POLS 330-1: Bureaucracy and the Policy Process

Fall 2007

M/W/F 10:00 – 10:50 AM

DuSable 252     

 

Instructor: Ms. Georgette Dumont

Email: gdumont@niu.edu

Office: DuSable 476

Phone: (815) 753-1818

Office hours:  Wednesday 8:00 – 9:30 AM

                        Friday 8:00 – 9:30 AM, and by appointment

 

 

Course Objective 

            This class will looks at the role of the public bureaucracy in the formation and implementation of public policy. This will include the interaction of public agencies with other levels and branches of government, as well as the interaction of bureaucracy with nonprofit organizations, interest groups, and the media.  Special attention will be paid to the tools bureaucracies use in the call for efficient government.  At the conclusion of the class, you will be able to identify how the bureaucracy responds to each of the aforementioned actors and the importance of each in the implementation of American public policy.  In addition, you will know the different ways you can influence the bureaucracy and public policy.

 

Course Materials 

            Course text: Stillman, Richard (2004).  The American Bureaucracy: The Core of Modern                              Government, 2nd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.

            Supplemental Material: There will be articles that will be available through JSTOR and                                 ArticleFirst as well as select book chapters.  For your convenience, this material will be linked on     Blackboard.

 

In addition to the texts, students are required to create accounts on the Blackboard Course Server (http://webcourses.niu.edu) during the first week of class.  This site will be utilized for posting on-line readings, important course announcements, student grades, other course materials as well as a tool for you to communicate with me and your classmates.

 

Calculation of Grades

Your grade in this course will consist of your performance on two exams (a midterm and a final exam), two homework assignments, one research paper, and class participation.  The following is a breakdown of how the grades will be determined:

Class participation

25 points

            The grading scale is as follows:

Blackboard postings

25 points

360 – 400 – A

 

Case study talking points

50 point

320 – 359 – B

 

 

Homework #1

10 points

280 – 319 – C

 

 

Homework #2

20 points

240 – 279 – D

 

 

Homework #3

20 points

       < 240 – F

 

 

Midterm Exam

50 points

 

 

Research Paper

100 points

 

 

Final Exam

100 points

 

 

 

400 points

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To calculate your grade, simply add the total points earned to determine how many more points you need to get your desired grade.

 

 

Class Policies

Attendance: There is a strong positive correlation between class attendance and student performance.  Being in class affords you the opportunity to ask questions and learn from your fellow students.  Noting this, it is strongly recommended, but not required, that you attend class.  An attendance sheet will be passed around at the beginning of each class.  Its purpose is for me to keep track of those who are attending on a regular basis.  This is needed in helping my to decide you final grade in case you are on the cusp between two grades. For instance, if you are close to earning a B, but in the higher C range, if you have attended classes regularly (less than three absences) then you are more apt to receive a B for your final grade.  If you have not attended on a regular basis, the grade would be a C.

As noted on the syllabus, 50 of the 400 possible points you can earn in this class are based on participation.  If you are not in class, you cannot participate, and therefore you do not earn those points.  In addition, even if you are in class, and do not participate, you only earn a fraction of those points, since simply being in class is not considered participation.

If you need any more clarification, please let me know. 

Tardiness: I expect all students to get to class on time and remain in class for the duration of the class period.  If you are late, you will be marked absent.

Late assignments/make-up exams: I do not accept late work, nor do I offer make-up exams.  If you have a situation that requires an exception, you must notify me well in advance and be prepared to produce documentation.  This means do not ask for an extension the week the assignment is due!

Course Communications: Students have an obligation to activate and monitor their NIU email account.  This account will be used for out-of-class communication as well as Blackboard.

Class Discussion: As noted above, 50 of the 400 possible points you can earn in this class are based on participation.  I do understand that some people are not apt to speak up in groups – especially large groups like our class.  Therefore, participation pints are broken into two subgroups – in class and Blackboard. 

 

Half the points (25) are based on class discussion – contributing meaningful comments on the subject at hand.  The other 25 points are earned through posts on Blackboard.

