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Plagiarism to HOME PAGE
Safe Practices against Plagiarism :
Most students, of course, don't intend to plagiarize. In fact, most
realize that citing sources actually builds their credibility for an
audience and even helps writers to better grasp information relevant to a
topic or course of study. Mistakes in citation and crediting can still
happen, so here are certain practices that can help you not only avoid
plagiarism, but even improve the efficiency and organization of your
research and writing.
Best Practices for Research and Drafting
Reading and Note-Taking
- In your notes, always mark someone else's words with a big
Q, for quote, or use big quotation marks
- Indicate in your notes which ideas are taken from sources with a big
S, and which are your own insights
- When information comes from sources, record relevant documentation in
your notes (book and article titles; URLs on the Web)
Interviewing and Conversing
- Take lots of thorough notes; if you have any of your own thoughts as
you're interviewing, mark them clearly
- If your subject will allow you to record the conversation or interview
(and you have proper clearance to do so through an Institutional Review
Board, or IRB), place your recording device in an optimal location between
you and the speaker so you can hear clearly when you review the recordings.
Test your equipment, and bring plenty of backup batteries and media.
- If you're interviewing via email, retain copies of the interview
subject's emails as well as the ones you send in reply
- Make any additional, clarifying notes immediately after the interview
Writing Paraphrases or Summaries
- Use a statement that credits the source somewhere in the
paraphrase or summary, e.g., According to Jonathan Kozol, ....
- If you're having trouble summarizing, try writing your paraphrase or
summary of a text without looking at the original, relying only on your
memory and notes
- Check your paraphrase or summary against the original text; correct
any errors in content accuracy, and be sure to use quotation marks to set
off any exact phrases from the original text
- Check your paraphrase or summary against sentence and paragraph
structure, as copying those is also considered plagiarism.
- Put quotation marks around any unique words or phrases that you cannot
or do not want to change, e.g., "savage inequalities" exist throughout our
educational system (Kozol).
Writing Direct Quotations
- Keep the source author's name in the same sentence as the
- Mark the quote with quotation marks, or set it off from your text in
its own block, per the style guide your paper follows
- Quote no more material than is necessary; if a short phrase from a
source will suffice, don't quote an entire paragraph
- To shorten quotes by removing extra information, use ellipsis points
(...) to indicate omitted text, keeping in mind that:
- Three ellipsis points indicates an in-sentence ellipsis, and four
points for an ellipsis between two sentences
- To give context to a quote or otherwise add wording to it, place added
words in brackets, ; be careful not to editorialize or make any additions
that skew the original meaning of the quote—do that in your main
- OK: Kozol claims there are "savage inequalities"
in our educational system, which is obvious.
- WRONG: Kozol claims there are "[obvious] savage
inequalities" in our educational system.
- Use quotes that will have the most rhetorical, argumentative impact in
your paper; too many direct quotes from sources may weaken your
credibility, as though you have nothing to say yourself, and will
certainly interfere with your style
Writing About Another's Ideas
- Note the name of the idea's originator in the sentence or
throughout a paragraph about the idea
- Use parenthetical citations, footnotes, or endnotes to refer readers
to additional sources about the idea, as necessary
- Be sure to use quotation marks around key phrases or words that the
idea's originator used to describe the idea
Maintaining Drafts of Your Paper
Sometimes innocent, hard-working students are accused of plagiarism
because a dishonest student steals their work. This can happen in all
kinds of ways, from a roommate copying files off of your computer, to
someone finding files on a disk or pen drive left in a computer lab. Here
are some practices to keep your own intellectual property safe:
- Do not save your paper in the same file over and over again; use a
numbering system and the Save As... function. E.g., you might have
research_paper001.doc, research_paper002.doc, research_paper003.doc as you
progress. Do the same thing for any HTML files you're writing for the Web.
Having multiple draft versions may help prove that the work is yours
(assuming you are being ethical in how you cite ideas in your
- Maintain copies of your drafts in numerous media, and different secure
locations when possible; don't just rely on your hard drive or pen
- Password-protect your computer; if you have to leave a computer lab
for a quick bathroom break, hold down the Windows key and L to lock your
computer without logging out.
- Password-protect your files; this is possible in all sorts of
programs, from Adobe Acrobat to Microsoft word (just be sure not to forget
Revising, Proofreading, and Finalizing Your Paper
- Proofread and cross-check with your notes and sources to make sure
that anything coming from an outside source is acknowledged in some
combination of the following ways:
- In-text citation, otherwise known as parenthetical citation
- Footnotes or endnotes
- Bibliography, References, or Works Cited pages
- Quotation marks around short quotes; longer quotes set off by
themselves, as prescribed by a research and citation style guide
- Indirect quotations: citing a source that cites another
- If you have any questions about citation, ask your instructor
well in advance of your paper's due date, so if you have
to make any adjustments to your citations, you have the time to do them
Other Pages in This Section :
- Avoiding Plagiarism : This page offers advice on how to avoid plagiarism in your work.
- Is It Plagiarism Yet? : There are some actions that can almost unquestionably be labeled plagiarism.
- Safe Practices Against Plagiarism : An Exercise : Read over each of the following passages, and respond on your own or as a class as to whether or not it uses citations accurately.
- Best Practices for Teachers : But there are some things you, as a teacher, can do to minimize plagiarism in your classes.