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Avoiding Plagiarism

Definition from CCCTS Student Handbook

Section 101-1038 of the Charlotte Christian College and Theological Seminary Student Handbook reads:


Plagiarism is “copying what somebody else has written or taking somebody else’s idea and trying to pass it off as original. The institution considers plagiarism a form of cheating, and requires that all written work be the student’s own original work that reflects the student’s own thoughts. As already stated, students are not to exploit the labor of others and distribute it as his/her own. Generally speaking, when using three or more consecutive words from another source, the words must be in quotations with proper credit given to the original author. In cases where students participate in a group project, each student in the group must receive equal recognition for his/her contribution.

When a student commits plagiarism, the institution automatically expels that student from the course and may expel the student from the institution. The institution will permanently bar from the institution any student caught plagiarizing or cheating for a second time. Additionally, the institution will expel from the institution any student guilty of willfully plagiarizing their Master’s Thesis.


Common Errors That Constitute Plagiarism

A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by Kate Turabian addresses some common errors in writing and citing sources which constitute plagiarism. These errors are universal and not just particular to students who employ the Turabian writing manual. These errors include:


  • “You cited a source but used its exact words without putting them in quotation marks or in block quotations”
  • “You paraphrased a source and cited it, but in words so similar to those of your source that they are almost a quotation: anyone could see that you were following the source word-by-word as you paraphrased it”
  • “You used ideas or methods from a source but failed to cite it” (Turabian 2007, 77).


A rule of thumb adopted for CCCTS students is that ‘three or more consecutive words from another source…..must be in quotations with proper credit given to the original author.” (Student Handbook, 2011).


What Plagiarism Is Not

  • Re-stating common knowledge that has been well established (Ex. Humans tend to sweat more profusely as temperatures increase, Americans declared their independence in 1776)
  • Using common cliches and proverbs (Ex. A rolling stone gathers no moss)


In these cases, it is not necessary to find a source to cite.

Test your knowledge of plagiarism using this Plagiarism PowerPoint from a CCCTS workshop and by taking an online quiz at the University of Mississippi Libraries.


Be sure to check out the Turabian Resources page or the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) Resources page to get assistance with writing styles.



(in the Turabian style)

New Life Theological Seminary, “Student Handbook, 2011-2012,” (accessed August 25, 2011).


Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Revised by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory C. Colomb and Joseph M. Williams, 7th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

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