After you formulate your research question, examine various sources of information, and write your paper, the final product should be uniquely yours. If you decide to use the exact words of an author you have to give that person credit. If you do not give the author appropriate credit you are guilty of plagiarism. Webster's Dictionary defines plagiarism as stealing and passing off the ideas and words of another as one's own. "Ideas or words" can include written or spoken material, statistics, lab results, art work, etc. If you have quoted a published writer or critic in a book, magazine, encyclopedia, or journal; another student at this college or elsewhere; or various Internet sites, you must give appropriate credit in your paper.
The penalty for plagiarism is determined by the professor teaching the course; more often than not, however, it will involve failure for the paper and it could mean failure for the entire course. Repeated infractions of this essential principle of academic responsibility could result in expulsion from the college. Penalties published in Capital's Student Handbook are subject to guidelines determined by the Board of Trustees of Connecticut Community Colleges.
Capital's Sample Research Papers MLA Format and APA Format give you information concerning gathering materials and documenting your work in the proper format. The guide gives you examples of citing books, encyclopedia articles, journals, newspapers, interviews, audio-visual materials and radio or television broadcasts. Both printed and electronic sources are covered. Copies of both the MLA and APA sample papers are available in the library.