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Plagiarism. A Presentation by Texas Woman’s University Writing Program. What is Plagiarism?. Plagiarism:

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A Presentation by

Texas Woman’s University

Writing Program

what is plagiarism
What is Plagiarism?


"Pla-gia-rism" 1. The unauthorized use of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own. 2. Something used and represented in this manner." (Webster's 1032). Most of us either know or have a sense of when we are plagiarizing (intentionally or not) another’s work

what is plagiarism continued
What is Plagiarism? (Continued)

Plagiarism constitutes an act of fraud, deception, and academic dishonesty. There are several ways to plagiarize:

  • Using another's paper as your own.
  • Rewriting another's paper and submitting it as your own.
  • Hiring or using someone to write your paper or purchasing a paper and then submitting it as your own.
  • Using someone else's ideas and submitting them as your own (w/out documentation).
  • Using someone else's words exactly and submitting them as your own (w/out documentation).
  • Paraphrasing and/or summarizing another's ideas or words and submitting them as your own (w/out documentation).
  • Using a paper purchased from a friend and/or service and submitting it as your own.
  • Using a paper bought, and/or downloaded from the internet and submitting it as your own.
  • Copying information from electronic sources (web information, web pages, any electronic source/database) and using it as your own.
what is plagiarism continued4
What is Plagiarism? (Continued)
  • Texas Woman’s University addresses the issue of Plagiarism in the Student Handbook. According to the handbook, plagiarism is a serious breach of honesty, and it will not be tolerated to any degree. Plagiarism is unethical. Don't do it. There are serious consequences to plagiarizing including academic suspension, receiving a failing grade for the course, and academic probation.
  • Crediting sources is a crucial aspect of any research. Let’s explore ways to avoid plagiarism in our research and writing processes.
avoiding plagiarism
Avoiding Plagiarism

“Academic writing in American institutions is filled with rules that writers often don’t know how to follow. A working knowledge of these rules, however, is critically important; inadvertent mistakes can lead to charges of plagiarism or the unacknowledged use of somebody else’s words or ideas. While other cultures may not insist so heavily on documenting sources, American institutions do. A charge of plagiarism can have severe consequences, including expulsion from a university.” (

To Avoid plagiarism, you must acknowledge:

  • Other people’s ideas, opinions, and theories.
  • Other people’s evidence
  • Other people’s research.
  • Direct quotations.
  • Paraphrased information.
  • Facts and statistics gathered from any source.
techniques to avoid plagiarism know when to quote paraphrase and or summarize
Techniques to Avoid Plagiarism:Know When to Quote, Paraphrase, and/or Summarize

Why use quotations, paraphrases, and summaries?

Quotations, paraphrases, and summaries serve many purposes. You might use them to . . .

