all, why do you think your teacher asked you to write a research paper?  A research paper is designed to help you practice writing skills, thinking critically and thinking for yourself.  In essence, it is teaching you how to learn.  Learning won't stop once you graduate.  You will constantly be needing to learn throughout your life, so it is best to use this time and opportunity to do just that.  If you are always borrowing other people's ideas or words, you are never going to be able to think or write on your own. 

Your instructors are not giving you research papers because they love to inflict pain upon students or because they love nothing more than grading paper after paper.  The process of researching and writing a paper is teaching you how to think for yourself and articulate your opinions and ideas. 

Keep in mind that a person's ethics and character are not tested only in those big moments in life but day to day in how they respond to the little things that are woven together to create the person you are.



The McHenry County College Student Code of Conduct explicitly prohibits acts of academic dishonesty.  Plagiarism is listed as one of these acts of dishonesty and is defined in the Student Code of Conduct as follows:

Plagiarism which includes, but is not limited to:

1.  Using, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full, clear, and accurate acknowledgement;
2.  The unacknowledged use of another writer's ideas without proper citation;
3.  Borrowing all or part of another individual's work or using someone else's outline to write your own work;
4.  Copying another individual's computer printout and using it as one's own; or
5.  Using an agency or Internet website engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials.



Listed below are some sources that can help you learn more about plagiarism and how to avoid it.

  1. Using Sources Effectively: Strengthening Your Writing and Avoiding Plagiarism  by Robert A. Harris,   LB2369.H37 2002   MCC Library Stacks
  2. Plagiarism Web Site from Purdue University Online Writing Lab
  3. What is Plagiarism? from Georgetown University
  4. Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It from Indiana University
  5. St. Martin's Tutorial on Avoiding Plagiarism
  6. How to Recognize Plagiarism from Indiana University Bloomington School of Education
  7. Plagiarism Powerpoint from Bill Badke at Trinity Western University



<Previous Page     Next Page>