Plagiarism...what it is and how to avoid it
In school, we are continually engaged with other people's ideas: we read them in texts, hear them in lecture, discuss them in class, and incorporate them into our own writing. As a result, it is very important that we give credit where it is due.
Plagiarism occurs when a student, with intent to deceive or with disregard for proper scholarly procedures, presents any information, ideas or phrasing of another as if they were his/her own and/or does not give appropriate credit to the original source.
Citing Sources Matters!
To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit (cite your source) whenever you use:
- another person's idea, opinion, or theory;
- any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings--any pieces of information--that are not common knowledge;
- quotations of another person's actual spoken or written words; or
- paraphrase of another person's spoken or written words.
Strategies for Avoiding Plagiarism
- Put in quotations everything that comes directly from the text especially when taking notes.
- Paraphrase, but be sure you are not just rearranging or replacing a few words. Be sure you have not accidentally used the same phrases or words, and that the information is accurate.
What is Common Knowledge?
Common knowledge: facts that can be found in numerous places and are likely to be known by a lot of people.
Example: John F. Kennedy was President of the United States in the 1960s.
This is generally known information. You do not need to document this fact.
However, you must document facts that are not generally known and ideas that interpret facts.
Quotation: using someone's words. When you quote, place the passage you are using in quotation marks, and document the source according to a standard documentation style.
Paraphrase: using someone's ideas, but putting them in your own words. This is probably the skill you will use most when incorporating sources into your writing. Although you use your own words to paraphrase, you must still acknowledge the source of the information.
Remember that the only time that you don't need to cite a source is when an idea is either common knowledge or your own creation
Use an online tool like Zbib to create parenthetical citations and a works cited list (bibliography)