Julie’s idea was to explore the novel The Scarlet Letter with the assumption that Hester’s daughter, Pearl, knew exactly why her mother had to wear the scarlet letter. As Julie wrote her paper, she stumbled upon the same core idea in an authoritative source, used it for her paper but has not mentioned it in the references. Is it plagiarism or not?
Yes, Julie committed plagiarism. She found out that the core idea of her paper was not original or new to her. This can be frustrating when you think you’ve come up with a new idea that hasn’t been written about before. Julie really wanted that idea to be her own, but when she found someone else had the idea first, she should have cited the journal article and mentioned that her conclusions were going to be different from it, especially since the article was from a well-known journal. Whenever you think you have a new idea, you should always carefully research it to find out if anyone else has had that idea as well – chances are good that you’ll need to cite some sources with the same idea.