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How to avoid plagiarism

By Donald Allen,2014-09-23 08:40
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How to avoid plagiarism

    Plagiarism:

    What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It

    What is Plagiarism?

    Plagiarism is using others’ ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information.

    How Can Students Avoid Plagiarism?

    To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit whenever you use

    ; another person’s idea, opinion, or theory;

    ; any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings--any pieces of information--that are not

    common knowledge;

    ; quotations of another person’s actual spoken or written words; or

    ; paraphrase of another person’s spoken or written words.

    How to Recognize Unacceptable and Acceptable Paraphrases

    Here’s the ORIGINAL text, from page 1 of Lizzie Borden: A Case Book of Family

    and Crime in the 1890s by Joyce Williams et al.:

    The rise of industry, the growth of cities, and the expansion of the population were the three great developments of late nineteenth century American history. As new, larger, steam-powered factories became a feature of the American landscape in the East, they transformed farm hands into industrial laborers, and provided jobs for a rising tide of immigrants. With industry came urbanization, the growth of large cities (like Fall River, Massachusetts, where the Bordens lived) which became the centers of production as well as of commerce and trade.

Here’s an UNACCEPTABLE paraphrase that is plagiarism:

    The increase of industry, the growth of cities, and the explosion of the population were three large factors of nineteenth century America. As steam-driven companies became more visible in the eastern part of the country, they changed farm hands into factory workers and provided jobs for the large wave of immigrants. With industry came the growth of large cities like Fall River where the Bordens lived which turned into centers of commerce and trade as well as production.

    What makes this passage plagiarism?

    The preceding passage is considered plagiarism for two reasons:

    ; the writer has only changed around a few words and phrases, or changed the

    order of the original’s sentences.

    ; the writer has failed to cite a source for any of the ideas or facts. If you do either or both of these things, you are plagiarizing.

    NOTE: This paragraph is also problematic because it changes the sense of several sentences (for example, “steam-driven companies” in sentence two misses the

    original’s emphasis on factories).

    Here’s an ACCEPTABLE paraphrase:

    Fall River, where the Borden family lived, was typical of northeastern industrial cities of the nineteenth century. Steam-powered production had shifted labor from agriculture to manufacturing, and as immigrants arrived in the US, they found work in these new factories. As a result, populations grew, and large urban areas arose. Fall River was one of these manufacturing and commercial centers (Williams 1).

Why is this passage acceptable?

    This is acceptable paraphrasing because the writer:

    ; accurately relays the information in the original

    uses her own words.

    ; lets her reader know the source of her information.

    Here’s an example of quotation and paraphrase used together, which is also

    ACCEPTABLE:

    Fall River, where the Borden family lived, was typical of northeastern industrial cities of the nineteenth century. As steam-powered production shifted labor from agriculture to manufacturing, the demand for workers “transformed farm hands into factory

    workers,” and created jobs for immigrants. In turn, growing populations increased the size of urban areas. Fall River was one of these manufacturing hubs that were also “centers of commerce and trade” (Williams 1).

Why is this passage acceptable?

    This is acceptable paraphrasing because the writer:

    ; records the information in the original passage accurately.

    ; gives credit for the ideas in this passage.

    ; indicated which part is taken directly from her source by putting the passage in

    quotation marks and citing the page number.

    Plagiarism and the World Wide Web

    The World Wide Web has become a more popular source of information for student papers, and many questions have arisen about how to avoid plagiarizing these sources.

    In most cases, the same rules apply as to a printed source: when a writer must refer to ideas or quote from a WWW site, she must cite that source.

    If a writer wants to use visual information from a WWW site, many of the same rules apply. Copying visual information or graphics from a WWW site (or from a printed source) is very similar to quoting information, and the source of the visual information or graphic must be cited. These rules also apply to other uses of textual or visual information from WWW sites; for example, if a student is constructing a web page as a class project, and copies graphics or visual information from other sites, she must also provide information about the source of this information. In this case, it might be a good idea to obtain permission from the WWW site’s owner before using

    the graphics.

    Strategies for Avoiding Plagiarism

    1. Put in quotations everything that comes directly from the text especially when taking notes.

    2. Paraphrase, but be sure you are not just rearranging or replacing a few words. Instead, read over what you want to paraphrase carefully; cover up the text with your hand, or close the text so you can’t see any of it (and so aren’t tempted to use the text as a “guide”). Write out the idea in your own words without peeking.

    3. Check your paraphrase against the original text to be sure you have not

    accidentally used the same phrases or words, and that the information is accurate.

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    Documenting the source according to MLA style;

    http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_mla.html

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