Monday, February 27, 2006

Avoiding Plagiarism: A Librarian's View

This is brief paper I wrote several years ago and placed at That server now appears to be gone forever. By request, I am reposting the text of this essay here.

Avoiding Plagiarism: A Librarian's View by Michael Lorenzen

It is important to give credit to the works of others that you use in writing a paper. Failure to do so, whether on purpose or by accident, results in plagiarism. This is something to avoid when writing not only because it is unethical but also because it can get you into serious academic trouble. Plagiarism is the offense of taking the words, written or spoken, or the ideas of others and passing them off as one's own. You are plagiarizing if you copy exactly a statement by another and fail to identify your source. You are also guilty of plagiarism if you copy just a small piece of work that someone else wrote and take credit for it.

The easiest way to avoid plagiarism is to include everything that you use in writing your paper in the bibliography. In this way, you acknowledge that you are using the ideas and words of others and giving these people credit for their work.

However, citing the works that you use in a paper is not enough on its own all the time. If you quote the words of someone else, be it a paragraph or a few words, you must put quotation marks around what you quote. This lets the reader know you did not write the material in this part of the paper. If you use ideas that are not your own in a paper, but do not quote the idea directly, you still need to acknowledge in the text that the idea is not your own even if you list the work the idea came form in your bibliography. How this is done differs depending on the citing system you are using such as APA or MLA. If you paraphrase someone else's writing, you must give credit to the author.

Full-text resources in the library tempt some students to cut and paste parts of articles directly into their papers. This is OK to do as long as the copied text is put in quotations and cited properly. It is not all right to do this if no indication is made that the words are copied. Faculty are aware of full-text resources and they are apt to check suspicious text in these databases. If you are unsure how to credit something in your paper, ask a librarian or the faculty member who assigned the paper.

It is not OK to turn in a paper that someone else has written either even if they have given you permission to do so. This is called collusion and it is still plagiarism. You will get in trouble if you are caught and so may the student who let you use their paper if they are a student here. If you want to use part of a friends paper in your paper, go ahead. Just make sure you give proper credit to your friend in your bibliography and put quotation marks around quotes.

Another area that is plagiarism that many students are not aware of is using translated material and passing it off as their own work. If you know another language and use this to translate a work into English, this is great. Please give proper credit to the author of the work you translated. Do not turn the work in as your own. It is still plagiarism even if the language has been translated.

Also remember that material on the World Wide Web was created by someone. It is not all right to copy their work without giving credit. All the rules for avoiding plagiarism listed above still apply when using the World Wide Web. Search engines make it easy for instructors to find web sites that are used for plagiarized material.

One common student trick is to get information for book reviews from reader reviews from sites such as Amazon or Cheap Books. While this is easy to do, faculty also know to check these sites out. A simple phrase search on Google will usually reveal the source of the review.

The best way to avoid plagiarism is simply to write your own papers using your own words. Be sure to cite everything you used to write the paper in the bibliography. Put quotation marks around everything you cite. In this way, you will be safe from being accused of turning in a plagiarized paper.

Plagiarism Bibliography:

"Ashworth, Peter et. al. "Guilty in Whose Eyes? University Students' Perceptions of Cheating and Plagiarism in Academic Work and Assessment." Studies in Higher Education. 22.2 (Jun 1997): 187-203.

Bergmann, Linda S. (1994). Academic Discourse and Academic Service: Composition vs. WAC in the University. 1994 Paper presented the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, Nashville, TN, March 16-19, 1994, ERIC Document No. ED 371 362.

Bjaaland, Patricia C. and Lederman, Arthur. "The Detection of Plagiarism." Educational Forum 37.2 (Jan. 1973): 201-6.

Bloom, Harold et. al. "Plagiarism: A Symposium." Times Literary Supplement 9 (Apr. 1982): 413-15.

Bowden, Darsie. "Plagiarism (Coming to Terms)." English Journal 85.4 (Apr. 1996): 82- 84.

Bowden, Darsie. "Stolen Voices: Plagiarism and Authentic Voice." Composition Studies/Freshman English News 24.1-2 (Spr.-Fall 1996): 5-18.

Brookes, Gerry H. "Exploring Plagiarism in the Composition Classroom." Freshman English News 17.2 (Sep. 1989): 31-35.

Brownlee, Bonnie J. "Coping with Plagiarism Requires Several Strategies." Journalism Educator
41.4 (Winter 1987): 25-29.

