Online Style Guide

Online Style Guide

Use the links below for information on style, research and citations.


LeTourneau University takes a strong stand against plagiarism by our students. We offer a Christian-based learning environment that promotes Christian principles. These principles cover all aspects of student life at LeTourneau University, including academic and personal conduct. We are known for graduating students with strong academic, work, and character ethics. The highest standards of conduct are created and adhered to for all LeTourneau University academic policies.

What is Plagiarism?

According to Dictionary.com, plagiarism is "an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author's work as one's own, as by not crediting the original author."

There are various forms of plagiarism, but the most common is written text. In the case of written plagiarism, no proper credit is given to the original author for their written text; it is simply rewritten as original text.

One of the best ways to avoid plagiarizing written text is to use quotation marks and/or cite the original creator in a footnote or a works cited page. Another way to avoid plagiarism is to reference the original author in the text itself, like the Wikipedia citation written in the previous paragraph.

The second most common example of plagiarism is changing the sentence structure around while keeping the same words.

Additional examples of plagiarism include using someone else's ideas without giving proper credit to the original creator or using part of another person's writings to write a paper. Plagiarism is also using another person's outline instead of developing an original outline.

Using another person's computer code and passing it off as an original creation is committing plagiarism.

Please note that plagiarism also applies to information found on the web.

It's important to remember that when using an idea or rewriting someone else's original content from any medium, proper credit must be given to the original creator. It must clearly indicate where the original information is from or it violates plagiarism laws.

What's Wrong with Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is considered academic theft and academic cheating. Besides stealing from the original author, a student is robbing him or herself of the opportunity to learn and showcase that knowledge. The point of creating term papers, taking exams, etc. is to show comprehension. When a student plagiarizes they are missing out on a pivotal component of their education.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Any time you use another author's:

  • Words
  • Declarations
  • Ideas
  • Opinions
  • Theories
  • Facts
  • Statistics
  • Graphs
  • Drawings
  • Computer code

You should give full credit and cite that author.

Fair Use Guidelines

In the event of plagiarism, LeTourneau University will follow Fair Use Guidelines as outlined by the U.S. Copyright Office and view each case of plagiarism individually, on a case-by-case basis. That means we will take into account:

  • The amount of work that was copied, how it was used, and how important the use of it is.
  • The effect it has on previously stated copyright laws. For example, some sources will state that anyone is free to use their material up to a certain number of words, along with a cited reference. But after a certain number of words are used, it is required to get written permission from the author(s). Without the written permission, it doesn't matter if you give credit to the author or not, you are violating plagiarism laws.
  • The effect, if any, the plagiarism will have on the direct sales market /audience of the original author and if any adverse effects occurred.

For more information on Fair Use Guidelines outlined by the Federal government, please visit www.copyright.gov.

Plagiarism Detection Software

There are many plagiarism detection software programs available to help ensure you don't accidentally plagiarize. These software programs are set to pull through the databases of Google and other major search engines to locate the original source, cross reference it to your material, and advise the level (if any) of plagiarism.

Some of these programs also offer spelling and grammar checks as well as punctuation errors. Investing in plagiarism detection software may be a smart choice for your college career. Most of the programs offer a free trial.

LeTourneau University does not tolerate plagiarism, and the consequences can include receiving a failing grade for the course up to suspension from the university. In severe cases, the offenders may receive a permanent discharge.

For more information on plagiarism, please visit www.plagiarism.org. If you have any questions that cannot be answered using the above resources, we encourage you to contact your class instructor for resolution.