Avoiding Plagiarism in Student Assignments

The Department of Marketing subscribes to the plagiarism policy that was originally developed in association with and adopted by the Management Studies Department. The policy is reproduced below for reference purposes:

I. The Department of Marketing’ Position on Plagiarism: Policy Statement

The Department of Marketing considers plagiarism to be a serious offense –it is ‘stealing’! –and we will treat it as a serious academic offense which may result in one or more of the following actions: (a) assigning an ‘F’ (i.e., zero points) to the assigned task (i.e., your ‘work’ in which the plagiarism has occurred), (b) assigning the grade of ‘F’ for the course, and (c) filing for disciplinary action for ‘scholastic dishonesty’ (see University of Minnesota Duluth Catalog, and the Student Conduct Code).

Papers (e.g., research/term papers) submitted for the fulfillment of course requirements must be a product of your creation. The purchase of papers, the use of papers or portions thereof written by others, and papers or portions of papers down-loaded from electronic sources will be considered academic misconduct resulting in a filing for disciplinary action and the receipt of an “F” for the course.

If you have doubt as to the meaning of plagiarism or if you have questions pertaining to how to avoid this serious offense this document is intended to help. In addition, please feel free to talk to any faculty member in the Department of Marketing. We are willing to help you avoid this problem. You can also get assistance from one of many writers’ style guides, faculty in the university’s composition department, or from the style guide adopted by the School of Business and Economics at the University of Minnesota Duluth --the American Psychological Associations’ (APA) Publication Manual.

II. Plagiarism

Plagiarism –What is it?

The word plagiarize is commonly defined as the act of taking and passing off as one’s own the ideas, writings, words, utterances, etc. of another. Diana Hacker (1977), author of a writing style guide ( A Pocket Style Manual) identifies three types of plagiarism: (1) failing to cite quotations and borrowed ideas; (2) failing to enclose borrowed language in quotation marks, and (3) failing to put summaries and paraphrases in your own words” (Hacker, 1997, p. 92).

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity (or Why it is ‘wrong’ to copy)

To quote Hacker (1977), “Your research paper is a collaboration between you and your sources. To be fair and ethical, you must acknowledge your debt to the writers of these sources. If you don’t, you are guilty of plagiarism, a serious academic offense” (p. 92).

Academic scholarship and therefore the mission of the university is twofold –the development (creation) and dissemination of knowledge. The first task is accomplished through research, while the second is fulfilled through teaching/lecturing and writing --the public presentation of ideas. When you are involved in a research-based class project, you too are involved in either or both of these tasks. In addition, and as noted by Hacker, you are involved in a collaborative enterprise with your sources (p. 92).

As students and professors of business we are interested in coming to understand social science phenomenon as they relate to formal organizations (e.g., human resources, management, marketing, organization). Our craft, the thoughts, ideas, hypotheses, explanations, and the theories we form, gets expressed through the words that we speak and write. Herein lies the importance and value of our words, as they are representations of us and our work. Similarly, the words and ideas of others are representations of them. This is the underlying reason for the need for proper citation -- “to be fair and ethical, you must acknowledge your debt” to the original author of an idea (Hacker, 1997, p. 92). Thus, acknowledging the ideas and representations of others by proper citation is, quite simply the ‘right thing to do’!

There is another reason why we as scholars place great concern on plagiarism. The issue plagiarism revolves around our profession. As scholars, the university and the broader society calls upon us to work on the development and transmission of new ideas. Career decisions (e.g., tenure, promotion, and job mobility) are determined, in large part, by a scholar’s ability to develop and share ideas with their colleagues, students, and society at large. To take the ideas of another and represent than as one’s own fails to give justice to their original creator.

One final reason underlies the importance of proper citation. Few of us will ever develop “truly original” work. Throughout lives as students and careers as professors, most of us will “build on the shoulders of (others)” (source unknown). Proper citation allows our readers to understand the genesis and development of our ideas. Where did the original seeds for an idea come from? Who has studied the phenomenon before? What do we (as a field) already know about the phenomenon? What does this particular work add to our body of knowledge? Proper citations allow our readers to understand the answers to these questions, and thus, the value of our work as an addition to an existing body of knowledge.

