Pen and paper plagiarism knowledge test from CRLT at the University of Michigan

TAKE THE PLAGIARISM TEST

DIRECTIONS:  Read this passage from Bruce Catton's The Civil War, pg. 285, New York: Fairfax Press, 1980.

"On Good Friday evening, April 14 -- driven by an insane compulsion of hatred and perverted loyalty to a cause which he had never felt obliged to fight for as a soldier -- Booth strode into the President's box at Ford's Theatre in Washington, fired a bullet into Lincoln's brain, vaulted from the box to the stage, and rode off desperately through the night, fancying that if he could just reach Confederate territory he would be hailed as a hero and a savior."

  1. What of the paragraph is "common knowledge"?


     
  2. Is this correctly done or has some plagiarism taken place?
    Booth shot Lincoln in the head then jumped onto the stage, escaped from Ford's Theatre, and rode off into the night.  He dreamed that if he could only reach the South he would be called a demigod by the Confederates.


     
  3. Is this correctly done or has some plagiarism taken place?
    John Wilkes Booth chose Good Friday to strike his first blow as a so-called soldier for the South.  On the night of April 14, 1865 he murdered President Lincoln in the Ford's Theatre.


     
  4. Is this correctly done or has some plagiarism taken place?
    John Wilkes Booth murdered President Lincoln in the Ford's Theatre then jumped onto the stage and left the building.  Although Booth never fought in the Confederate Army he was driven by "an insane compulsion of hatred and perverted loyalty" when he broke the peace of that Good Friday evening (Catton, 1980).


     
ANSWERS
  1. Booth shot Lincoln in the head at the Ford's Theatre then jumped onto the stage and attempted to escape by riding away.  A general idea of motives is common knowledge, that is, his motive to kill Lincoln as an aide to the Confederacy, but his specific expectation of being hailed as a "hero and a savior" is probably not generally known.
  2. This is simply a loose paraphrasing of Catton's words.  Since no credit is given to Catton for the ideas, this is indeed plagiarism.
  3. This highlights little known facts of the assassination such as that it took place on Good Friday, that Booth never fought for the Confederacy, and the specific date.  Since those facts are not common knowledge and are not credited to Catton, this too is plagiarism.
  4. In this case the items of common knowledge are listed, properly, without reference to Catton.  The direct quote from Catton is in quotation marks but the citation does not appear until the end of the sentence.  That indicates that both those specific words and those specific facts (that Booth was never a soldier and Good Friday) are Catton's.

The original source of this test is unknown.  This version was adapted from the Handbook on Departmental GSI Development, CRLT, University of Michigan, 1999.

Page maintained by Doreen Bradley
Last modified: 10/06/2014