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Plagiarism Prevention: A Guide for Students

INTRODUCTION:

The purpose of this guide is to provide Delta State students with information about plagiarism. On this guide, "plagiarism" is defined, illustrated in examples, and discussed in regard to prevention.

PLAGIARISM DEFINED:

The Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged (3rd Edition) provides the following definition for the word plagiarize:

"to steal and pass off as one’s own (the ideas or words of another): use (a created production) without crediting the source. . ."

The above definition is used by permission of Merriam-Webster, Incorporated (www.Merriam-Webster.com). Copyright 1993 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

There are various types of plagiarism, such as those listed below:

  • Copying someone else’s words verbatim without quotation marks or citations. (Whitley, Jr. and Keith Spiegel 77).
     
  • Quoting an author using quotation marks but providing no citation (Gibaldi 31-32).
     
  • A paraphrase of the original author’s words can also be plagiarism if no citation is provided (Gibaldi 31-32).

EXAMPLES OF PLAGIARISM AND PROPER USE OF RESOURCES:

Below is a brief passage from the book William Faulkner: The Making of a Modernist by Daniel Joseph Singal. This passage is followed by three examples of plagiarism and one example of a correct use of Singal’s work.

Although Horace Benbow comes across as a far more sympathetic character than his sister in Sanctuary, he represents a rejected identity model as well. With his many Prufrock-like attributes, Horace can best be seen as Faulkner’s final settling of accounts with post-Victorian culture, his sharpest articulation of the defects of the "poet" persona he had experimented with just a few years earlier (159).

The above passage is used by permission of the publisher, the University of North Carolina Press. Copyright 1997 by the University of North Carolina Press.
 

Quoting

Example 1: With his many Prufrock-like attributes, Horace can best be seen as Faulkner’s final settling of accounts with post-Victorian culture.

The sentence above is a direct quote from Singal. No quotation marks or citation is provided, which is plagiarism.

Example 2: "With his many Prufrock-like attributes, Horace can best be seen as Faulkner’s final settling of accounts with post-Victorian culture."

The sentence above is a direct quote from Singal, which includes quotation marks. However, it is also an example of plagiarism, since no citation is provided.

Example 3: "With his many Prufrock-like attributes, Horace can best be seen as Faulkner’s final settling of accounts with post-Victorian culture" (Singal 159).

The sentence above is a direct quote from Singal, which includes quotation marks and a citation. It is an example of proper use of a resource.

Paraphrasing

Example 4: Horace Benbow, a character in Faulkner’s Sanctuary, may be viewed as Faulkner’s last association with the post-Victorian tradition, having characteristics similar to those of Prufrock.

The sentence above is a paraphrased version of Singal’s words. However, there is no citation provided with the sentence. This is plagiarism.

Example 5: Horace Benbow, a character in Faulkner’s Sanctuary, may be viewed as Faulkner’s last association with the post-Victorian tradition, having characteristics similar to those of Prufrock (Singal 159).

The sentence above is NOT an example of plagiarism, but is a correct use of Singal’s words. It is a paraphrased version of Singal’s words and it includes a citation.

TIPS FOR AVOIDING PLAGIARISM:

  • Know what IS plagiarism and what is NOT plagiarism: According to Laurie Rozakis, author of Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Research Papers, all information or ideas that you borrow from someone else "which are not common knowledge" will need to be cited to avoid plagiarizing. However, some information "is common knowledge" and does not require citing. Common knowledge includes general facts and "information people are expected to know" and is defined as "something that is presented in several sources." On the other hand, uncommon knowledge includes more specific facts and information, which is not usually known by people outside a given field. For example, the following sentence could be considered common knowledge: George Washington was the first president of the United States. The following quote from Rozakis is an example of uncommon knowledge: "By the time the last cannon thundered across the Shenandoah Valley at Antietam, the battlefield echoed with the screams of 20,000 Union and Confederate wounded." Knowing the difference between "common knowledge" information and information needing to be cited can help you avoid plagiarizing (Rozakis 117-118).
  • Take Notes: When taking notes, summarize the information in your own words and write down the page numbers along with your notes (Everhart 92). It is a good idea not to look at the original author’s sentences or paragraphs while paraphrasing. Afterward, you can check behind yourself to make sure you did not accidentally copy too much text verbatim ("Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It").
  • Make Sure You Give Credit to the Original Authors When Working on Your Paper: You will need to provide citations whenever you quote or paraphrase someone else’s words, and when you use someone else’s ideas (Gibaldi 33). When you provide citations for your sources of information, you will need to cite them in your footnotes or endnotes (whichever is applicable), citations within your paper, which are referred to as "parenthetical citations", and on the list of works cited at the end of your paper (Turabian 74). The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association states:

    Psychologists do not claim the words and ideas of another as their own; they give credit where credit is due. Quotation marks should be used to indicate the exact words of another. Each time you paraphrase another author (i.e., summarize a passage or rearrange the order of a sentence and change some of the words), you will need to credit the source in the text. (349)

    The above paragraph is reproduced from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th Edition), 2001, page 349. Copyright 2001 by the American Psychological Association. The above paragraph is reproduced with permission.

    In the Reference Department of the Roberts-LaForge Library, we have the following resources to help you in citing your sources:

      • A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers (8th Edition) (Turabian) [LB 2369 .T8 2013 Ref] (available on Index Table 1)
         
      • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th Edition) [LB 2369 .G53 2009 Ref] (available on Index Table 1)
         
      • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th Edition) [BF 76.7 .P83 2010 Ref] (available at the Reserve Desk) 
         
      • The Columbia Guide to Online Style [PN 171 .F56 W35 2006 Ref] (available on Index Table 1)
         
      • The Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition) [Z 253 .U69 2010 Ref] (available on Index Table 1)
         
  • Don’t Procrastinate: Do not wait until the paper is almost due to begin working on it. The pressure caused by the close deadline will make it very tempting to plagiarize ("Academic Honesty: Cheating and Plagiarism").

Works Cited

Academic Honesty: Cheating and Plagiarism. 2004. Committee on Academic Conduct in the
 

College of Arts and Sciences, U of Washington. 13 June 2005
<http://depts.washington.edu/grading/issue1/honesty.htm>.

Everhart, Nancy. How to Write a Term Paper. Rev. ed. New York: Franklin Watts, 1994.

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 5th ed. 1999.

"Plagiarism." Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged.  
        3rd ed. 1986.

Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It. 2004. Writing Tutorial Services,
        Indiana U, Bloomington. 13 June 2005 <http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/
        plagiarism.shtml
>.
       
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 5th ed. Washington DC: American
        Psychological Association, 2001.

Rozakis, Laurie, Ph.D. Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Research Papers. 1999.
       Delta State University eBook Collection. Comp. NetLibrary. 2003. Delta State U. 13 June
       2005 <http://www.netLibrary.com/Details.aspx>.

Singal, Daniel Joseph. William Faulkner: the Making of a Modernist. Chapel Hill: U of North 
       Carolina P, 1997.
 

Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 6th ed. 
       Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1996.

Whitley, Jr., Bernard E. and Patricia Keith-Spiegel. Academic Dishonesty: An Educator’s Guide
       2002. Delta State University eBook Collection. Comp. NetLibrary. 2003. Delta State U. 13
       June 2005 <http://www.netLibrary.com/Details.aspx>.
 

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