Plagiarism FAQ

Purdue Global Plagiarism FAQ – This content is also available from “Writing With Integrity: Expectations for Academic Research and Professional Writing.”

Plagiarism FAQ

What is Purdue Global’s official policy on plagiarism?
  • Purdue Global’s official policy on plagiarism is available in the University Catalog. See the Code of Student Conduct for details. What is the difference between accidental and intentional plagiarism?
  • Accidental plagiarism may result from improperly using or inaccurately citing a source in text or referencing it on the reference list, while intentional plagiarism is knowingly using a source without proper citation or referencing or any citation. Both accidental and intentional plagiarism can be prevented with proper documentation of the borrowed information, but both accidental and intentional plagiarism have the same consequences of plagiarism. See the Code of Student Conduct for details.
What is self-citation?

While original work is expected for each course and each assignment, there are instances when it is appropriate for a student to build on ideas from a previous assignment by citing themself. You may therefore cite small selected portions of previous work in a new work using the appropriate citation method. Note: Copying large portions or entire assignments for use in more than one course or academic assignment is considered cheating and is not permitted. See the Self-Citation Policy for details.

What is the Coursework Resubmission Policy?

The Coursework Resubmission Policy allows students who are retaking a Purdue Global course after a failed attempt to resubmit previous coursework with proper citation and advance notice to the instructor. Read the Coursework Resubmission Policy for more information. Note: This policy does not apply to Concord Law students.

What about programs that automatically format papers according to APA standards?

Most automatic formatting programs and citation generators rely heavily on the users’ ability to plug in information correctly; therefore, these types of tools should be used sparingly and cautiously and usually only after the user has a basic understanding of APA style. The Writing Center recommends Academic Writer, which has templates for APA formatting.

What documentation style should I use at work?

There are many citation styles, and your field of work determines which to use or how you reference other source material. It is important to remember to always give credit to the work and ideas of others.

What about citing images?

Like other types of research, photographs, tables, or charts borrowed or copied directly from a source have to be cited both in the text (or in a figure note) and on a reference list. There are two situations when you do not have to credit an image: if you use your own photography and if you use a photograph from a site that allows for use without attribution. However, if you use an image that does require attribution, you will do that in a note below the image and in a corresponding reference citation. Learn more by reading “Formatting Graphics and Visuals in APA Style.”

What about common knowledge?
  • Common knowledge refers to relevant and objective information that is widely known and accepted as true by a certain group of people. Common knowledge is context specific. If information is determined to be common knowledge for your writing context, it does not need to be cited. Ask your faculty member if you are unsure.
  • Criteria for Common Knowledge: -The audience should already know this information (e.g., a red traffic light means “stop” or there are four seasons in a year). -The same information can be found in multiple, general information sources (e.g., a state flower or a state bird will be the same across general information sources). -The information comes from folklore, mythology, or well-known stories that your audience would be familiar with because of a shared culture. -The facts are well known in your field of study and will be well known to your audience.
  • Professional Experience and Common Knowledge: You may have a great deal of experience in your field, and something may be common knowledge to you but not to the audience for whom you are writing. Always be sure you adequately cite appropriate information for your academic writing and follow assignment directions. If your assignment allows, you may cite your own experience, but is may be good to cite your experience using phrasing such as the following: In my 20 years as a nurse, I have seen . . .
  • Statistics: Statistics are not common knowledge since statistical information is typically not equally represented across general information sources. The source of the statistic, either as a primary or secondary source, needs to be cited.
  • Quoting or paraphrasing another’s statement or interpretation of common knowledge: If you take a well-known fact word for word from a source, a citation and reference list entry is required to attribute the wording to the source and to avoid plagiarism. If you use another writer’s interpretation of common knowledge, that writer needs to be credited in an in-text citation and reference list entry, as the interpretation is not common knowledge or original to your writing.
How can the Writing Center help me with APA and avoiding plagiarism?

To access the Purdue Global Writing Center from the Purdue Global campus homepage, click “My Studies” then “Academic Success Center.”

  • Ask a Writing Tutor:
    • Submit a Paper or Question for Feedback by Email: You do not need to be present to receive a paper review or a response to a question. Your review or response arrives within 2 hours following the time you select on the tutor’s calendar. We are closed on University holidays.
    • Connect With a Tutor for a One-on-One Session: The ASC uses a platform called Cranium Café. Tutors have Cranium Café Cards, and when online, there is a “Knock on Door” button, and it’s as simple as that! Writing Center Tutoring is open Monday 6-10 pm ET; Tuesday 12-10 pm ET; and Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday 6-10 pm ET. We are closed on University holidays.
  • Study Studio: Find Writing Center Resources in the form of articles, videos, and podcasts that offer specific help with writing.
  • Webinars: See the Webinar Calendar for the most up to date times of writing workshops and archives on using APA, integrating sources, and avoiding plagiarism.
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