Plagiarism

Strategies for avoiding plagiarism

Writer
 

 

Definition of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is using the ideas and writings of others and representing them as your own. Even if you do not copy another source word-for-word, but rather rephrase the source without attributing it to the original author by including a footnote, you are guilty of plagiarism. The increasing availability of electronic information has unfortunately made it easy to copy another author's works.

 

 

Martha Stewart - a good thing! Citing your sources is a good thing !

  • gives due credit to the creator of the work you are using
  • allows readers to easily find the sources you have referred to in your work
  • documents the amount of research you have done (resulting in more details, a wider range of perspectives, more up-to-date information) Even when you do not quote directly from another work, if reading that source contributed to the ideas presented in your paper, you must give the authors proper credit by including their work in your bibliography.

photo line-upNot citing your sources is indefensible!   

  • implies you have independently thought of all the ideas in your paper.
  • means you have not increased your knowledge base of your topic by incorporating others' thoughts and perspectives
  • indicates you have not applied the ethics expected of a college level student or professional writer If you do not cite the sources , you will be guilty of plagiarism.  Depending on your school's policy, you could be expelled.
  • real life examples!
 

 

 

 

Common Knowledge—Acceptable Use

thumbs upOK to use common knowledge - facts that can be found in numerous places and are likely to be known by a lot of people.

thumbs down  Not OK to use another person's ideas, opinions, theories, statistics facts or spoken words which are not common knowledge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do People Plagiarize?

Current Examples

 

 

 


Reasons

  • Short on time (hurried)
  • Making a quick buck  (I'll do it until I'm challenged.)
  • Drawing attention to one's knowledge (egoism)
  • Lapse of thought  (forgot citation)
  • and more…


Rationalizations

  • Nobody will notice   (The world is too big to find my source.)
  • I could have known that  (They are statistics, encyclopedia stuff.)
  • I have to get this done quickly for a good grade / job review (whatever the risk!)
  • My group / copy editor  will fix it (It's someone else's responsibility)
  • and more…
 

buck (n.) – dollar, profit

 

 

Current Examples

Compare the passages at the bottom of the first article.

 

 

Apologies and Amendments

“Media reporters have pointed out that paragraphs in my Time column this week bear close similarities to paragraphs in Jill Lepore’s essay in the April 23 issue of The New Yorker. They are right. I made a terrible mistake. It is a serious lapse and one that is entirely my fault. I apologize unreservedly to her, to my editors at Time, and to my readers.” — Fareed Zakaria

“I will do my best to correct the record and ensure that my misquotations and mistakes are fixed. I have resigned my position as staff writer at The New Yorker.” — Johah Lehrer

 

Take note     If your work is found to have uncited source material, own it, apologize for it, and amend it.   

 

 

 

 

 

The Basics

Strategies for Avoiding Plagiarism

 

 

 

If you are including information that is not "common knowledge", then:

  1. Quote it, put in quotations, everything that comes directly from the text.
  2. Paraphrase it, restate the idea.
  3. Cite it, include a source citation whether it is in print, digital or web form.

 

Strategy 1 — Quote it

Using someone else's words verbatim (word for word.) When quoting a sentence, put the person's words in quotation marks when quoting longer amounts, put the quote in an indented paragraph. Include the source either within the text of your paper or in a footnote.

SHORT QUOTE:  " As Adam Winkler, a constitutional-law scholar at U.C.L.A., demonstrates in a remarkably nuanced new book,  Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America , firearms have been regulated in the United States from the start."

LONG QUOTE: (block quote)

As Adam Winkler, a constitutional-law scholar at U.C.L.A., demonstrates in a remarkably nuanced new book, “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” firearms have been regulated in the United States from the start. Laws banning the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813, and other states soon followed: Indiana (1820), Tennessee and Virginia (1838), Alabama (1839), and Ohio (1859). Similar laws were passed in Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma. As the governor of Texas explained in 1893, the “mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man.

 

See Quotation Marks

 

 

 

Strategy 2 — Paraphrase it

If you are using someone's ideas, put them in your own words.  Be sure you are not just rearranging or replacing a few words. Read and remove the text from your view, and then say it in your own words. Cite the source in your paper since you have used the idea. Remember 99.99% of all ideas are built upon other ideas. And if you do not have time to do the research needed for statistics, then cite the work of the person who did!

The original text: Jill LePore "Battleground America: One nation, under the gun." The New Yorker, 23 Apr 2012. Web. 11 Aug 2012. <http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/04/23/120423fa_fact_lepore?currentPage=all>

Ms. Lepore:

As Adam Winkler, a constitutional-law scholar at U.C.L.A., demonstrates in a remarkably nuanced new book, “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” firearms have been regulated in the United States from the start. Laws banning the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813, and other states soon followed: Indiana (1820), Tennessee and Virginia (1838), Alabama (1839), and Ohio (1859). Similar laws were passed in Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma. As the governor of Texas explained in 1893, the “mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man.”


An unacceptable paraphrase: 

Mr. Zakaria:

Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at UCLA, documents the actual history in Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America. Guns were regulated in the U.S. from the earliest years of the Republic. Laws that banned the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813. Other states soon followed: Indiana in 1820, Tennessee and Virginia in 1838, Alabama in 1839 and Ohio in 1859. Similar laws were passed in Texas, Florida and Oklahoma. As the governor of Texas (Texas!) explained in 1893, the “mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man.”

  1. The writer has only changed around a few words and phrases, or changed the order of the original's sentences.
  2. The writer has failed to cite a source for any of the ideas or facts.

 

 

Strategy 3 — Cite it

Use a standard form of citation such as the MLA (Modern Language Association) Chicago Manual (Chicago Manual of Style. See Citing Sources (Style Manual list.)

In-text Citation (within your paper)

The purpose of an in-text citation is to refer the reader to the works-cited list at the end of your paper. In-text citations are also called parenthetical references because they are enclosed in parentheses.  Place in-text citations immediately after the borrowed information, usually at the end  of a sentence before the final period.  (Lepore).

 

Works-cited List (at the end of your paper)

 

 

 

 

 

Instructor Resources

Detecting Plagiarism

 

 

 

How will my instructor know if I have "borrowed" work?

During the semester an instructor sees several samples of student work. If an assignment appears to be an atypical example of a particular student's work, the instructor can conduct a search or ask the student to do the assignment in class.

  1. An instructor can do an advanced phrase search in Google placing the phrase in quotations. Try it:     (Paste the sentence in quotes into the Google search field.)
      "This palace, the largest known in Crete, with an area of 22,000 sq. metres (26,000 sq. yards), was excavated by A. Evans between 1899 and 1932, and spectacularly restored, sometimes excessively."

    Even better - use multiple search engines: InfoPeople
  2. An instructor can do an in-depth search in library databases.  (Find the library page of your school.)
  3. An instructor can do a phrase search in web directories such as: Infomine.
  4. An instructor can turn an essay into  TurnItIn.com (which will do a thorough search of not only digital and printed works, but also of previous essays submitted by students around the country. Also, check out  SafeAssign.com
  5. An instructor can ask a student to write the essay in class or to write a summary of the "questionable" paper. If the writing style and depth of knowledge differ, then the instructor can enforce the college plagiarism policy.

Know your school's policy / punishment for plagiarism.

 

 

 

Resources

The URL links above have been included for your convenience; however, MLA no longer recommends the inclusion of URLs in its formatting style guidelines.

 

Continue to Plagiarism Examples.