Campbell, Cherry. (1987). Writing with Others' Words: Native and Non-Native University Students' Use of Information from a Background Reading Text in Academic Compositions. ERIC Document No. ED 287 315.

Chaney, Jerry and Duncan, Tom. "Editors, Teachers Disagree about Definition of Plagiarism." Journalism Educator 40.2 (Sum. 1985): 13-16.

Curtis, John. "Cheating-Let's Face It." International Schools Journal. 15.2 (Apr.1996): 37-44.

Davis, Stephen F. et al. "Academic Dishonesty: Prevalence, Determinants, Techniques, and Punishments." Teaching of Psychology 19.1 (Feb. 1992): 16-20.

Dossin, Mary Mortimore. "Straight Talk and Honest Writing." Composition Chronicle: Newsletter for Writing Teachers 10.1 (Feb. 1997): 5-7.

Drum, Alice. "Responding to Plagiarism." College Composition and Communication 37 (May 1986): 241-43.

Fass, Richard A. "By Honor Bound: Encouraging Academic Honesty." Educational Record 67.4 (Fall 1986): 32-36.

Gillespie, Elizabeth L. and Schwartz, Miriam. "Are We Teaching Plagiarism?" NJEA Review 45.9 (May 1972): 26+.

Howard, Rebecca Moore. "A Plagiarism Pentimento." Journal of Teaching Writing 11.2 (1992): 233-45.

Howard, Rebecca Moore. "Plagiarisms, Authorships, and the Academic Death Penalty." College English 57.7 (Nov. 1995): 788-806.

Howard, Rebecca Moore. "Sexuality, Textuality: The Cultural Work of Plagiarism." College English 62.4 (Mar. 2000). 473-491.

Kibler, William L. "Academic Dishonesty: A Student Development Dilemma." NASPA Journal 30.4 (Sum. 1993): 252-67.

Kloss, Robert J. ""Writing Things Down vs. Writing Things Up: Are Research Papers Valid?" College Teaching 44.1 (Win. 1996): 3-7.

Kolich, Augustus M. "Plagiarism: The Worm Of Reason." College English 45.2 (Feb. 1983): 141-48.

Kroll, Bary M. "How College Freshman View Plagiarism." Written Communication 5.2 (Apr. 1988): 203-21.

LoCastro, Virginia and Masuko, Mayumi. (1997). Plagiarism and Academic Writing of NNS Learners. 1997 Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Orlando, FL, March 11-15, 1997, ERIC Document No. ED 409 724.

Maramark, Sheilah and Maline, Mindi Barth. (1993). Academic Dishonesty Among College Students. Issues in Education. ERIC Document No. ED 360 903.

McCabe, Donald L. and Trevino, Linda Klebe. "Academic Dishonesty: Honor Codes and Other Contextual Influences." Journal of Higher Education 64.5 (Sep.-Oct. 1993): 522-38.

O'Neill, Michael T. "Plagiarism: (1) Writing Responsibly." ABCA Bulletin 43.2 (June 1980): 34-36.

Peterson, Lorna. (1986). "But We Did It Together;" Or, Academic Integrity and Misrepresentation among College Students. ERIC Document No. ED 275 281.

Saunders, Edward J. "Confronting Academic Dishonesty." Journal of Social Work Education 29.2 (Spr.-Sum. 1993): 224-31.

Sterling, Gary. "Plagiarism and the Worms of Accountability." Reading Improvement 28.3 (Fall 1991): 138-40.

Stein, Mark J. (1986). Teaching Plagiarism. 1986 Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference of College Composition and Communication, New Orleans, LA, March 13-15, 1986, ERIC Document No. ED 298 482.

Tauber, Robert T. (1984). Cheating and Plagiarism: Matters beyond a Faculty Member's Right to Decide! 1984 Paper presented the Annual Meeting of th National Association of Teacher Educators, New Orleans, LA, Jan. 30, 1984, ERIC Document No. ED 240 969.

Thompson, Lenora C. and Williams, Portia G. "But I Changed Three Words! Plagiarism In the ESL Classroom." Clearing House 69.1 (Sep.-Oct. 1995): 27-29.

Waltman, John L. "Plagiarism: (2) Preventing It in Formal Research Reports." ABCA Bulletin
43.2 (June 1980): 37-38.

Whitaker, Elaine E. "A Pedagogy to Address Plagiarism." College Composition and Communication 44 (Dec. 1993): 509-14.

Wilhoit, Stephen. "Helping Students Avoid Plagiarism." College Teaching 42.4 (Fall 1994): 161-64."

Bibliography source,

No comments: