PLAGIARISM

What it is and how to avoid getting caught in its trap

Table of Contents

What is Plagiarism?
Scholastic Dishonesty and Plagiarism
Examples of Scholastic Dishonesty
Forms of Plagiarism
Consequences of Plagiarism
How to Avoid Plagiarism
     Tips for Quoting
     Tips for Paraphrasing
     Paraphrase Example
Citation Resources
References 

What is Plagiarism?

According to the Office of the Dean of Students:

    "To submit to your instructor a paper or comparable assignment that is not truly the product of your own mind and skill is to commit plagiarism.  To put it bluntly, plagiarism is the act of stealing the ideas and/or expression of another and representing them as your own.  It is a form of cheating and a kind of scholastic dishonesty which can incur severe penalties.  It is important, therefore, that you understand what constitutes plagiarism, so that you will not unwittingly jeopardize your college career."1



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Scholastic Dishonesty and Plagiarism

Plagiarism is just one form of Scholastic Dishonesty.  According to the University of Texas at Dallas, Handbook of Operating Procedures, Title V-Chapter 49, Subchapter F, Section 49.36, Scholastic Dishonesty also includes:

 

For a complete definition and listing of the components of Scholastic Dishonesty, please refer to the Handbook of Operating Procedures, Title V-Chapter 49-Subchapter F-Section 49.36 (from this page, click on Chapter 49: Student Discipline and Conduct from the navigation panel to the left of the screen)

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Examples of Scholastic Dishonesty:

According to the Office of Judicial Affairs: "Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, facilitating academic dishonesty, fabrication, failure to contribute to a collaborative project and sabotage"3.

Some of the ways one might commit scholastic dishonesty are as follows: (for more examples, please refer to the UTD Judicial Affairs website - http://www.utdallas.edu/judicialaffairs/UTDJudicialAffairs-Basicexamples.html)

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Forms of Plagiarism

 Whether intentional or unintentional, plagiarism is a serious offense.  If you are caught, there will still be consequences, regardless if it was accidental.  Here is a sample of what is considered to be intentional and unintentional plagiarism:

     Intentional:

     Unintentional:

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Consequences of Plagiarism

Consequences for you:

Consequences for the University:

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How to Avoid Plagiarism

Avoiding plagiarism is not always easy, but if you follow basic guidelines, you should be able to steer clear of being caught in the plagiarism trap.

    Make sure you give credit whenever you:

When in doubt it is best to give credit. (Note:  better to give too much credit, than too little.)

         The one case in which you don't have to give credit is when you use "common knowledge."  Common knowledge is facts that are widely known and do not need a named source.  This consists of standard information, which includes known and stated historical facts; folk literature that doesn't have an author or can't be traced to one; and observations that can be acknowledged as common sense observations.  If you are not sure if something is common knowledge, it is better to acknowledge the source than find yourself in trouble for not citing it.

Some examples of "common knowledge" are: 

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Tips for Quoting4:

*  When quoting, make sure you place the reference at the end of the quote, not before.  If you place the reference before the quote, the reader might think the following words are yours and you could then be accused of plagiarizing. 

 EXAMPLE:  "By studying the cerebral cortex of rats, Diamond identified that improving the learning environments of students fosters growth in areas of the brain responsible for higher-order thinking" (Slavkin 3).

*  When quoting longer passages (more than four lines), indent the whole quotation.

*  When beginning the sentence in which a quote will soon follow, make it absolutely clear that what is coming is someone else's words.  Use starting phrases, such as: "According to Michelle Simmons..." , "Johnson said..." , or even "In his book Crevice Corners, Michael McDougal states..." Make sure that reference stating where the material came from is at the end of the citation.

EXAMPLE:  According to Michael Slavkin: "Teachers and parents are likely to see the implications of authentic learning when it has been absent during the early years of a student's life" (5).

*  If you omit any material from a quote, indicate this by using ellipses (...).

