Education 200: Foundations of Education

Fall 2021

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using someone else's words or ideas without giving them credit. It is basically literary or creative theft. In fact, the Merriam Webster Dictionary has two definitions of "plagiarize":

  1. "to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own use (another's production) without crediting the source
  2. to commit literary theft present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source"


Plagiarism is described in the W&L 2021-2022 Catalog, and cited by the Student Executive Committee, as:

"the use of another's words, figures, or ideas without proper acknowledgment. The students of Washington and Lee University have in many instances considered plagiarism a violation of the Honor System; therefore, all forms of plagiarism including Internet plagiarism are taken very seriously. Students at Washington and Lee must be aware of the nature of plagiarism. Plagiarism takes many forms, including the wholesale copying of phrases, diagrams, or texts, or the use of ideas without indicating the source. Certain facts must also be properly acknowledged."


If you are interested in more information about plagiarism and how to avoid it, detailed advice and examples are provided in the EC's Plagiarism Pamphlet. You might also find one of the many books on this list from the W&L library catalog about plagiarism useful. 

This guide provides links to information about how to use different style guides. Each subject uses one or more standardized styles to formally acknowledge sources of ideas and words. Please use the "Citation Styles" section to get help on a specific style. We recommend students use Zotero to manage citations in papers and presentations. Zotero is a free program that organizes articles and automatically formats your bibliography and internal citations according to whatever style you need. Use the "Zotero Citation Manager" section to learn more about using this great tool.

Citation Styles

Unfortunately, there is no universally agreed-upon "style" for documenting the use of sources in educational research -- no single method for formatting footnotes, bibliographies, endnotes, in-text citations, etc.  Instead, there are more than a dozen, most of which are specialized for use in one or more subject areas. You should ask your professor what style you should use for each class.

The W&L University Library maintains a collection of resources for using different citation styles. Please note that most of these resources are online, but some of the most important volumes still are available only in printed form.

Annotated Bibliographies and Literature Reviews

What is involved in creating an annotated bibliography?  Here are some guides: University of Wisconsin  |  Hunter College

A journal article's literature review discusses the existing research on aspects of the topic.