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Research Tools: Plagiarism

Definition

ACCORDING TO THE MERRIAM-WEBSTER ONLINE DICTIONARY, TO "PLAGIARIZE" MEANS

  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
  • to use (another's production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

ALL OF THE FOLLOWING ARE CONSIDERED PLAGIARISM:

  • turning in someone else's work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on "fair use" rules)

For more information go to http://www.plagiarism.org

Understanding Plagiarism

How to Avoid Plagiarsim

  • Ask your teacher if you are unsure if something needs to be cited

  • Balance the ideas you have taken from other sources and your own original ideas

  • take effective notes in your own words and document where they came from

  • Make it clear who said what

  • Paraphrase by changing both the words and the sentence structure of the original, without changing the content (You still need to cite paraphrased material)

  • Analyze and evaluate your sources

  • WHEN IN DOUBT, CITE SOURCES 

  • showing that you are not just copying other ideas but are processing and adding to them,
  • lending outside support to the ideas that are completely yours, and
  • highlighting the originality of your ideas by making clear distinctions between them and ideas you have gotten elsewhere

Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is when you restate published writing in your own words. This does not mean simply copying, pasting, and changing a word or two. You need to change the words, sentence structure, and write about it in a different way. Even if you paraphrase, YOU STILL NEED TO CITE YOUR SOURCE since it is not your original idea. Look below for examples of good paraphrasing and tips of how to make your paraphrasing stronger.