*  If the passage that is omitted comes after the quote, indicate this by using four ellipses (....). The first is the sentence period, the rest mark it as an omitted passage. 

EXAMPLE: "Educators strive to create environments that are meaningful and interesting to students. . . ."

*  If an addition to a quote is needed for clarity, place the added word or phrase within brackets [ ].

EXAMPLE: "Such a system [standards-based movement] would require that students reveal these skills through a system that demonstrates their ability to apply the information, and oftentimes implications abound that such behaviors occur in real-world contexts" (Slavkin, 171).

Please Note:  refer to the citation manual your professor has suggested you use for more specific tips and suggestions for quoting in your research paper.   For a listing of citation manuals and links on where to go for help in citing sources, please see the section below titled,"Citation Resources." 

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Tips for Paraphrasing:

Since improper paraphrasing of a source is also considered plagiarism, here are some tips to follow: 

*  Use your own words when you paraphrase.  Make sure you read the section you want to paraphrase very carefully, because you will need to get the meaning and point of the passage across to the readers, while still using your own words.

*  Indicate that you are using an author's ideas by acknowledging the author at the beginning of the paraphrased section (i.e. Hanson felt that .... or, According to Hanson,...). 

*  You can also attribute the paraphrase either by acknowledging the author in parentheses immediately after the paraphrased section, or by using an endnote reference following the paraphrase, or by using a footnote.

EXAMPLE:  Original source:  All children learn and respond to settings differently; for this reason, many teachers consider the DAP approach beneficial form most children.  DAP is gaining supporters in education due to its emphasis on meeting the needs of individual students.  At a time when educators are working with more and more divergent populations of students, differentiating practices based on each individual student's needs is critical (Slavkin 65).

Paraphrase:  Because students have learning styles that differ from one student to the next, the DAP [Developmentally Appropriate Practice] approach is considered a highly practical and useful form of teaching.  The DAP is also quickly becoming a widely accepted method of reaching to all student's individual needs and not just a few (Slavkin 65).

* If you need to include a unique phrase or word within the paraphrased section, enclose the word or phrase with quotation marks.

EXAMPLE:  Original source:  Students involved with DAP are positively affected socially, emotionally, and cognitively.  They enjoy learning more, because they can grasp the concepts through experimentation and learning activities.  Also, the activities they learn directly correspond with their developmental levels; therefore, they are not expected to learn information they are not developmentally ready for.

Paraphrase: Due to the use of DAP in the classroom, students now enjoy learning new things.  Because these students are working at their developmental level they are expected only to learn what they are "developmentally ready for," and nothing more (Slavkin 67). 

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Paraphrase Example

To tell the difference between a correctly paraphrased passage from a plagiarized passage, please see the following examples:

Original Source:

          Teachers are required to be both educators and parental figures, filling in for too many students who arrive in schools unprepared for learning or interacting with others.  Oftentimes, these learning-challenged students lack parental support, have had limited experience with literacy or problem solving, and don't know how to socialize with other children their age.  These students not only have had limited experience with learning, thinking about difficult situations, and solving problems, but also have limited experience in environments that require them to work through problems.  Yet, teachers are expected to prepare all of their students for achieving at grade-appropriate levels, while working on basic skills that are required for standard learning to occur, skills that should have been taught years before they arrived at the schoolhouse doors.5

Plagiarized version:

     These days, teachers are required to be both parent and educator, replacing any gap in social skills for students arriving to school unprepared.  In too many cases, these learning-challenged students do not have the parental support they need at home and have little to no experience with reading or math, and not able to socialize with other students of their same age bracket.  These children not only have had very little experience with learning, dealing with difficult situations, and problem solving, but also with their understanding of various environments they are place in to work through their problems.  Nevertheless, teachers are expected to fully prepare every one of their students not only to achieve at grade-appropriate levels, but at everyday skills for customary learning.  The everyday skills, at least, should have been taught before arriving at school (Slavkin, 3).

