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Plagiarism: What it is & How to avoid it

Plagiarism in a nutshell! Intended for University at Buffalo folks...

Sharon Murphy

on 31 August 2012

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Transcript of Plagiarism: What it is & How to avoid it

Plagiarism What it is & How to avoid It About us:

Sharon Murphy
Nursing Liaison

Michelle Zafron
Public Health & Health-Related Professions Liaison

Librarians at the Health Sciences Library, University at Buffalo Defining Plagiarism
According to UB

"Plagiarism is the act of using the words or ideas of other people and representing them as one's own. It can consist of the large-scale copying of paragraphs and pages of text from other sources, or it can consist of the unwitting failure to credit sources of ideas and words."

"Copying: Closely related to plagiarism is the copying (any portion) of another's work (exams, homework assignments, research)."

http://academicintegrity.buffalo.edu/integrity/violations.php Defining Plagiarism
According to UB

"Purchased or recycled work: The purchase of written materials from someone else or from so-called term paper mills constitutes a serious breech of academic integrity."

"Self-plagiarism: Students should recognize that reusing their own work for multiple assignments, either in a single course or in multiple courses, is generally inappropriate."

http://academicintegrity.buffalo.edu/integrity/violations.php Is it Plagiarism...

If the source reads:

People who frequently use a cell phone while driving perceive themselves to be skilled at compensating for driving distractions, regardless of whether they actually have this skill.

And you write:

Even if they don't possess this skill, drivers who use cell phone users alot see themselves as skillful at compensating for driving distractions.
? Is it Plagiarism...

If the source reads:

Each year, talking on a cell phone while driving causes an estimated 2600 motor vehicle-related deaths, 330,000 moderate to critical injuries, and 1.5 million instances of property damage in the United States.

And you write:

Annually, drivers using cell phones cause approximately 2600 deaths related to motor vehicles, close to a third of a million injuries that are significant or critical, and a million and one half instances of damage to property in America.
? Is it plagiarism...

If you follow a source article sentence-by-sentence or paragraph-by-paragraph,

even though none of your sentences are exactly the same, or even in the same order, as the source article ? All of these constitute plagiarism, when you:

copy and paste
switch words
follow the "style" or word flow of another author
use another author's metaphors
use another author's ideas

and do not cite the original author. Copy and Paste

Any time you lift a sentence or significant phrase intact from a source, you must use quotation marks and reference the source.

"Talking on a cell phone is more dangerous than talking to an in-car passenger because while in-car passengers regulate their conversations according to driving conditions and warn drivers of impending road hazards, cell phone conversants cannot." (Crundall et al., 2005; Charlton, 2008).

[this in an in-text citation with full elements in the Reference list] Word Switching

If you take a sentence from a source and change around a few words, it is still plagiarism.

Quote a sentence by putting it in quotation marks and citing the author and source. But use a quote only when it is particularly useful in underscoring the point you are trying to make. Style Plagiarism

When you follow a source item sentence-by-sentence or paragraph-by-paragraph, it is plagiarism

This is true even though none of your sentences are exactly like those in the source or even in the same order.

What you are copying in this case is the author's reasoning style. Metaphor Plagiarism

Metaphors are used to make an idea clearer or give the reader an analogy that touches the senses or emotions better than a plain description of the object or process.

Metaphors are an important part of an author's creative style. If you cannot come up with your own metaphor to illustrate an important idea, then use the metaphor in the source, but give the author credit for it. Idea Plagiarism

If the author of the source article expresses a creative idea or suggests a solution to a problem, the idea or solution must be clearly attributed to the author. Paper Mills

If you purchase a paper from anyone and turn it in as your own, published or not, it's plagiarism.

UB faculty may use various plagiarism detection services such as SafeAssign and TurnItIn to determine originality. UB Academic Policies

Plagiarism is defined by UB as a form of academic dishonesty.

Offenses may result in a grade reduction or course failure ("F").

Sanctions may include a notation on the transcript or suspension or expulsion from UB, mandated community service, or restitution. Formal civil or criminal ramifications may extend beyond UB's internal procedures. An example of referencing in the text:

Two decades of research supports that 70 to 90% of drivers perceive that they are both more skilled and safer than the average driver (Svenson, 1981; McCormick et al., 1986; McKenna et al., 1991; Walton and Bathurst, 1998).

[Provide the full citation in your Reference list.] Avoid plagiarism by citing properly.

Many different citation styles exist:


Find examples and help at
http://tinyurl.com/UBCiting-Writing EndNote is a software program you can use to collect your references and cite them correctly in your papers

UBCard holders - download it for free from
http://library.buffalo.edu/help/endnote/ Some advice...

if you are unsure if you are plagiarizing, credit the source!

when researching, keep all of the source information

avoid just copying information. Strive to process and synthesize it. Ask, "what can this information add to my paper or argument?" More thoughts...

can you restate the idea in your own words without looking at the original text?

don't wait too long to get started researching, writing, and refining. Give yourself the gift of having enough time to do a good job. We're here to help
your instructors
your librarians
your mentors Have a great year and thanks for viewing! So then, what's OK not to cite?

Generally accepted facts
Folklore and myths
Historical events Generally accepted facts are those that are readily available and abundantly available from many sources. They are public knowledge. Not sure if something is a fact?

Ask or cite just in case. In a nutshell, avoid plagiarism with these suggestions:

when writing, include your original content and use research to support it; view citing as evidence for your stance. suggestion

develop a notation system, such as highlighting, or post-it notes to mark quotes, so you don't lift word for word by mistake suggestion

summarize material you read in your own words - capture the message, not the specific words Purdue's OWL: Safe Practices
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owlresource/589/03/ An excellent site to bookmark
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