The purpose of this page is to inform you about plagiarism. In her book, A Writer's Reference, Diana Hacker defines three acts which are considered plagiarism:
"(1) failing to cite quotations and borrowed ideas, (2)failing to enclose borrowed language in quotation marks, and (3) failing to put summaries and paraphrases in your own words."(261)
When done intentionally. Plagiarism is a dishonest act; an act of cheating. Dishonesty sucks; plagiarism sucks because it.
Nobody likes someone who cheats in a game of pick up basketball, or in a game of tennis, or a chess match. And it doesn't feel very good when you have to compete against someone who has gained an unfair advantage over you by cheating. Let the same sense of honor apply when writing a paper.
And don't let flimsy excuses get in the way, either. You know them.
"I will only do it once," "A few sentences won't hurt," or "It's me against the system."
If you are under a lot of or having problems, ask for help rather than turning to a dishonest act.
Plagiarism can also happen unintentionally when one doesn't know the rules for citation. When this happens, a person can still be held responsible. Hopefully, this paper will provide you with practical information to understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it so that you can use the resources on SCHOOL SUCKS (and elsewhere) properly. If you have questions, ask the instructor before you act.
Based on Diana Hacker's definition of plagiarism given above, there are three rules to follow to avoid plagiarism.
Thou shalt not copy someone else's writing, word for word, and claim it as one's own. These words are not yours. When used in a paper, someone else's exact words must have quotation marks and a citation.
Thou shalt cite the source (including page numbers) of all quotations as well as any borrowed ideas in the paper.
If thou summarizes someone else's ideas in a paper, the information has to be put in one's own words in addition to being properly cited. This means you cannot copy some of the author's sentences and add a few of your own to make it sound different, and you cannot use synonyms with the same basic sentence structure as the original work and then claim the work as your own.
Examples and More Discussion of the Three Rules.
Rule #1 - Using someone else's exact words.
Two examples of plagiarism (and the solution) when directly copying an author's words in a paper.
The original work:
In a research paper, you will be drawing on the work of other writers, and you must document their contributions by citing your sources. In research writing, sources are cited for two reasons: to alert readers to the sources of your information and to give credit to the writers from whom you have borrowed words and ideas.
--Diana Hacker in A Writer's Reference, p. 260.
In research writing, sources are cited for two reasons: to alert readers to the sources of your information and to give credit to the writers from whom you have borrowed words and ideas.
In research writing, sources are cited for two reasons: to alert readers to the sources of your information and to give credit to the writers from whom you have borrowed words and ideas. (Hacker 260).
Diana Hacker in her book, A Writer's Reference, states, "In research writing, sources are cited for two reasons: to alert readers to the sources of your information and to give credit to the writers from whom you have borrowed words and ideas." (Hacker 260).
All directly quoted words must be in quotation marks (or indented from the margins of the paper, if the quote is long), and the source of the quote and page number(s) must be cited. You need to do both if you want to use the exact words of someone else in your paper.
Does this mean that if I want to copy someone else's entire paper word for word, then I can do it as long as I put it entirely in quotes and cite my source correctly?
Well, yes; do you want to guess what grade you will earn?
Rule #2 - Providing the source and page number(s) of borrowed words and ideas.
An example of plagiarism (and the solution) when using borrowed words and ideas in a paper:
Belonging to one of the most distinguished families in all Athens, he (Plato)) had been brought up in an atmosphere of counter-revolution. In aristocratic circles, by this time, democracy was only another name for corruption and class-politics, and it was taken as self-evident that nothing but armed revolution could save her (Athens) from collapse.
---- (essay by R.H.S. Crossman in collection of essays edited by Thomas Thorsen, Plato: Totalitarian or Democrat ?, p. 17)
Plagiarism (no source given for borrowed idea):
Plato was a member of a prominent Athenian family, but these were turbulent times in Athens. The upper class considered democracy to be corrupt and believed that revolution was necessary to save the city-state.
Plato was a member of a prominent Athena family, but these were turbulent times in Athens. The upper class considered democracy to be corrupt and believed that revolution was necessary to save the city state. (Thorsen 17).
Most people know that if they use a quote from someone else, they have to give the source of that work, either in a footnote, an endnote, or within the text itself (half of Rule # 1).
You have to do more, however, to avoid plagiarism. Anytime you use someone else's ideas, unique thoughts, or stated facts (statistics, charts, diagrams, etc.), you have to acknowledge the source and pagenumber(s) of the information. Since the author has helped you with his/her ideas (or information) in the source you are using, the fair and cool thing to do is acknowledge that person in n your paper with a proper citation.
Do I have to give the source of every fact in my paper?
You do not have to give the source of a fact that is considered common knowledge. Abraham Lincoln was President of the United States during the Civil War. Common knowledge. The fact that there were over 51,000casualties (Union and Confederate soldiers) during the Battle of Gettysburg. ("The Turning Point of the Civil War".) Not common knowledge.