 Why it's wrong:
      Though some words and sentences have been changed around, this paraphrase merely changed some of the sentences to look a little different from the original version, while still maintaining the same sentence structure as the first.


How it should be done:

     In this day and age, teachers have been burdened with the job of playing the role of both parent and teacher to many students entering school.  These students, who come from homes with little to no support”, are entering school lacking both social and problem solving skills that allow them to function and effectively interact with their peers and teachers.  This has left teachers with the added burden to teach not only subjects and material appropriate for the student's grade level, but also with skills that will allow the students to be able to successfully interact with the environment around them (Slavkin, 3).


     **If there is a need to use a quote within a paraphrase, just place the sentence, phrase, or word in quotes and make sure to cite it.

Please Note:  refer to the citation manual your professor has suggested you use for more specific tips and suggestions for paraphrasing in your research paper.   For a listing of citation manuals and links on where to go for help in citing sources, please see the section below titled, "Citation Resources." 

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Citation Resources

For help in citing sources, please refer to the following helpful style manuals and handbooks for writers of research papers:

*  APA (Publication Manual of the American Psychology Association)
            - The latest edition can be found at the Reference Desk
            - Call number: 
BF76.7 .P83 2001

*  MLA (Modern Language Association) Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
            - The latest edition can be found at the Reference Desk
            - Call number: 
PE1478 .M57 2003

*  MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing
            - The latest edition can be found at the Reference Desk
            - Call number: 
PN147 .G444 1998

*  AIP (American Institute of Physics) Style Manual
            - Located at the Reference Desk
            - Call number: 
QC5.45 .A45 1990

*  Oxford Style Manual
            - Located at the Reference Desk
            - Call number: 
PN147 .O88 2003

*  Little Brown Handbook (author:  Henry Ramsey Fowler)
            - Located at the Reference Desk
            - Call number: 
PE1112 .F64 2001


The following web sites may also be helpful in learning how to properly cite, and using quotes in your research paper:

* University of Victoria's - UVic Writer's Guide
     - http://web.uvic.ca/wguide/Pages/CitationsTOC.html

*  Purdue's OWL handout on using MLA
     - http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_mla.html

*  Purdue's OWL handout on using APA
     - http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_apa.html

*  For more help on research and documenting sources, please check out Purdue's Writing Online Writing Lab
     - http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/index.html

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References:

 1 "What is Plagiarism?" Scholastic Dishonesty. Office of the Dean of Students. May 17, 2004
          <http://www.utdallas.edu/student/slife/scholastic.html#Plagiarism>.

 3 "Examples of Scholastic Dishonesty." Scholastic Dishonesty. Office of the Dean of Students.
          May 17, 2004
         <http://www.utdallas.edu/student/slife/scholastic.html#Examples_of_Scholastic_Dishonesty>.

4 Slavkin, Michael. Authentic Learning. Maryland: Scarecrow Education, 2002.

5 GRSites. Blue-Green Textured Background. May 25, 2004 <http://www.grsites.com>.

Other references consulted for this tutorial:

"Avoiding Plagiarism." The Writing Place. 2006. Northwestern University. November 2007.
          <http://www.northwestern.edu/uacc/plagiar.html>.

"Avoiding Plagiarism." OWL: Online Writing Lab. 2004. Purdue University. 2007.
          <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/01/>.

Fowler, Henry Ramsey. The Little, Brown Handbook. New York: Longman, 2001.

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York: Modern Language Association of
          America, 2003.

"Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It." Plagiarism. Indiana University. November 2007.
          <http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.pdf>.

Procter, Margaret. "How Not to Plagiarize." How Not to Plagiarize. 2004. University of Toronto. May 2007.
          <http://www.utoronto.ca/writing/plagsep.html>.

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**created for The University of Texas at Dallas - McDermott Library
Created June 2004
Modified December 2007