Criteria Used for Indiana University Plagiarism Tests

Decision rules and test hints are provided below. These are the criteria which you should apply when taking an Indiana University Plagiarism test. These criteria will help you to decide if a student version is word-for-word plagiarism, paraphrasing plagiarism, or not plagiarism.

The criteria listed below are not the only valid criteria for classifying plagiarism in every context. However, applying the criteria listed below should help you to be successful in the context of passing an Indiana University Plagiarism Test.

Decision Rules

Does the student version borrow ideas from someone else's original source material?

Yes

No

Is at least one idea taken from the original source a direct word-for-word quote of 7 or more words?

Not plagiarism:

Thus it must be common knowledge or the writer's own ideas.

Yes

No

Is the direct word-for-word quote missing any of the following:

  • quotation marks
  • full in-text citation that includes a specific locator
  • reference?

Is the paraphrased idea missing any of the following:

  • in-text citation
  • reference?

Yes

Word-for-word plagiarism

No

Not plagiarism

Yes

Paraphrasing plagiarism

No

Not plagiarism

 

For other ways of viewing this, see hints and the diagram in the Overview section.

Plagiarism Test Notes

  1. Some examples will include both word-for-word plagiarism and paraphrasing plagiarism.  If both kinds of plagiarism are present, you must choose word-for-word for a correct answer.

  2. Sneaky plagiarism is the hardest kind to detect. See examples of such patterns.

    We have seen students do this in their writing. In some places, they will paraphrase correctly, quote correctly, and cite correctly, but in other places they also include a string of 7 or more words in sequence taken from the source, or paraphrase without citation. This is still word-for-word plagiarism, if quotation marks are missing or the full in-text citation is missing which must include a specific locator (e.g., page number); or it is paraphrasing plagiarism if ideas in the source are used without clear attribution by proper citation.

    Some test takers might claim that these are "trick questions." Nonetheless, plagiarism is still plagiarism, even if disguised this way.

  3. Some people may believe that the "seven-words-in-a-row" criterion we use is too strict. Others may think it is too lenient (e.g., more than 3 words in a row from the source is word-for-word plagiarism).

  4. There should be no test question for which the right answer depends on determining if the idea taken from the original source material qualifies as "common knowledge".