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Academic Policies

Academic Policies

All first year Apprentices should take the course "Writing and Citing: How to Not Plagiarize" in the Lore Department as one of their first courses!


Part A: What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism means borrowing and using someone else’s work without giving them credit. Or, as the dictionary defines it, “passing off as one’s own the ideas or words of another.” Plagiarism applies to words and ideas.

Words and ideas are a kind of “intellectual property.” This means they are something that was created in one person’s mind, and so are the property of that person.

There are many kinds of plagiarism.

The least damaging kind is when an Apprentice simply doesn’t realize she needs to cite a source, or cites it incompletely. In other words, when she makes an honest mistake and fails to give proper credit to the creator of a certain work.

The very worst kind is when an Apprentice blatantly uses someone else’s material. For example:


• Buying a term paper


• Copying someone else’s work


• Cutting and pasting material from a web site (or copying from a book)


Plagiarism in the Grey School is considered to be one kind of cheating. Cheating in the Grey School is not acceptable, and may lead to Apprentices being disciplined or dismissed.

But, we don’t want it to come to that! Most times, when people plagiarize, they do so accidentally, usually by failing to properly cite material that should have been cited.

In this mini-lesson, you’ll learn how to avoid plagiarism in your Grey School work.


Part B: How do you avoid plagiarism?

This is actually quite simple! Whenever possible, do your own original work for exams, homework, challenges, House/Lodge projects, and other school activities. Your own work draws from your unique experiences and knowledge. Most of the time, this is what your teachers are interested in seeing! Next be sure that you properly quote, paraphrase, and/or cite all sources used for exams, homework, challenges, House/Lodge projects, and other school activities. When you use the work or ideas of others, you must give them credit.In summary: Do your own work, and when you use information or ideas created by other people, give them credit. If you pay attention to these two simple guidelines, you’ll be on the right track.

Part C: Why do we use sources?

You may need to use sources to help you with an assignment, or as part of a specific research task: a paper, a challenge, etc. At times, it is important to use the work of experts to support your own thoughts and ideas. Sources should only be used to add more to your own knowledge—not to replace it! When you get an assignment that asks you to do research, one way to begin is to make a list or outline that shows you what you already know. Then, go ahead and start your research, using sources to fill in the gaps.

Your final product should always be composed mostly of your own thoughts and ideas—sources are simply used to support your own questions and conclusions, not to replace them!

Part D: Is cutting and pasting ever okay? How can I avoid it?

Ninety-nine percent of the time, no. The only time it’s okay is if you’re using a small amount (1-3 lines) of quoted text. You should only use quoted text when the material is special enough that you want to preserve the exact words. If you quote text, the quote must be enclosed in quotation marks. The quoted material must also be cited in your Works Cited list.


Example of an acceptable use of quoted text:


Prof. Kingsley said, “After a lifetime as a fish owner, I can tell you that they are dependability good at swimming. Their only drawback is they are usually too small to ride, and they are always wet!”

Question: Is it okay to cut-and-paste a large chunk of text from the Internet (or a book) and use it in your work, as long as you cite it?

Answer: No, it’s not. Your instructors don’t want you to answer questions by telling them what someone else said. They want to know what you think. You also should never use more than 1-3 lines of quoted text (see above).

Most of the time, you’ll want to paraphrase the sources that you use. Paraphrasing means finding a good source and then restating the source’s content in your own words. This does not mean that you can cut-and-paste the source and simply rearrange the words, or replace some of the words with synonyms! Paraphrasing means that you fully restate the contents.

To create a paraphrase, do this:

1. Read the source carefully. Read it again. Read it as many times as necessary to completely understand and internalize its meaning.

2. Now, set it down (put it where you can’t see it), and in your own words, summarize what the author said. Make sure to capture the main points, but explain it in your own words, as if you were explaining the source to a friend over a nice hot cup of tea.

3. Congratulations! You’ve created a paraphrase!


As an example, let’s look back at the text we referred to earlier:

Prof. Kingsley said, “After a lifetime as a fish owner, I can tell you that they are dependability good at swimming. Their only drawback is they are usually too small to ride, and they are always wet!”

Here is an example of an acceptable paraphrase of the above, restated in a new form:

According to Professor Kingsley, wet fish—with their excellence in swimming—tend to be too small to ride. Otherwise, they make great pets.

Question: When you create a paraphrase, do you still have to cite the original source?


Answer: Absolutely! Even though the paraphrase is in your own words, you used someone else’s work to create it, so you must still give them credit.

Since paraphrases are not exact words, they are not enclosed in quotation marks.


Part E: How should I cite my sources? And why bother?

There are two reasons for citing sources! One, it’s part of avoiding plagiarism, and two, for people who read your work and become interested in the topic(s), they can use the sources as a starting point for finding out more. All Grey School students are expected to cite sources.

This is a standard part of all student work. And don’t worry — it’s not that hard to do. Just follow the examples given below and you’ll be fine. These models—for citing a book, web site, magazine, and Grey School class—are simplified, yet provide enough detail to verify the source.



Author (First author is cited as LN [last name], FN [first name]; additional authors are cited as FN LN). Book Title (italicized). year of publication. (Note: initials may be used instead of the full FN)


Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic. 1988.

Lindahl, Carl, John McNamara, and John Lindow. Medieval Folklore. A Guide to Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs. 2002.


Web sites:

LN, FN of author (if available). “Name of Site” (find this at the top of the web page; put it in quotes), URL. Date (if available; this is sometimes located at the page bottom)


With author:

Stein, Frank B. “Aberdeen Bestiary.” 2006.

If no author:

Grey School of Wizardry - 2016-09-15, 8:19 AM / 96

“Aberdeen Bestiary.” 2006.



Author (LN, FN; additional authors are cited as FN LN). “Story Title” (in quotes). Magazine Title (in caps, italicized). Month and year of publication.


Brown, Michelle. “Bats: the Cutest Superheroes You Never Met.” Pangaia. January-March, 2005.

Grey School Class Materials:

Instructor’s name (LN, FN). “Name of Class.”

Other sources:

For other kinds of sources (such as personal conversations, films, maps, illustrations, etc.), try to include the author or speaker’s name, a title, a date, etc.

Also note that you will certainly be required to cite sources in mundane school, too. So this is good practice!


Part F: How do I create a Works Cited list?

At the bottom of your assignment, challenge, or paper, create a list with the header, “Works Cited.” List your sources alphabetically.

Here is an example of how your Work Cited list might look for a class in Beast Mastery:

Work Cited

“Aberdeen Bestiary.”

Brown, Michelle. “Bats: the Cutest Superheroes You Never Met.” Pangaia. January-March, 2005.

Bob, Prof. Bobbington. “Beast Magick 101.”


Part G: Do I always have to cite sources?


If you use any work from any source, it must be cited.

This is true for formal class assignments and papers, and it’s also true for simpler things, like House Challenges.

Think of it this way: imagine that you wrote a really good essay and posted it to your blog or web site. Then, imagine that you found out that someone else had cut-and-pasted it and then used it without citing you as its creator. In other words, the person allowed their readers to believe that it was their work (instead of yours). How would you feel?

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