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Plagiarism Workshop: Case #3

This guides addresses plagiarism in a number of ways. Primarily it serves to educate in-coming students on what constitutes plagiarism and informs them of the policies and procedures for those students accused of acts of plagiarism.

Case #3

Case 3



Stuart Lavaman, a student taking a Geology class hands in a short paper.  The assignment states that at least one cited reference must be from a scholarly (refereed) journal.  One part of the paper includes the following quote:


“The explosive birth of a cone 6,900 feet up Etna's southeast flank hurls ash and hot rock. Sound waves rattled windows 20 miles away” (Pinna).


Included in the endnotes is the following:


Pinna, Marco. “Etna Ignites.” Journal of Volcanology & Geothermal Research 201.2 (2002), 68-87.


No other journal sources are listed (only books and web sites).  The instructor looks up the citation and cannot find the article in the Journal of Volcanology & Geothermal Research.  However, the instructor finds an article by that title and author in National Geographic that contains the exact passage quoted in the paper.  In fact, the citation is correct for the article with the exception of the journal name and publisher information.  The citation should have been:


Pinna, Marco. “Etna Ignites.” National Geographic 201.2 (2002), 68-87.


National Geographic is not a scholarly (refereed) journal.  The instructor failed Stuart on the paper. 


Was this a case of plagiarism?  Should Stuart have failed the assignment?  Be prepared to justify your answers to the class.


Case #3