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Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism

Information Literacy for College Students

Susan Ochs

on 28 February 2014

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Transcript of Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism

Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism
Careful! You must add quotes and cite sources if you use their words
Using a paper for another class is plagiarism too
Stealing an idea is also plagiarism
"The Information Literate student demonstrates an understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and does not represent work attributable to others as his/her own information"
What is Plagiarism?

The most serious mistake you can make in misusing sources is to plagiarize. The word "plagiarize" comes from the Latin word for kidnapping. You plagiarize when you take another author's ideas or words, and use them in such a way that it appears that the ideas or words are your own.

When to Cite
One exception to the rule of citing is if it is common knowledge. This is difficult for students to determine but consider the obvious. You do not have to cite if you state that the sun sets in the west. But common knowledge for some, may not be for others. Apple industry invented the concept of windows, a fact that is common knowledge for those in computer industry, but not for all.


What needs to be credited or documented
Words or ideas: from a magazine, a book, newspaper, song, TV program, movie, Web page, computer program, letter, advertisement, or any other medium
Information from conversing or interviewing someone
When you copy an exact word or unique phrase
When you reprint any diagrams, illustrations, charts, pictures, or other visuals
When you reuse or repost any electronically available media, including images, audio, video or other
Quotation and Paraphrasing
Two Types of Plagiarism
1. You take someone else's words
2. You take someone else's ideas
What doesn't need to be cited???
Writing your own experiences, observations, insights or thoughts
Writing your own lab results or results from field experiments
When you use your own artwork, digital photographs, video, audio, etc.
When you use "common knowledge", folklore, common sense observations, myths, legends and historical events

from Google images at vocword.com
Credit: Wesley Bedrosian. From Bochicchio, K. (2011). Beat the cheat: Teaching students (and parents) it's not OK to copy. edutopia.org. Available online: http://www.edutopia.org/dispatches-beat-the-cheat.
Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, Standard #5, ACRL, 2013/14
Why Does Anyone Plagiarize and Misuse Sources?
Causes of Plagiarism
Fear of Failure
and perhaps fear using their own words and ideas
In a Hurry
Poor Time Management Skills
Last minute assignment
Other activities such as work or family interfere
Don't understand how long research can take for some topics
Think it's no big deal
The course is unimportant
The assignment is unimportant
Academic documentation is unnecessary
Consequences are unimportant
The assignment is poorly designed
When the assignment is generic or unparticularized, canned responses feel justified
There's no punishment
Instructors fail to report it
Institutions fail to report it
Various levels don't enforce appropriate penalties
Library, Information and Technology services at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA
"WPA Statement of Best Practices: Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism" Council of Writing Program Administrators www.wpacouncil.org
How to Avoid Plagiarism
Joanna M. Burkhardt and Mary C. McDonald. Teaching Information Literacy: 50 Standards-Based Exercises for College Students, Chicago: ALA, 2nd edition 2010

You're in College Now
Maybe in high school, you regurgitated, you memorized & recited, you were learning for the test and a final grade. You were learning to get into college, perhaps. But you're in college now. You are engaged in higher level research, you have publishing opportunities, your exposure may be outside of the classroom, and your preparation is for lifelong learning. This is vastly different from just pleasing a teacher, and getting a good grade.

This is about your reputation, and your future, don't blow it.

Some Standard Tips:
Don't confuse access with permission
Cite as you write - put author, or URL, in parentheses
Add quotations marks or Q for direct quotes
Put ME, or *, or some symbol if it's your own idea
Save emails for documentation later
When recording interviews, doublecheck technology
Use ellipses to break up a long quote ...
Use brackets to add a word clarify a quote [ ]

Refer to:
Purdue OWL: Avoiding Plagiarism

The resources from Westminster's campus library are at your fingertips
A Plagiarism Carol: A Norwegian video shared from the John M Pfau Library website, California State University, San Bernardino Aksnes, J., Hafstad, S., & Haldorsen, D. (Photographer). (2010). Et plagieringseventyr. [Web]. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mwbw9KF-ACY
Didn't know
(Ask yourself: is this truly the case? Or rumor from fellow students or others)
(Editorial note: This is a warning to anyone creating an assignment)
A RIDICULOUS AND FUN SUMMARY CREATED BY NORWEGIANS WITH A GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR, (please excuse the reference to sexual innuendo, this is European)
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