  • Provide support for claims or add credibility to your writing
  • Refer to work that leads up to the work you are now doing
  • Give examples of several points of view on a subject
  • Call attention to a position that you wish to agree or disagree with
  • Highlight a particularly striking phrase, sentence, or passage by quoting the original
techniques to avoid plagiarism continued
Techniques to Avoid Plagiarism (Continued)
  • Distance yourself from the original by quoting it in order to cue readers that the words are not your own
  • Expand the breadth or depth of your writing
  • Writers frequently intertwine summaries, paraphrases, and quotations. As part of a summary of an article, a chapter, or a book, a writer might include paraphrases of various key points blended with quotations of striking or suggestive phrases.
what are the differences among quoting paraphrasing and summarizing
What are the differences among quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing?
  • These three ways of incorporating other writers' work into your own writing differ according to the closeness of your writing to the source writing.
  • Quotations must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author.
  • Paraphrasing and Summarizing are a bit more complex. Let’s look at the definitions and examples of each one.
examples of paraphrasing and summarizing
Examples of Paraphrasing and Summarizing
  • Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly.
  • Let's look at examples of illegitimate and legitimate paraphrase. The original passage is from Oliver Sacks' essay "An Anthropologist on Mars":
examples of paraphrasing
Examples of Paraphrasing
  • The original passage is from Oliver Sacks' essay "An Anthropologist on Mars":
  • The cause of autism has also been a matter of dispute. Its incidence is about one in a thousand, and it occurs throughout the world, its features remarkably consistent even in extremely different cultures. It is often not recognized in the first year of life, but tends to become obvious in the second or third year. Though Asperger regarded it as a biological defect of affective contact—innate, inborn, analogous to a physical or intellectual defect—Kanner tended to view it as a psychogenic disorder, a reflection of bad parenting, and most especially of a chillingly remote, often professional, "refrigerator mother." At this time, autism was often regarded as "defensive" in nature, or confused with childhood schizophrenia. A whole generation of parents—mothers, particularly—were made to feel guilty for the autism of their children.
examples of paraphrasing11
Examples of Paraphrasing
  • What follows is an example of illegitimate paraphrase:
  • The cause of the condition autism has been disputed. It occurs in approximately one in a thousand children, and it exists in all parts of the world, its characteristics strikingly similar in vastly differing cultures. The condition is often not noticeable in the child's first year, yet it becomes more apparent as the child reaches the ages of two or three. Although Asperger saw the condition as a biological defect of the emotions that was inborn and therefore similar to a physical defect, Kanner saw it as psychological in origin, as reflecting poor parenting and particularly a frigidly distant mother. During this period, autism was often seen as a defense mechanism, or it was misdiagnosed as childhood schizophrenia. An entire generation of mothers and fathers (but especially mothers) were made to feel responsible for their offspring's autism (Sacks 247-48).
examples of paraphrasing12
Examples of Paraphrasing
  • Why is that an example of illegitimate paraphrase:
  • Most of these sentences do little more than substitute one phrase for another. An additional problem with this passage is that the only citation occurs at the very end of the last sentence in the paragraph. The reader might be misled into thinking that the earlier sentences were not also indebted to Sacks' essay.
examples of paraphrasing13
Examples of Paraphrasing
  • The following represents a legitimate paraphrase of the original passage:
  • In "An Anthropologist on Mars," Sacks lists some of the known facts about autism. We know, for example, that the condition occurs in roughly one out of every thousand children. We also know that the characteristics of autism do not vary from one culture to the next. And we know that the condition is difficult to diagnose until the child has entered its second or third year of life. As Sacks points out, often a child who goes on to develop autism will still appear perfectly normal at the age of one (247). Sacks observes, however, that researchers have had a hard time agreeing on the causes of autism. He sketches the diametrically opposed positions of Asperger and Kanner. On the one hand, Asperger saw the condition as representing a constitutional defect in the child's ability to make meaningful emotional contact with the external world. On the other hand, Kanner regarded autism as a consequence of harmful childrearing practices. For many years confusion about this condition reigned. One unfortunate consequence of this confusion, Sacks suggests, was the burden of guilt imposed on so many parents for their child's condition (247-448).
examples of paraphrasing14
Examples of Paraphrasing
  • Why is this an example of a legitimate paraphrase of the original passage?
  • Notice that this passage makes explicit right from the beginning that the ideas belong to Sacks, and the passage's indebtedness to him is signaled in more than one place. The single parenthetical note at the end of each paragraph is therefore all the citation that is needed. The inclusion of explicit references to Sacks not only makes the job of providing citations easier. It also strengthens the passage by clarifying the source of its facts and ideas. And it adds an analytical dimension to the paragraph: the passage doesn't just reiterate the points in Sacks' passage but lays out the structure of his argument. Note that the paraphrase splits the original into two separate paragraphs to accentuate the two-part structure of Sacks' argument. Finally, notice that not all the details from the original passage are included in the paraphrase.
examples of summarizing
Examples of Summarizing
  • Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Once again, it is necessary to attribute summarized ideas to the original source. Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material.
  • Here is a summary of the passage from "An Anthropologist on Mars":
  • In "An Anthropologist on Mars," Sacks notes that although there is little disagreement on the chief characteristics of autism, researchers have differed considerably on its causes. As he points out, Asperger saw the condition as an innate defect in the child's ability to connect with the external world, whereas Kanner regarded it as a consequence of harmful childrearing practices (247-48).
inadvertent plagiarism
Inadvertent Plagiarism?
  • Below is a quotation followed by three samples, one of which inadvertently plagiarizes. See if you can identify what each sample is (a paraphrase or a summary), and see if you can "catch" the one that inadvertently plagiarizes.
  • Quotation:
  • "Empire State College has a policy describing the conditions under which students may be warned or withdrawn from the College for such unethical academic behavior as plagiarism, forgery, misrepresentation, or other dishonest or deceptive acts which constitute grounds for warning or administrative withdrawal" (CDL Student Handbook 5).
inadvertent plagiarism17
Inadvertent Plagiarism?
  • Samples:
  • 1. The Student Handbook states that the College may dismiss students who in any way present others' work as their own (5). [MLA format]
  • 2. According to policy in the Student Handbook, Empire State College may take punitive action (including dismissal) against students who act fraudulently. Fraudulent action includes using the words or ideas of others without proper attribution, falsifying documents, or depicting the words of others as one's own (1992). [APA format]
  • 3. The Student Handbook states that the College has a policy that describes the different instances under which students may be withdrawn from the College. These instances include plagiarism, forgery, misrepresentation, and other instances that show dishonest or deceptive practice (1992). [APA format]

Which one is the plagiarized one?

inadvertent plagiarism18
Inadvertent Plagiarism?


  • Number 1 is the summary; it has condensed the source and articulates the main idea. Number 2 is an appropriate paraphrase. The writer has used her own words and sentence structure to relate the essence of the source. Number 3 is a paraphrase that inadvertently plagiarizes because it retains too much of the source's language and sentence structure.

Information and Example from: Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writer’s of Term papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 6th Edition. IL: UCP, 2000.

common questions about plagiarism
Common Questions About Plagiarism
  • The point of documenting sources in academic papers is to demonstrate that you know what is going on in your field of study. It's also a courtesy to your readers because it helps them consult the material you've found. So mentioning what others have said doesn't lessen the credit you get for your own thinking—in fact, it adds to your credibility.
  • Here are some questions we often hear in the Write Site and in the classroom:
common questions about plagiarism20
Common Questions About Plagiarism
  • Can't I avoid problems just by listing every source in the bibliography?
  • No, you need to integrate your acknowledgments into what you're saying. Give the reference as soon as you've mentioned the idea you're using, not just at the end of the paragraph. It's often a good idea to name the authors ("X says" and "Y argues against X,") and then indicate your own stand ("A more inclusive perspective, however, . . . "). Have a look at journal articles in your discipline to see how they refer to their sources.
common questions about plagiarism21
Common Questions About Plagiarism
  • If I put the ideas into my own words, do I still have to clog up my pages with all those names and numbers?
  • Sorry—yes, you do. In academic papers, you need to keep mentioning authors and pages and dates to show how your ideas are related to those of the experts. It's sensible to use your own words because that saves space and lets you connect ideas smoothly. But whether you quote a passage directly in quotation marks, paraphrase it closely in your own words, or just summarize it rapidly, you need to identify the source then and there. (That applies to Internet sources too: you still need author and date as well as title and URL.)
common questions about plagiarism22
Common Questions About Plagiarism
  • But I didn't know anything about the subject until I started this paper. Do I have to give an acknowledgment for every point I make?
  • You're safer to over-reference than to skimp. But you can cut down the clutter by recognizing that some ideas are "common knowledge" in the field—that is, taken for granted by people knowledgeable about the topic. Facts easily found in standard reference books are considered common knowledge: the date of the Armistice for World War I, for example, or the present population of Canada. You don't need to name a specific source for them, even if you learned them only when doing your research. In some disciplines, information covered in class lectures doesn't need acknowledgment. Some interpretive ideas may also be so well accepted that they don't need referencing: that Picasso is a distinguished modernist painter, for instance, or that smoking is harmful to health. Check with your professor or visit the Write Site if you're in doubt whether a specific point is considered common knowledge in your field.
common questions about plagiarism23
Common Questions About Plagiarism
  • How can I tell what's my own idea and what has come from somebody else?
  • Careful record-keeping helps. Always write down the author, title and publication information (including the identifying information for web pages) so you can attach names and dates to specific ideas. Taking good notes is also essential. Don't paste passages from webpages into your draft: that's asking for trouble. As you read any text—online or on the page—summarize useful points in your own words. If you record a phrase or sentence you might want to quote, put quotation marks around it in your notes to remind yourself that you're copying the author's exact words. And make a deliberate effort as you read to notice connections among ideas, especially contrasts and disagreements, and also to jot down questions or thoughts of your own. If you find as you write that you're following one or two of your sources too closely, deliberately look back in your notes for other sources that take different views; then write about the differences and why they exist.
common questions about plagiarism24
Common Questions About Plagiarism
  • So what exactly do I have to document?
  • With experience reading academic prose, you'll soon get used to the ways writers in your field refer to their sources. Here are the main times you should give acknowledgements. (You'll notice many different formats in these examples. See the file on Standard Documentation Formats for advice on these systems.)

Questions presented and answered by Dr. Margaret Procter, Coordinator, Writing Support, and administered by Jerry Plotnick at University of Toronto

final thoughts on plagiarism
Final Thoughts on Plagiarism
  • As we mentioned before: “Academic writing in American Institutions is filled with rules that writers often don’t know how to follow. A working knowledge of these rules, however, is critically important; inadvertent mistakes can lead to charges of plagiarism or the unacknowledged us of somebody else’s words or ideas. While other cultures may not insist so heavily on documenting sources, American institutions so. A charge of plagiarism can have severe consequences”. (
  • Be familiar with the resources available to you at TWU. The Write Site can assist you with any writing problem you are having. We will not solve the problems for you, but we will show you how to work them so you can become a better writer.
  • Always consult a stylebook. This is an important tool to have while researching. It will assist you with in-text citations and works cited.
sources and references
Sources and References

Sources used in creating this Presentation:

  • Aaron, Jane E. The Little, Brown Essential Handbook for Writers. New York: HarperCollins, 1994.
  • Gefvert, Constance J. The Confident Writer, second edition. New York: Norton, 1988.
  • Heffernan, James A.W., and John E. Lincoln. Writing: A College Handbook, third edition. New York: Norton, 1990.
  • Howell, James F. and Dean Memering. Brief Handbook for Writers, third edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993.
  • Leki, Ilona. Understanding ESL Writers: A Guide for Teachers. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1992.
  • Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers, sixth edition. New York: HarperCollins, 1990.
  • Rodrigues, Dawn, and Myron C. Tuman. Writing Essentials. New York: Norton, 1996.
  • Swales, John, and Christine B. Feak. Academic Writing for Graduate Students. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1994.
  • Walker, Melissa. Writing Research Papers, third edition. New York: Norton, 1993.
  • Examples of Paraphrasing and Summarizing written by Written by Jerry Plotnick, Director, University College Writing Workshop, University of Toronto.
  • Definitions of Paraphrasing and Summarizing acquired from Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writer’s of Term papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 6th Edition. IL: UCP, 2000.