Plagiarism Policy


Big Bang and Black Holes

In both the regular portion of this course (ASTR/PHYS 109) and the lab portion (ASTR/PHYS 119 - if you are taking it) there will be multiple opportunities for writing. To be clear at the outset, PLAGIARISM WILL NOT BE TOLERATED IN THIS COURSE! All papers and lab reports will compared to a large database of papers and other webpages to test for the authenticity of your work BEFORE it will be considered for a grade. To help with this process we will be checking all papers with using eLearning. If your paper is found to have been copied from another source, even in part, you will be asked to resubmit with the possibility of academic sanctions being taken. If you are concerned or unclear, please do not hesitate to contact us and discuss your concern. We aren't interested in CATCHING people, we're interested in you learning exciting science and conveying it in a way which is academically acceptable. We WANT work with you to make sure everything is ‘ok’ before your final submission is made. Further information on the Aggie Honor Code and the university plagiarism policy can be found at

Notes for ASTR/PHYS 109 - Regular Sections: In the main part of the class you will be asked to write a number of papers in which you will have to take ideas that have been presented in lecture, in the reading, or in your own research, and “re-tell” that story in your own words. Since you are writing an essay in your own words, you will have no opportunities to cite other work so you will need to make sure all the words are your own. To help in this process make the difference clear to everyone, and to avoid having to expel anyone for plagiarizing (which we have had to do in the past), below we have defined better what is meant by plagiarism, some examples of plagiarism, and other information about when a source needs to be cited. While we hope students will discuss their work with their fellow Aggies, The most common "borderline" problem occurs when two students discuss their papers and both turn in two very similar papers

Notes for ASTR/PHYS 109 - Honors Sections: In the honors portion of the course, you will be expected to provide a list of places from which you derived information.

Notes for ASTR/PHYS 119:For the laboratory portion of this class, you are allowed to work in pairs as you collect data, and help assist in analyzing the data. However, the work submitted must be your own. This includes the data, graphs, figures, tables, conclusions and text. You are not to borrow text from the lab manual. While we hope students will discuss their work with their fellow Aggies, The most common "borderline" problem occurs when two students discuss their work and both turn in two very similar papers, in particular virtually identical graphs and tables. Note that doing this will be checked especially for the Rough Drafts since is when plagiarism most occurs for students who want to "just get something in."

Definition of Plagiarism:

The appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.


General Information Pertaining to Plagiarism: (Definitions)

Direct Quotation: Every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks or appropriate indentation and must be properly acknowledged in the text by citation or in a footnote or endnote. In general for this course, you should not need to quote others.

Paraphrase: Prompt acknowledgment is required when material from another source is paraphrased or summarized, in whole or in part, in one's own words. To acknowledge a paraphrase properly, one might state: "To paraphrase Locke's comment..." and then conclude with a footnote or endnote identifying the exact reference.  For this course, in general, paraphrasing should be avoided.

Borrowed facts: Information gained in reading or research, which is not common knowledge, must be acknowledged.

Common Knowledge:Common knowledge includes generally known facts such as the names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc., basic historical information. (e.g., George Washington was the first President of the United States.) Common knowledge does not require citation.  

Created by Jonathan Asaadi and David Toback (Last updated 01/16/15)