Academic Dishonesty

Falmouth High School takes Academic Dishonesty very seriously. Please refer to the Falmouth High School Student/Parent/Guardian Handbook for the school's specific rules pertaining to Academic Dishonesty.

The following are Frequently Asked Questions regarding Academic Dishonesty:

Plagiarism FAQ's

How do I know that I have plagiarized?

  • If you there is an idea, two sentences, or item in your paper or project that you didn't create and have not cited (given another source credit for), you have plagiarized.
  • When your name is on a paper you turn in, you are stating that anything in that paper that you have not cited, is your idea/intellectual property. Failing to alert the reader to what is not your idea is lying.

Does this happen accidentally?

  • Sometimes. However, accidental plagiarism is still plagiarism.

How does it happen accidentally?

  • When you cite information incorrectly or forget to cite it at all it is plagiarism.

But what"s the big deal?

  • The big deal is: Plagiarism is cheating. When you plagiarize, another person's work is being evaluated in your name. It is unfair to other students who have worked hard on their projects and presented their own ideas. It is theft of intellectual property, which is the same as downloading a movie or stealing an iPod. It is, in fact, illegal in the state of Massachusetts.

OK. How do I avoid plagiarism?

  1. Give yourself plenty of time to work on your project. You need time to ask questions, clarify assignment requirements, do the research, rewrite, and understand the material with which you are working.
  2. Take thorough notes. Be careful with your analysis. Make sure you note which information you are getting from what source. The era of "copy and paste" makes it easy to take the information that you want to use in your paper or project, but it also makes it easy to forget from where it came. WRITE THE SOURCE DOWN!
    (Tip from the pros: when you find information you want to use, paraphrase it--even if you want to use it as a quotation. Paraphrasing the idea forces you to summarize and interpret the idea in your own words. If you have trouble paraphrasing the author's argument, you don't understand it. Period. Stop and ask for help. Don"t cut and paste it to read over later in the hopes that two weeks from now, when you're putting together the project, it will magically make sense to you.
  3. Cite your sources, correctly. Anytime you use someone else's work (whether a direct quote, something you have paraphrased, a graph, facts, images, etc.) indicate this with a citation. Citations tell us what is your work and what belongs to someone else.

Do I have to cite EVERYTHING?

  • No. There are two types of things you do NOT need to cite.
    1. Your ideas, your thoughts, your graphs, your images, your films, your analysis, your summaries, your interpretations, are all yours to use as you please.
    2. You do not need to cite information that is considered common knowledge.

What is common knowledge?

  • There are two kinds of common knowledge.
  1. Facts: the fact is mentioned in five reliable reference sources and is well known in your culture.
    Examples: George Washington was the first U.S. President/There are 50 states in the United States of America/Santiago is the capital of Chile/Bears hibernate in winter.
  2. Folklore and urban legends:
    Examples: Rip Van Winkle/the story about the man who wakes up in a tub full of ice with a note on his chest telling him to call 911—his kidneys have been removed and are now for sale on the black market!

Still not sure if it's "common knowledge?" CITE IT!

WARNING!! Some believe that anything that appears on the internet is "common knowledge." This is FALSE! You need to cite any information you find based on the guidelines here.

What DO I cite?

  • Someone else's written, spoken, or documented work. Anything you have paraphrased or quoted.
  • Any information that is NOT common knowledge

When in doubt, CITE IT! Better safe than sorry.

Proper Citation Online Tutorial:

Rutgers University, University Libraries. "The Cite is Right" Online Tutorial and Quiz with a Game Show Format: