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Plagiarism

The writing process often requires the gathering and analyzing of information. When that information is the product of another person's research or is another person's ideas, it must be acknowledged, or cited.  Not giving documentation credit is to present the material as yours, which is intellectual dishonesty and a form of plagiarism.

Plagiarism  

Pla∑gia∑rize -  v.  1. To use and pass off (the ideas or writings of another) as oneís own. 2. To appropriate for use as oneís own passages or ideas from (another).   intr- To put forth as original to oneself the ideas or words of another.  

As you can see from the above definition, plagiarism occurs when you use another personís words or ideas and present them as yours, intentionally or unintentionally. They can derive from various sources -  including, but not limited to - print materials, Internet and other electronic resources, speeches, interviews, movies, and music.  

Unless the material is your own (having come from your original research, creativity, or analysis) or is "common knowledge," documenting its source is necessary. While there is no single definition of "common knowledge," it is generally understood to be that which is widely known and can be found in numerous general reference sources.  

Determining when to cite is, in some instances, very clear; occasionally, however, it is not so obvious. The following examples are offered to help you avoid plagiarism.  

Blatant plagiarism includes:  

Other obvious examples of plagiarism are:  

Less obvious plagiarism involves:  

The last category, paraphrasing without plagiarizing, can be the most difficult to understand. The following is an excerpt from the Indiana University Writing Tutorial Serviceís pamphlet on plagiarism (http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml), which outlines the differences between acceptable and unacceptable paraphrasing.  

Hereís the ORIGINAL text, from page 1 of Lizzie Borden: A Case Book of Family and Crime in the 1890s by Joyce Williams et al.:

The rise of industry, the growth of cities, and the expansion of the population were the three great developments of late nineteenth century American history. As new, larger, steam-powered factories became a feature of the American landscape in the East, they transformed farm hands into industrial laborers, and provided jobs for a rising tide of immigrants. With industry came urbanization the growth of large cities (like Fall River , Massachusetts , where the Bordens lived) which became the centers of production as well as of commerce and trade.

Hereís an UNACCEPTABLE paraphrase that is plagiarism:  

The increase of industry, the growth of cities, and the explosion of the population were three large factors of nineteenth century America.  As steam-driven companies became more visible in the eastern part of the country, they changed farm hands into factory workers and provided jobs for the large wave of immigrants.  With industry came the growth of large cities like Fall River where the Bordens lived which turned into centers of commerce and trade as well as production.

What makes this passage plagiarism?

The preceding passage is considered plagiarism for two reasons:

If you do either or both of these things, you are plagiarizing.

NOTE: This paragraph is also problematic because it changes the sense of several sentences (for example, "steam-driven companies" in sentence two misses the originalís emphasis on factories).

Hereís an ACCEPTABLE paraphrase:

Fall River, where the Borden family lived, was typical of northeastern industrial cities of the nineteenth century.  Steam-powered production had shifted labor from agriculture to manufacturing, and as immigrants arrived in the United States, they found work in these new factories.  As a result, populations grew, and large urban areas arose.  Fall River was one of these manufacturing and commercial centers (Williams 1).  

Why is this passage acceptable?

This is acceptable paraphrasing because the writer:

Hereís an example of quotation and paraphrase used together, which is also ACCEPTABLE:

Fall River, where the Borden family lived, was typical of northeastern industrial cities of the nineteenth century.  As steam-powered production shifted labor from agriculture to manufacturing, the demand for workers "transformed farm hands into industrial laborers," and created jobs for immigrants.  In turn, growing populations increased the size of urban areas.  Fall River was one of these hubs "which became the centers of production as well as of commerce and trade"  (Williams 1).

Why is this passage acceptable?

This is acceptable paraphrasing because the writer:

Note that if the writer had used these phrases or sentences in their own paper without putting quotation marks around them, they would be PLAGIARIZING. Using another personís phrases or sentences without putting quotation marks around them is considered plagiarism EVEN IF THE WRITER CITES IN THEIR OWN TEXT THE SOURCE OF THE PHRASES OR SENTENCES QUOTED.                                            

To read more about the subject of plagiarism, consult the following websites:  

""Avoiding Plagiarism" - The OWL (Online Writing Lab), Purdue University      http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/01     Offers information about a plagiarism-proof research process, including sample writing exercises.  

"Plagiarism" - The Writing Center , University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill      http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/plagiarism      Includes tips on note-taking and writing that will help prevent plagiarism.  

"Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It" Writing Tutorial Services, Indiana University   http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism      Provides examples of acceptable and unacceptable paraphrasing and strategies for  avoiding plagiarism.