Skip to main content

Handbook for Historians

Guide to writing research papers for the History Department at Le Moyne College

What is Plagiarism?


Le Moyne College defines plagiarism as “the attempt to fulfill an academic requirement by using the ideas, words or work of another person and representing them as one’s own.  Academic conventions dictate that students and scholars must acknowledge the source of the phrases and ideas that are not their own. Many ideas and phrases are so familiar that they have become the common property of all; these obviously require no documentation. However, the use of ideas or phrases that are clearly original with another author requires that the appropriate credit be given to the original author.”

Le Moyne College mandates strict penalties for plagiarism because “plagiarism undermines that basic relationship of trust that must exist between teacher and student and among students for the educational process to work. For this reason, penalties for plagiarism range from failure on the assignment to expulsion from the College.”

The Department of History takes plagiarism very seriously because the copying of another person's words, or the use of his/her ideas, without acknowledgment is both legally and morally wrong. To copy verbatim a sentence from a book, or to appropriate another scholar's ideas without attribution (even though the wording has been changed – paraphrased) may or may not be deliberate, but they are still examples of plagiarism and must be avoided. To purchase a previously written term paper from a corporation or a private individual, and then to claim it as your own, is the worst sort of deliberate plagiarism. Therefore, you should expect professors in the History Department to use TurnItIn.com.  As well, you should bear in mind that in history courses at Le Moyne College the penalty for plagiarism is failure for the course, not just for the plagiarized assignment, and notification of the Dean of Arts and Sciences.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Read carefully the page on Citations for guidelines on citing your sources properly.