In the discussion board section, you are expected to post one article a week that relates to bureaucracy and comment on it AND you must comment on at least one other article posted by another student. So at the least - you should be making two postings per week. If there are any posts to your article, please respond to it. Make sure all articles are posted and responded to by Thursday night!  All posts are worth one point. To earn this point, your articles/replies/responses have to be relevant to the bureaucracy.  The maximum number of points one can earn in a week through posting is 3.  The maximum points that can be earned through posting for the semester is 25.
Issues raised in these articles will be discussed in class on Fridays.

Case Study “Talking Points”: Each Friday we will be applying what was discussed that week to current topic/ real life situations so that you will be able to appreciate the role and importance of the bureaucracy in every-day life.  Each Talking Point memo is worth 5 points.  The maximum points that can be earned through Talking Point memos for the semester is 50.

 

Each of the case studies will be in one of two formats: a pre-assigned case study where the material you are expected to work from is posted on Blackboard, or a current events case study.  For the latter, make sure you come to class prepared to discuss current events and what is going on in the news related to the American bureaucracy topic for that week.  Be sure to get different points of view on the topics.  In other words, do not take what CNN or FOX News says is “the undeniable truth.”  I want you to gather information on a couple different perspectives on the issue you will be discussing. The issue can be an expansion of your blackboard posting.  However, make sure that it is more than just one article and your views on it. 

 

            Please have a “talking points” page with the following info:

                        Your name

Issue you are focusing on (i.e. immigration, state budget implications, etc.)

Sources used (please provide me with a copy of all sources used.  If you gained interest of the topic from a news channel – CNN, Fox, MSNBC, CSPAN – please go to their website and print whatever material you can find on what you saw.).

                        Key/ talking points on each (pros and cons) and the relation to bureaucracy and week’s topic

                        Any “notable quotes”

 

This will be handed in at the end of class. This should be one page with a bulleted format

Cell Phones: No cell phone use during class.  This includes not only calls but text messaging, internet browsing, and instant messaging as well.  Please turn your cell phones off

Behavior: I expect professional decorum in the classroom at all times.  Do not read the newspaper, talk to your friends or sleep during class. Do not come to class late or leave early.  All of these actions are not only rude to your teacher and peers, but are also not acceptable in a college setting.  

Academic Dishonesty: The maintenance of academic honesty and integrity is of vital concern to the Department of Political Science and the University community. Any student found guilty of academic dishonesty will face both academic and disciplinary sanctions.  It is each student’s responsibility to become familiar with this section of the University's Academic Integrity policy of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Advising Handbook, and to follow it. 

Disabilities: Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities.  NIU’s CAAR’s mission ensures that people with disabilities "are viewed on the basis of ability, not disability" and that their needs will be met in order to ensure an environment of equal opportunity.   Students should inform the instructor of any such needs, and have the needs verified through the Center for Access-Ability Resources, Health Services [Fourth Floor: Phone: (815) 753-1303] during the first two weeks of the semester.

Obligations – I expect you to arrive to class on time and prepared.  This means to make sure you have completed the readings before class.  This means be ready to answer the question noted above each reading on the syllabus.  The questions can (and will) be posed to you in different ways: quizzes, blackboard discussions, or class discussions.  If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.  I will make myself available to help you outside of class or office hour times if necessary.

Class Paper:  There is one 10-15 page research paper for this class.  The paper will be due by November 19.  As noted above, it will not be accepted if handed in late.   The paper topic is discussed in more detail below.

Undergraduate Academic Awards: The department of political science offers award opportunities to undergraduates, both those who major or minor in political science as well as those who do not.  A list of the awards is available on the department’s website, or through this link.

Department of Political Science website: Students are strongly encouraged to visit the political science department’s website for information.  This site is up-to-date with information that will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, exploring graduate studies, researching career options, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. For important information on the Department of Political Science, please visit: http://polisci.niu.edu/

 

Class Schedule:*

August 27: Introduction

                        Review class syllabus

                        Blackboard overview

 

August 29: The Structure of American government

            What is the basic structure of the American Government, and why does it matter?

Readings:  Skim all the PDFs on the American government at this link: http://www.unclefed.com/EduStuff/AmGovt/index.html.   

 

August 31: Case Study: Current events – What are some of the news items that you see as related to American bureaucracy? 

            “Talking points” page on this case is due at the end of class.

 

 

Homework assignment #1 due: Certified completion of the Online Tutorial on Academic Integrity, available at: http://www.ai.niu.edu/ai/students/.

Your name must be printed on the completion document! Worth 5 points.*

 

September 3: No Class

 

September 5: The American bureaucracy

            What is the American Bureaucracy?

                        Read: Stillman Ch 1, pgs 1-7

                     

September 7: Current events – What are some of the news items that you see as related to American bureaucracy? 

                        Please have a “talking points” page, which will be handed in at the end of class.

 

September 10: Bureaucratic Myths and Realities

            What are the myths of American Bureaucracy and how can they affect citizen’s view of government?

                        Read: Stillman Ch 1, pgs 7-29

 

September 12: Bureaucratic Myths and Realities, cont.

            What myths do you hear in the news today?  What are the circumstances?

                       

September 14: Case Study: Walter Reed Medical Center, available on Blackboard.

                        “Talking points” page on this case is due at the end of class.

 

September 17: Politics-Administration Dichotomy

            What is the dichotomy, and why does it matter?

Read: Wilson, Woodrow 1887.  The Study of AdministrationPolitical Science Quarterly, Vol. 2,             No. 2 , pp. 197-222.  Available on Blackboard.

Dimock, Marshall 1937.  The Study of AdministrationThe American Political Science Review, Vol. 31, No. 1, pp. 28-40. Available on Blackboard.

 

September 19: Politics-Administration Dichotomy, cont.

            What is the “Administrative State”? How does it fit into the politics-administration dichotomy?

            Read:  Laurence J. O'Toole 1987.  Doctrines and Developments: Separation of Powers, the             Politics-Administration Dichotomy, and the Rise of the Administrative State

            Public Administration Review, Vol. 47, No. 1, pp. 17-25.

 

September 21: Case Study: Firing of Federal Prosecutors. Available on Blackboard.

                        “Talking points” page on this case is due at the end of class.

 

September 24: The Rise of the American Bureaucracy

            Why was there a need for bureaucracy and how did it come into existence?

                        Read: Stillman Ch 2, pgs 35-49

 

September 26: The Rise of the American Bureaucracy, cont.

            What are the general characteristics of the rise of American bureaucracy?

                        Read: Stillman Ch 2, pgs 49-73.

 

September 28: Case Study: The Farm Bill, Available on Blackboard.

                        “Talking points” page on this case is due at the end of class.

 

October 1: Public Policy Overview

            What is the purpose of public policy?

Read: Rourke, Francis. 1984.  Bureaucracy, Politics, and Public Policy, 3rd ed.  Harper Collins Publishers.  Chapter 1: Introduction: Bureaucracies and Policy Making.  Available on Blackboard.

 

October3: Public Policy Overview, cont.

            Who are the actors involved in making public policy?  How?

Read: Ripley, Randall and Grace Franklin. 1984.  Congress, the Bureaucracy, and Public Policy, 3rd ed. Homewood, IL: The Dorsey Press.  Chapter 8: Congress, the Bureaucracy, and the Nature of American Public policy.  Available on Blackboard.

 

October 5: Case Study: Immigration, Available on Blackboard.

                        “Talking points” page on this case is due at the end of class.

 

October 8: Forces Shaping the Modern American Bureaucracy

            How does the first level of inputs on bureaucracy influence bureaucratic institutions?

                        Read: Stillman Ch 3, pgs 77-83

 

October 10: Forces Shaping the Modern American Bureaucracy, cont.

            How does the second level of inputs on bureaucracy influence bureaucratic institutions?

                        Read: Stillman Ch 3, pgs 83-90

 

October 12: Case study: Case study: Centralia Mine Explosion, available on Blackboard

            What bureaucratic agency was involved?  Did it do its job well?  Why or why not?

