Step 1:

The first thing you and your partner need to do is understand the crime you have been accused of:  plagiarism.

Step 2:

Now that you understand the crime, you need to understand why you were accused in the first place.  Why do students plagiarize? List as many reasons as possible to explain why students plagiarize their research papers.

Step 3:

When investigating a crime, you need all the facts.  In this case, you need to realize how much of a problem it is in schools.

Use this link to answer these questions:

  1. Can you plagiarize from yourself?
  2. Were there any statistics that you found significant and/or surprising? List at least 4.

Step 4:

Did you know that plagiarism is not just a problem in schools.  There have been many famous cases involving politicians, musicians, writers, and other celebrities.  Summarize two in your orientation notebook and state the outcome.  In other words, what happened to the person(s) accused of plagiarism?  This could happen to you if you are found guilty of plagiarism.


Music Cases:

Three Boys Music vs. Michael Bolton

Spector vs. George Harrison

Vanilla Ice

If interested in other music cases, click here.

Writer Cases:

Jayson Blair-NY Times

Ambrose plagiarism

Doris Kearns Goodwin 

Political Cases:

Joseph Biden

As you have seen in the real world, a plagiarist can lose their job, ruin their reputation and pay a lot of money to the victim when sued.  As a Special Agent of the R-Files, you must understand the consequences of your local field office (school).

In the Student Conduct and Building Expectations of the student planner, CYMS expects students to “demonstrate academic honesty and integrity by avoiding plagiarism,” but it does not specify the specific consequences.  The consequences are at the discretion of the teacher.  To find out what my expectations are, please take a look at the syllabus (look under Academic Honesty).

Step 6:

If you think that plagiarism only happens at CYMS, take a look at some local colleges.  Look under Academic Dishonesty to see what can happen if a professor suspects a student of plagiarism at Millersville University?

What about York College’s policy? Look at the bottom of the page under Academic Dishonesty.

Step 7:

Now you must become familiar with the four types of plagiarism.  List them in your field notes and briefly describe them in your own words.  Remember – you have already been falsely accused of plagiarizing your memo; you don’t want that accusation to be authenticated now.

What are the four types of plagiarism?

What is cybercheating and why is it considered plagiarism?


Step 8:

Have you wondered why this confidential snitch would accuse you of plagiarism? Did you know that teachers, professors and confidential snitches can use commercial services to check for plagiarized papers.  Look at these two services and explain how this service prevents and detects plagiarism.


Step 9:

Your next task is to discover how to avoid plagiarism.  You will have to use this information to defend yourself and to teach others about the prevention of this crime. 


Use this link to answer the following questions:

  1. What does it mean to cite sources?
  2. When should you cite sources?
  3. What should every citation include?


Use this link to answer the following questions: Avoiding Plagiarism

  1. What things do you have to give credit for if they belong to or were created by someone? (there are 12 things listed)
  2. Why must you avoid plagiarism?
  3. What is common knowledge? Do you have to cite the source? Why or why not?
  4. When do you have to use quotations?
  5. What is paraphrasing?

Did you know that the copyright law protects us from “intellectual theft” and that plagiarists can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony? It doesn’t matter how much or what you copied, the intention of the use of the material, or how you use it (paraphrase, quotes, etc).  You must always cite your sources.


Step 10:

You are almost an expert on plagiarism, but the last thing you want to do is show up at your hearing and not be able to tell the difference between an example of plagiarism and an example of what is not plagiarism.  Take this real life scenario quiz.  Record your answers to the ten questions in your field notes or you may print out this quiz.