Plagiarism What is it and how do I avoid it? This material is the property of the AR Dept. of Education. It may be used and reproduced for non-profit, educational purposes only after contacting the ADE Distance Learning Center at http://dlc.k12.ar.us edr
Definition • Webster’s dictionary defines plagiarism as: To take and use one’s own the ideas or writings of another.
In other words. . . • If you didn’t write it or come up with it – Don’t use it without giving proper credit.
Example • You read on the Internet: Long viewed as dusty reminders of dreary educational films people watched in school, documentaries have put on a fresh face and caught audiences' attention. Can you use this?
Well, yes and no • You may use it, but you have to include where it came from. Without that citation, you have plagiarized that segment. • Be careful. You cannot use that segment even if you put it in your own words (paraphrase). The idea was not your own.
How do you cite the information? • It’s easy. Just say where you got your information. • Example: According to cnn.com,“Long viewed as dusty reminders of dreary educational films people watched in school, documentaries have put on a fresh face and caught audiences' attention.”
Paraphrasing still needs citation • Cnn.com said that while documentaries used to be considered boring classroom films, today they are capturing the attention of movie audiences. • The quote is not word for word and it is in your own words, but the IDEA belongs to cnn.com. You must include that attribution.
Not quite a quote, but. . . • Just as you would tell your reader who said a particular quote, you must tell the reader where you get your information.
What needs a citation? • Any opinion statement. Concern about weight begins when a man's BMI hits 28 and a woman's 27. Your audience will immediately ask “says who?”. You need to tell where you got your information. Until a few years ago, government agencies generally agreed that…..
What needs attribution? • Any fact that is not common knowledge. Titan has a "pre-biotic" environment in which there is organic, or carbon-based, chemistry, but the surface temperature of minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit is inhospitable to life.
Facts needing attribution • Unless you are a astronomer, you wouldn’t know this. You need to show where you got your info. According to Elachi,some scientists believe Titan has a "pre-biotic" environment in which there is organic, or carbon-based, chemistry, but the surface temperature of minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit is inhospitable to life.
What needs attribution • All quotes. If someone said it, it needs to be attributed. “It's private. I'm here for her whenever she needs me, and, you know, that's how it works.” Who said this? We need to let the reader know. (Ashley Olsen)
Won’t that make my article awkward? • Not really. You don’t need to put the attribution after every statement or fact as long as the reader is quite clear where you found your info. Generally speaking, you tell the source each time it changes or on very controversial statements. • However, every quote, either direct or indirect, needs an attribution.
No one will ever know? Wrong! It is quite simple to suspect plagiarism. • Voice changes • Word choices are unusual or uncommon • Sentence structure is different. Every writer has their own unique style and voice. Changes stand out.
You suspect, but can’t prove it. • Sometimes, but usually I can. • Search engines using parts of phrases can often turn up the exact source. • If words have been changed, search for topic. Remember, just because you change the words does not make it OK. Ideas can be plagiarized.
What happens in the real world? • You can be sued. 80’s rapper Vanilla Ice was threatened with a lawsuit by Queen and David Bowie for his underlying beat to “Ice, Ice Baby.” No where in the songs credits did he list either artist. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum of money.
You can lose your job. Journalist Jason Blair was fired from the NY Times for plagiarizing pieces of articles written by other reporters. • You can lose your reputation.
What will happen to me? • Immediate 0 on the assignment. No questions. No warnings. No redos. • DLC write-up. Principal will be notified. Individual school rules may apply.
Second offense – 0 on assignment. Conference with student, teacher and principal. • Third offense – Taken out of DLC program.
But wait….. • The 3-strike rule applies to ANY DLC infraction. • So, it might be your first time caught plagiarizing, but if you have received 2 other DLC write-ups, you are dismissed from the program.
Want to avoid all this? • Be on the safe side. If you are unsure, cite your source. • Make copies of all printed articles or resources used in your articles. • Keep a detailed list of all websites you used to obtain your information. • Keep copies of all interview notes and tapes.
The End • Plagiarism is a serious problem. • However, it is so easy to avoid if you just be honest in your reporting. Note: All examples came from articles found on cnn.com.