Read: Martin, John Bartlow 1975.  “The Blast in Centralia No. 5: A Mine Disaster No One Stopped”.  In Richard J. Stillman (ed.) Public Administration: Concepts and Cases, 8th ed.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, pp 31-44.  Available on Blackboard.

 

Homework #2: Due October 12th  After reading “The Blast in Centralia No. 5,” how do you think the people in the study viewed public administration?  What were the forces impacting the decisions being made? How did their views affect their actions?

 

Specifically write about two of the following people in the study: Inspector Scanlon, Director of the Department of Mines and Minerals Medill, Governor Green, District UMW Union Leader “Spud White”, Centralia Mine Manager Brown, and the Centralia mine workers of Local 52 who wrote “The Save Our Lives” letter.  This assignment should be 2 pages double spaced, 12 pt times new roman font, 1 inch margins.

 

October 15: Forces Shaping the Modern American Bureaucracy, cont.

            How does the third level of inputs on bureaucracy influence bureaucratic institutions?

                        Read: Stillman Ch 3, pgs 91-107 and 

                        Cook, Timothy. 1989.  Governing with the News: The News Media as a Political Institution. 

                        Ch 7: Beyond the White House, Available on Blackboard.

 

October 17: Forces Shaping the Modern American Bureaucracy, cont.

            How does the fourth level of inputs on bureaucracy influence bureaucratic institutions?

                        Read: Stillman Ch 3, pgs 107-124

 

October 19: Case study: Discuss “forces” from previous case studies from the homework assignment due today. 

 

Homework #3: Due October 19: Going back to one of the Case Studies we have done to date.  What were the internal or the external forces influencing the outcome of the case?  Make sure you identify which force you are identifying!  What had the greatest impact, what had the least impact?  Why? This assignment should be 2 pages double spaced, 12 pt font, 1 inch margins.

 

October 22: Inside the Public Bureaucracy

            How can professionally appointed administrators and/or experts affect public policy?

                        Read: Stillman Ch 4, pgs 129-157.

 

October 24: Inside the Public Bureaucracy, cont.

            How can civil servants affect public policy?

                        Read: Stillman Ch 4, pgs 157-195.

 

October 26: Case study: Surgeon Generals’ testimony before Congress, available on Blackboard

                        “Talking points” page on this case is due at the end of class.

 

October 29: Inside the Public Bureaucracy, cont.

            Who are your street-level bureaucrats?  Why are they important?

Read: Lipsky, Michael. 2005.  Street-Level Bureaucrats as Policy Makers.  Reprinted in Jay M. Shafritz Karen S. Layne and Christopher P. Borick (eds) Classics of Public Policy.  New York: Pearson Longman, pp 51-61.  Available on Blackboard. 

 

October 31: Review for the Midterm   

 

November 2: Midterm Exam

 

November 5: Go over the Midterm

 

November 7: Outputs of the American Bureaucracy

            What are the outputs of bureaucratic agencies dependent on?

                        Read: Stillman Ch 5, pgs 201-223

 

November 9: Case Study: Current events – What are some of the news items that you see as related to American bureaucracy? 

            “Talking points” page on this case is due at the end of class.

 

November 12: Outputs of the American Bureaucracy, cont.

            What role do the different actors in the bureaucracy play in producing the desired outputs?

                        Read: Stillman Ch 5, pgs 223-248

 

November 14: Administration Communication           

            Why is communication important in public administration?

Read: Rosenthal, Uriel. 1997. “The Relevance of Administrative Communication to Democratic Politics: Communicating in Democracies.” In James L. Garnett and Alexander Kouzmin (eds) Handbook of Administrative Communication, New York: Marcel Dekker, pp 153-169.  Available on Blackboard.

 

November 16: Case Study: Current events – What are some of the news items that you see as related to American bureaucracy? 

            “Talking points” page on this case is due at the end of class.

