How To Avoid Plagiarism OCHS ENGLISH DEPT Joseph Trimmer, A GUIDE TO MLA DOCUMENTATION
What is plagiarism? • Theft • Using someone else’s words or ideas without giving proper credit (or no credit) • Intentional or unintentional • Serious offense (HS & college)
How to AVOID doing it… (1) Document a source whenever you: - Use a direct quotation - Summarize or paraphrase a passage - Copy a table, chart, or other diagram - Construct a table from data provided by others - Present specific examples, figures, or facts that you’ve taken from a specific source used to explain or support your judgments
How to AVOID doing it… (2) • Take notes CAREFULLY, making sure you identify quotations in your note cards or electronic files (be sure to note source!) • Formulate and develop your own ideas, using your sources to support rather than replace your own work
The Contradictions of American Academic Writing Show you have done your research ---But--- Write something new and original Appeal to experts and authorities ---But--- Improve upon, or disagree with experts and authorities Improve your English by mimicking what you hear and read ---But--- Use your own words, your own voice Give credit where credit is due ---But--- Make your own significant contribution
ACTIONS that may be seen as PLAGIARISM • Buying, stealing, or borrowing a paper • Hiring someone to write your paper • Building on someone else’s ideas without citation • Using the sources words too closely when paraphrasing • Copying from another source without paraphrasing (on purpose or accidentally)
Need to Document • When you are using or referring to somebody else’s words or ideas from a magazine, book, newspaper, song, TV program, movie, Web page, computer program, letter, advertisement, or any other medium • When you use information gained through interviewing another person • When you copy the exact words or a "unique phrase" from somewhere • When you reprint any diagrams, illustrations, charts, and pictures • When you use ideas that others have given you in conversations or over email
No Need to Document • When you are writing your own experiences, your own observations, your own insights, your own thoughts, your own conclusions about a subject • When you are using "common knowledge" — folklore, common sense observations, shared information within your field of study or cultural group • When you are compiling generally accepted facts • When you are writing up your own experimental results
Deciding if Something is "Common Knowledge" Material is probably common knowledge if . . • You find the same information undocumented in at least five other sources • You think it is information that your readers will already know • You think a person could easily find the information with general reference sources
According to Mark Twain in Roughing It ,the rider for the pony express was usually a little bit of a man, brimful of spirit and endurance. Guilty • According to Mark Twain in Roughing It, “the rider for the pony express was usually a little bit of a man, brimful of spirit and endurance”(52). OK!
The pony express rider's horse wore a little wafer of a racing-saddle, and no visible blanket (Twain 53). Guilty • The pony express rider's horse, “wore a little wafer of a racing-saddle, and no visible blanket”(Twain 53). OK!
The rider traveled two-hundred, fifty miles a day, ten miles per horse. Guilty • The rider traveled two-hundred and fifty miles a day, ten miles per horse (Twain 53). OK!