I am a little confused. How can I tell between a fact that is common knowledge and one that is not?
Hmmmm. You cannot consider every fact in the encyclopedia to be common knowledge (the "so called" encyclopedia exception). Consider the following guidelines:
- If you encounter information that is new to you in writing your paper, you should cite that information.
- Even if the information is not new to you, but would be unfamiliar to the readers of your paper, then cite the information.
- If you are uncertain, ask your instructor; or if it is one o'clock in the morning the day the paper is due, it is best to be safe and cite the information.
Remember that citing information means providing the source of the information and the page(s) where it can be found.
How do I properly cite the source of the work?
Two common ways of showing the source of material are footnotes and endnotes. Footnotes and endnotes are cool. Think of them as hypertext links before computers. Raised numerals at the end of the material (borrowed idea or words) link the reader to the bottom of the page (footnote) or to the end of the paper (endnote) where the source of the material is given (title, author, publisher . .. and page number). Take a look at a law journal article someday. Lawyers go nuts over footnotes. A third way (preferred by the Modern Language Association) is to identify the source in the text itself and then include a page number in parentheses. The last name of the author links the reader to a list of sources at the end of the paper where the full publishing information is given.(Hacker 261).
I won't go into a discussion about which method to use or all the technical details about citation forms. Do not rely on this page for how to reference works. Ask your instructor which method is preferred and how to do it.
Rule #3 Putting summaries in your own words.
If you want to use someone else's idea in a paper, you have to cite the source of the idea (Rule # 2). Rule#3 says that in addition to citing the source, you must put the summary into your own words.
An example from A Writer's Reference (263).
If the existence of a signing ape was unsettling for linguists, it was also startling news for animal behaviorists.----(Flora Davis, Eloquent Animals, p. 26)
Plagiarism (borrowed phrases):
The existence of a signing ape unsettled linguists and startled animal behaviorists (Davis 26).
Plagiarism (borrowed structure):
If the presence of a sign-language using chimp was disturbing for scientists studying language, it was also surprising to scientists studying animal behavior (Davis 26).
When they learned of an ape's ability to use sign language, both linguists and animal behaviorists were taken by surprise (Davis s 26).
According to Flora Davis, linguists and animal behaviorists were unprepared for the news that a chimp could communicate with its trainers through sign language (26).
This is a rule that often causes trouble. It takes work to put someone else's ideas into your own words. If you are writing your paper at the last moment, or if you have the source directly in front of you, it is easy to use the same sentence structure as the original author, changing a few words around to make it sound different. No can do. To avoid this, try to write the idea you have read from memory, then check to make sure the meaning remains the same. (Hacker 263).
Why is this so important? Sometimes I don't think I can say it any better than the author.
It is not always easy to compose thoughts in your own words. By doing so, however, you will generally find that you understand the subject much better. It is often said that a person does not really learn a subject until one has to teach it to someone else. Forcing yourself to put ideas in your own words is very similar to teaching the subject to yourself. In addition, having to choose words and a sentence structure that indifferent from the original can help to improve your vocabulary and understanding of grammar. Writing is a skill that only improves through practice, and it is a good idea to get as much practice as possible.
CITING A SOURCE FROM A COMPUTER NETWORK
If you have chosen to use one of the resources from SCHOOL SUCKS, you might wonder how to provide the citation in the list of works cited. If you follow the Modern Language Association (MLA) documentation as outlined in Diana Hacker's, A Writer's Reference, give the publication information provided in the electronic source (with the appropriate format for title, author for a standard work (book, essay, etc.). At the end of the citation, give the title of the database (underlined), how it was accessed (Online), the computer network used, and the date the material was used. You may also specify the URL for the site.
Student, Tom. "Observing the Lint in One's Navel." School Sucks. Online. Internet. 31 October 1996. Available: http://127.0.0.1/.
Remember, if you use the MLA standard, then you would use an in-line reference in your paper where you quote from this essay or borrow an idea that would identify the reference (and the page, if there is pagination).
If uncertain, or if you have questions, ask your instructor about citing on-line sources, but you must CITE them.
Plagiarism sucks. Give credit to your sources of information. Put borrowed words and phrases in quotation marks. Cite the source with page number(s) of all quotations AND all borrowed ideas, facts, etc. Put all borrowed ideas into your own words.
Finally, if you have any questions at all about when to cite or how to cite, ASK questions beforehand. You can find answers to questions from your instructor, a learning resource center or writing center on your campus (most colleges and universities have one), or the library. There is even a national Center for Academic Integrity which is devoted to educating students about issues of academic honesty. Being clueless or unaware of the rules regarding plagiarism is not a very good excuse.
Hacker, Diana. A Writer's Reference. Boston: Bedford Book's of St. Martin's Press. Boston., 1995.
Thorsen, Thomas, editor. Plato, Totalitarian or Democrat. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1963.
"The Turning Point of the Civil War." Gettysburg Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Action Video Inc., 1996. n.pag. Online. Internet. 16 October 1996. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Gettysburg
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