                       

November 19: Introduction to Networks

                        No Reading

Semester Paper due

 

November 21: No class – Thanksgiving break

 

November 23: No class – Thanksgiving break

 

November 26: Networks and the Bureaucratic System           

             What are networks?

Read: Gromley, William and Steven Balla. 2004. Chapter 4, “Networks” in Bureaucracy and Democracy, pp112-129.  Available on Blackboard.

 

November 28: Networks in the Bureaucratic System, cont.    

            Why would one have a “network” without a contract? Examples?

Read: Gromley, William and Steven Balla. 2004. Chapter 4, “Networks” in Bureaucracy and Democracy, pp130-146.  Available on Blackboard.

           

November 30: Case study: Revisit Walter Reed

How were networks involved?  Look up more information regarding this case in the news papers (Lexus-Nexus is a good place to look).

                        Please have a “talking points” page, which will be handed in at the end of class.

 

December 3: The Future of the American Bureaucracy

            What are some of the challenges facing the American bureaucracy?

Read: Kettl, Donald. 2005.  The Next Government of the United States: Challenges for Performance in             the 21st Century.  IBM Center for the Business of Government.  Available at: www.businessofgovernment.org/pdfs/KettlReport.pdf

 

December 5: Case Study: Current events – What are some of the news items that you see as related to American bureaucracy? 

            “Talking points” page on this case is due at the end of class.

 

December 7: Review for the Final

 

December 10: Final exam: DU 252 10:00-11:50

            * I reserve the right to make changes and adjust the schedule as needed.

Research Paper                     

The main writing assignments for this course is one 10-15 page formal research papers (be sure to follow the standard paper format provided below).  In general, late papers will not be accepted (see class policies). 

Paper topic: How has the modern American bureaucracy, as we study it today, been shaped?  What role does the bureaucracy have in public policy?  What are some of the forces affecting the bureaucracy?  Give examples using current topics.

Your research papers should follow these guidelines:

  • Include a title page containing your name, date submitted, and title of your paper.
  • Be typed, double-spaced, 12-point Times or Times New Roman font, with 1” margins and page numbers. 
  • Use a style guide, such as MLA or APA, consistently throughout the paper.
  • Include an introduction of your topic.  What is the issue you are investigating?  Why should this issue interest the reader?
  • Include a literature review in which you must cite at least 10 separate scholarly journal articles or books What do the “experts” have to say about this issue?
  • Include an analysis in which you develop your argument.
  • Include a conclusion.  What have you learned from this project?  Does this area warrant future research?  If so, what direction should this research go?
  • Include a Reference section.  Remember, if in doubt you should cite a work.  Over-citing will only rarely get you in trouble, while plagiarism is dealt with severely. 
  • Follow the grading criteria below!

Grading Criteria for Research Papers

A consistent grading schema will be used, with the points available for the various assignments apportioned among a number of criteria. These will include the following (and are further elaborated below):

  • Identify the issue/state the question (5 points)
  • Get facts right (20 points)
  • Systematic, comprehensive research (20 points)
  • Write professionally (20 points)
  • Cite sources in text, correctly (20 points)
  • Logical, coherent, balanced argument (15 points)
  • Well used tables/ graphs (1 point bonus)
  • Follow instructions (debits)

_____________________

  • Identify the issue/state the question, main theme, etc.
    • Avoid the 'mystery novel' approach to professional writing.  Tell your reader in the first paragraph, if not the first line, what the paper seeks to do.  Do this as clearly as possible, with a "This paper will..." statement, if necessary.
    • Also strongly consider closing the introduction with a brief summary of how the argument will proceed.
  • Get facts right
    • Self explanatory.  Note that the likelihood of misinterpreting what you've read (or falling for a particularly biased, distorted take on an issue) is inversely related to the amount of research that you do.
    • Note that this is a class about public administration, not the management of private companies.
  • Systematic, comprehensive research
    • You must sweep virtually every broad information source when researching your topic.  It is not enough to find information adequate to reach the specified word limit.  Weak research can easily either lead to misinterpretation of the few sources found or worse, overlook entirely different perspectives on the issue.  This doesn't mean you have to read each of the 1000+ relevant sources that you might identify.  It does mean that you should sample these to get a sense of the different perspectives on a topic, and ensure that you sample these various perspectives

§         Rule of thumb #1: if your list of works cited includes only books, only journals, or (especially) only internet sites, the research was neither systematic nor comprehensive. 