It is therefore imperative that scholars (both professors and students) learn well the art of proper citation –giving credit for the ideas of others to those others. It is also imperative that when we “borrow” the ideas of others to bolster our own, we do not claim those ideas as our own, but summarize and give credit for them to their original author.

III. Referencing Instructions –Ways to avoid ‘plagiarism’ and How to Paraphrase

“How do I avoid plagiarism?” –Quite simply cite where your thoughts and ideas come from, and use quotation marks when you use the exact words of others. In both instances identify both within the text and on your reference page the appropriate location of the materials used (see below for examples on how to reference paraphrased and quoted word).

Paraphrasing simply means that you are taking the words (ideas) expressed by another individual and recrafting those idea through the construction of your own sentences. According to Hacker (1997), “When you summarize or paraphrase, it is not enough to name the source; you must restate the source’s meaning using your own language” (p. 94). She goes on to state that “You are guilty of plagiarism if you half-copy the author’s sentences –either by mixing the author’s well-chosen phrases without using quotation marks or by plugging your own synonyms into the author’s sentence structure” (Hacker, p. 94).

Regarding ‘paraphrases’ Hacker (1977: 94-95) provides a useful example:

Original Source

“If the existence of a signing ape was unsettling for linguists, it was also startling news for animal behaviorists.” –Davis, Eloquent Animals, p. 26.

Unacceptable Borrowing of Phrases

The existence of a signing ape unsettled linguists and startled animal behaviorists (Davis, 26).

Unacceptable Borrowing of Structure

If the presence of a sign-language-using chimp was disturbing for scientists studying language, it was also surprising to scientists studying animal behavior (Davis, p. 26).

Acceptable Paraphrases

When they learned of an ape’s ability to use sign language, both linguists and animal behaviorists were taken by surprise (Davis, p. 26).

According to Flora Davis, linguists and animal behaviorists were unprepared for the news that a chimp could communicate with its trainers through sign language (p. 26).

Reference Page Citations

ALL works employed in the writing of your paper should be referenced (listed alphabetically) on a ‘reference page.’ The information contained on the reference page should enable the reader of your paper to be able to quickly and easily find the exact location of the work upon which you are drawing and the specific page(s) within that work that you are quoting.

The following illustrations are intended to show you how to handle different types of citations and within text references:

Journal Articles:

Albert, S., & Bell, G. G. 2002. Timing and music. Academy of Management Review 27:4, 574-593.

Note: the number 27 above represents the journal’s volume number, 4 is the issue number, and 574-593 represents the article’s page numbers. The issue number is not needed if the pages within a particular volume run consecutively.


James, W. 1890. The Principles of Psychology. New York: Holt Publishing


Brown, T. L. 1989. What will it take to win? Industry Week, June 19, p. 15.


O’Driscoll, M. P. Professor of Psychology, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, personal conversation, January 24, 2002.

On Line Sources:

Dunham, R. B. (1999). Organizational commitment: A multidimensional attitude. Journal of Organizational Behavior. [On-line]. Available: –here you are to specify the exact and full path– (Note: this is a not a real publication, created for illustrative purposes only)

NOTE: You must be carful in your use of ‘internet’ sources. Many internet sources are valid and reliable. Many, however, are not! Virtually anyone can put up a web page that says anything that they want it to say –without any regard for the truth, accuracy, or validity of the assertion.

It is NOT appropriate to use people’s personal web pages as academic sources. Always look at the source of the website before you use it. If the source is credible (i.e., academic publications on the web, government pages) then use it, but provide a full citation.

It is also important to note that the web is not complete, it is just one source. There is a great deal of valuable literature that is not available electronically.

For any piece of information that you take from the internet for use in your paper, that does not come from one of the ‘on-line’ refereed journals you must do the following:

a. List the source (complete and full reference so that anyone reading your paper could easily find and access the reference that you employed –specify the exact ‘path’ to the materials employed;

b. Cite when the item/source was published and last up-dated;

c. Identify the person or organization that placed the material on the net;

d. If a person, identify what their position (role) is and the organization with whom they are affiliated (what type of organization is it, what is its mission);

e. If an organization, identify who the organization is – what is its purpose in being is, what type of organization it is, ...

f. Comment on why this information was created and why it was placed on the internet.

Use of References within the Text of your Paper

The following examples reflect the writer’s ‘paraphrasing,’ summarizing, the work of others without directly quoting their work.

