Plagiarism and Citation Styles

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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 2019-2020 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 collects additional resources to help you act in an ethical and legal way. 

Advice from Other Institutions

These respected academic sites have been selected for the quality of their advice and its relevance to W&L culture.  Some policies and standards differ from W&L.