          • Beware the internet!  Do not use web information unless it is from a well known, respected source.  DO NOT use/cite  Wikipedia!
      • Rule of thumb #2: engage course materials (cite course readings liberally).  You are allowed, even encouraged, to disagree with or challenge course readings and lectures.  You cannot, though, ignore these.
    • Avoid giving dictionary definitions; you can assume that your reader is familiar with standard English.
  • Write professionally
    • Self explanatory. 
    • Write for an informed lay person on the street, rather than for experts, idiots, or your class teacher.
    • Use quotations sparingly.  This is meant to be a paper by you, not a collection of selected quotes that you thought were especially relevant to the topic.
    • Use a professional tone.  Don't force it.  Some pet hates (this WILL lose you points!!!!):
      • Use third person; don't use first person (e.g. I, we, our), or second person (you).  You are not writing this from yourself, you are writing it on behalf of an organization, to an impersonal audience.
      • Don't use contractions (e.g. don't).
      • Avoid rhetorical questions (e.g. Why is this the case?).
      • Avoid starting a sentence with a conjunction (e.g. The paper was bad.  And she started a sentence with and.).
      • Avoid singular/plural inconsistency (e.g.  The student lost points for singular/plural consistency in their paper).
  • Cite sources correctly, in text and in the bibliography
    • You may use any of the standard citation methods.  Key points:
      • Sources must be retrievable.  Given the in-text citation, your reader should be able to go directly to the appropriate full citation in your list of works cited (or bibliography), and from this to the page (though this is sometimes tricky with web sites) of the document from which you got the information.
        • This means that if you cite something as (Smith 2000) in the narrative, the source should be listed alphabetically under Smith in the list of works cited.
        • Do not cite urls in text.
        • Note that you must have a proper list of works cited.
          • Everything cited in text must be in this list of works cited; anything not cited in text should not be in this list of works cited.
      • Bibliographic references should be informative on their own.  Listing a url is not enough, as your reader should be able to get some idea where the information is from, so that s/he does not have to go to the source to get some idea of credibility.
      • You don't need a quotation in order to include a citation.
      • Be spare in referring to sources in text.  For instance, do write 'Perry (1996) argues...'  Do not write, 'James L. Perry, in his chapter titled 'Effective enterprises, effective administrators' in his 1996 book Handbook of Public Administration, argues...'  In many newspaper articles, government reports, and in popularized academic stuff (like a textbook, for instance), you may see examples like the one that I ask you not to use.  But more analytical work doesn't typically do this, and I want you to practice this usage.
      • Don't cite a single source consecutively in a paragraph.  Every sentence does not need to be supported.  You can summarize extended passages of a source in a paragraph in your paper, then cite the source once at the end, indicating the pages from which it came, e.g.: (Perry 1996: 739-45).
      • Include the in-text citation in the sentence it is a part of.  Like this: the world is round (Columbus 1492).  Not like this: the world is round. (Columbus 1492)  or like this: the world is round. (Columbus 1492).
      • Don't include the in-text citation in quotation marks.  Like this: "The world is round" (Columbus 1492).  Not like this: "The world is round (Columbus 1492)," and certainly not like this: "The world is round. (Columbus 1492)"
      • Note, again, the admonishment against plagiarism, and consult NIU's Academic Honesty Policy.