There are two acceptable ways of handling references within the text of your paper.

1. Include the author’s name as a part of the written sentence. For example: Pierce, Rubenfeld, and Morgan (1991), in a review of the employee ownership literature, theorize that formal ownership may produce positive attitudinal and behavioral effects through psychologically experienced ownership.

2. Parenthetically include the reference in the written sentence. Two illustrations are provided:

a. Several studies (e.g., Dittmar, 1992; Kubzansky & Druskat, 1993; Kostova, 1996) provide insight into the powerful role played by feelings of possession.

b. Ownership and the rights that come with it allow individuals to explore and alter their environment, thus satisfying their innate need to be efficacious (Beggan, 1991; Furby, 1980; White, 1959).

Quotations within the Text

The following illustrates several different, appropriate and acceptable ways to handle material that is directly quoted from the works of others. All work that employs the ‘word-for wording’ of others MUST be quoted, and listed on your reference list. Examples include the following:

a. As Weil (1952) states, “to have a place is an important need of the human soul” (p. 41).

b. As Weil states, “to have a place is an important need of the human soul” (1952, p. 41).

c. “To have a place is an important need of the human soul” (Weil, 1952, p. 41).

Please note that the placement of the author’s name (Weil), the year of the publication (1952), and the page number that the quote appeared on in the original text (p. 41) have a different placement in the three illustrations of a quotation that appears in the text.

A Unique Quoting and Referencing Situation

Suppose that you are reading an article written by Pierce, Kostova, and Dirks (2001) and they are quoting the work of Weil (1952), and you are interested in using Weil’s observation in the writing of your paper. Who do you cite? How do you handle this reference?

So long as you are quoting Weil’s work, you only need to place Weil’s reference on you list of references. [This source should appear in Pierce et al.’s (2001) references.] It is not necessary to indicate that it came out of the Pierce et al., article, as you have Weil’s exact words, and not Pierce et al.,’s interpretation of Weil’s observations.

If, on the other hand, you are commenting upon Pierce et al.,’s interpretation of Weil’s work, then you should cite both the work of Pierce, et al., and Weil. For example –Pierce et al., (2001), commenting upon the work of Weil (1952) observe that people have an innate need to have a place in which to ‘dwell’ –home appears to provide a person with a place of safety, physical and psychological comfort. One can be at home, for example, in one’s house, in one’s community, and in one’s own language.

IV. The Quality of Your Papers

In large part, the quality of the paper that you write and what you learn in the process is a product of the quality of the references that you draw upon. Not all printed sources are of equal quality (reliability and validity). Draw from the best possible sources. Recommendations for reputable and high quality sources can be obtained from professors within the discipline that you are writing for.


Albert, S., & Bell, G. G. 2002. Timing and music. Academy of Management Review, 27: 574-593.

Beggan, J. K. 1991. Using what you own to get what you need: The role of possessions in satisfying control motivation. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 6:6, 129-146.

Brown, T. L. 1989. What will it take to win? Industry Week, June 19.

Dittmar, H. 1992. The social psychology of material possessions: To have is to be. New York: St. Martin Press.

Furby, L. 1980. The origins and early development of possessive behavior. Political Psychology, 2:1: 30-42.

Hacker, D. 1977. A pocket style manual. Boston, MA: Bedford Books, St. Martin’s Press.

James, W. 1890. The principles of psychology. New York: Holt Publishing.

Kostova, T. 1996. Success of the transnational transfer of organizational practices within MNEs. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota: Minneapolis, MN.

Kubzansky, P. E., & Druskat, V. U. 1993. Psychological sense of ownership: conceptualization and measurement. A paper presented at the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada, August.

O’Driscoll, M. P. Professor of Psychology, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, personal conversation, January 24, 2002.

Pierce, J. L., Kostova, T., & Dirks, K. T. 2001. Towards a theory of psychological ownership in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 26: 298-310.

Pierce, J. L., Rub Acenfeld, S., & Morgan, S. 1991.ademy of Management Review, 16: 121-144.

Weil , S. 1952. The need for roots: Prelude to a declarationof duties towards mankind. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd.

White, R. W. 1959. Motivation reconsidered: The concept of competence. Psychological Review, 66: 297-330.