 

 

  • Logical, coherent, balanced argument
    • Your argument should have logical structure, and be easy to follow.
      • The main body of the argument should be consistent with what you told your reader you were going to do in the "brief summary of how the argument will proceed" in the introduction. 
      • The conclusion should also be consistent with the introduction, and with the main body of the paper.
      • Remember that your reader is not inside your head, and so may not know where you are going or why you are going there if you do not make this clear.
    • These are not opinion pieces; they should be detached, analytical and balanced.  Present fairly the different perspectives on the issue.  It is not necessary (indeed is discouraged) to choose a 'solution' to the issue which you are addressing.  That is for politicians.  Simply present the evidence and flesh out the options.
  • Well used tables/ graphs (bonus)
    • Note the 'well used'.  Few people do this well, so I throw in this requirement to encourage students to develop this skill. 
      • It especially doesn't mean reproduce a table, diagram, or such that you find elsewhere.  It must be original.
    • All tables and graphs need to be self contained, including both a title and source.  They also need to be incorporated into the narrative of your paper: "as shown in Figure 4 below...The table also illustrates..."
    • Tables and graphs should be attractive and professionally presented.
    • Use of tables and graphs do not count toward the paper requirements.  In other words, the 10-15 page paper should be 10-15 pages of text, nor tables and graphs.
  • Follow instructions (debits)
    • Self explanatory.  Pay attention to the various course requirements.
    • Especially note NIU’s Academic Integrity Policy.  On online plagiarism tutorial can be found here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plagiarism as defined by NIU English Department’s:

STATEMENT ON PLAGIARISM

Students faced with the task of writing a paper are sometimes tempted to borrow facts, ideas, or phrases from other writers as an aid to their own expressions. While it is possible to do this in an acceptable manner, the beginning writer in particular should be aware of the dangers of straying into the area of plagiarism. PLAGIARISM, SIMPLY DEFINED, IS TAKING SOMEONE ELSE'S WORDS OR IDEAS AND REPRESENTING THEM AS BEING YOUR OWN. It is specifically prohibited by University regulations, which state:

Good academic work must be based on honesty. The attempt of any student to present as his or her own work that which he or she has not produced is regarded by the faculty and administration as a serious offense. Students are considered to have cheated if they copy the work of another during an examination or turn in a paper or an assignment written, in whole or in part, by someone else. Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging those sources or if they paraphrase ideas from such sources without acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university. (Undergraduate Catalog, p. 47)

The essence of plagiarism is theft and misrepresentation. One who plagiarizes is attempting to get credit, in the form of a grade, for someone else's work; in effect, he or she is doing the same sort of thing as copying another person's answers on an exam. Thus guilt or innocence in plagiarism cases is not a matter of how much material was stolen or what the motives of the thief were. Any material which is taken from another writer and presented as if it were the student's own original work comes under the prohibition.

Specifically, the following are examples of plagiarism:

1. A paper or assignment actually written in whole or part by another.

2. A paper or assignment copied word-for-word or with only minor changes from a book, magazine, or other source.

3. A paper copied in part from one or more sources, without proper identification and acknowledgment of the sources.

4. A paper which is merely a paraphrase of one or more sources, using ideas and/or logic without credit, even though the actual words may be changed.

5. A paper which quotes, summarizes or paraphrases, or cuts and pastes words, phrases or images from an Internet source without identification and the address of the Web site.

Notice numbers 2, 4, and 5. Direct quotation is not the only kind of plagiarism. Taking someone else's ideas, judgments or logic, even if you put them in your own words, is as unacceptable as stealing the words.

This does not mean that outside sources may never be used. Some subjects and some assignments require research and the quotation of other writers' work. But all such use of outside materials must be properly identified, through quotation marks, internal citations, endnotes, and/or other accepted ways of acknowledging such borrowings. It is not the use of an outside source that is wrong; it is the implicit claim that any material obtained in that manner is in fact original.

Nor does this mean that every single fact that you learn from some outside source must be documented. Material which is general knowledge or generally available from many sources (such as dictionary definitions, familiar historical facts, and the like) need not be identified; a reader assumes that you got the information somewhere. In most courses, facts drawn from the textbook in that course (but not the author's judgments or conclusions) are fair game. But it is always better to err in the direction of over-acknowledgment: when in doubt, identify your source. Better yet, unless the assignment requires research, rely on your own knowledge, ideas and words.

www.engl.niu.edu/FYCOMP/plag.html