How to Avoid Plagiarism
According to the definition given in the 1997 New Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language, plagiarism is “the unauthorized use of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own” (508).
Plagiarism can easily result in a student failing their assignment, being expelled from their school or college or an employee losing their job.
To incorporate another writer’s ideas into your work, you should use quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing.
To avoid plagiarism, all students must document sources properly using Footnotes, Endnotes, or Parenthetical References, and must compose a Bibliography, References, or Works Cited page and place it at the end of the research paper to list the sources used. Of the three ways to document sources – Footnotes, Endnotes, and Parenthetical References, the simplest is using Parenthetical References, sometimes referred to as Parenthetical Documentation or Parenthetical Citations.
Check to see which type of documentation is preferred by your teacher. Most word processors have the superscript, Footnote and Endnote capability. If you are required to use Footnotes or Endnotes, it is well worth the effort to master this feature on the computer a few days before your paper is due.
If you use Parenthetical References you only need to put a short reference enclosed in parentheses immediately after the citation, then list the sources cited in your Bibliography, Works Cited or References page at the end of your paper. See Chapter 9 for Parenthetical References Examples as well as Parenthetical References Sample Page.
If you use Footnote references, you must have numerically superscripted Footnote references at the foot of the same page where your citations are located, plus you must add a Bibliography, Works Cited, or References page at the end of your paper unless instructed otherwise by your teacher or instructor. See Chapter 7 How to Write Footnotes, Chapter 8 Examples of First Footnotes, and Footnotes – Sample Page.
If you use Endnote references, your citation within the text of your paper is the same as your Footnote citation, but you must list your Endnote references at the end of your paper in superscripted numerical order on a separate page entitled Endnotes. You must still add a Bibliography, Works Cited or References page after your Endnotes page unless instructed otherwise by your teacher or instructor. See Chapter 7 How to Write Endnotes, Chapter 8 Examples of First Endnotes, and Endnotes – Sample Page.
Do not be tempted to get someone else to write your research paper, hand in the same essay to two or more different teachers, or purchase instant essays from the Web. Taking a paper from your friend or from a senior student’s archive is also not a very good idea. Do not download information from CD-ROMs or someone else’s original work off the Internet and directly incorporate such information into your essay without paraphrasing and acknowledging its source. Remember that plagiarism also includes “ghost writing”, buying a text from someone and patchwriting — simply taking parts from various texts and combining them in your own text in different ways.
Apart from you acting in an unethical, dishonest way, and learning nothing in the process, the problem is that your teacher probably knows you and your writing style too well for you to plagiarize successfully. Most secondary schools, colleges, and universities take a dim view at plagiarism which is becoming more rampant with prevalent use of the Internet. Technology has made it too easy for students to search and click for an essay and simply pay with a valid credit card for an instant download online. Consequences may be severe when students are caught plagiarizing, so it is safer to avoid it. What is more, detection services now exist such as MyDropBox.com, Glatt Plagiarism Services and Turnitin that are capable of catching culprits guilty of plagiarism. A free service to check for plagiarism can be found on Grammarly.
A page entitled Works Cited, References, or Bibliography at the end of your paper is an absolute MUST for any serious research paper.
For further information on plagiarism, check out the following sites:
- Academic and Community Standards in Harvard College from Harvard College Freshman Dean’s Office, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Includes: Standards and Expectations in Academic Life: academic honesty, misuse of sources, distinguish what is truly yours in the work.
- Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers by Professor Robert A. Harris, Vanguard University of Southern California.
- Avoiding Plagiarism from Hamilton College, Clinton, NY. “Plagiarism is a form of fraud. You plagiarize if you present other writers’ words or ideas as your own.”
Note: In view of the huge number of Term Paper sites popping up faster than you can imagine on the Internet, it is nearly impossible for teachers to check the WWW for signs of plagiarism. Teachers may need to seek alternate methods to prevent and stop plagiarism.
- Cheats are having a field day on campus. “When a quarter of students plagiarise, universities need to start taking tougher action,” says Frank Furedi, Professor of Sociology, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, UK.
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Other sites where teachers may check for plagiarized essays
A note of caution: Sites indicated with appear to share a single database of source essays but with different site titles and URLs.
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Further information on copyright and plagiarism
- Copyright and Fair Use from Stanford University Libraries. Contents: Copyright FAQs, Fair Use, The Public Domain, Introduction to the Permissions Process, Website Permissions, Academic and Educational Permissions, Releases, and Copyright Research.
- Copyright Issues on the Web 2. What Is Plagiarism? By Kristina Pfaff-Harris, University of Nevada, Reno, NV.
- EVE. Essay Verification Engine tracks down Internet sources of plagiarism. Free download for trial version.
- Focus on Ethics Can Curb Cheating, Colleges Find by Kenneth R. Weiss, Times Education Writer.
- The New Plagiarism: Seven Antidotes to Prevent Highway Robbery in an Electronic Age by Jamie McKenzie, Editor of From Now On – The Educational Technology Journal.
- Plagiarism and the Web by Bruce Leland, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL.
- Plagiarism.com. Glatt Plagiarism Services. A tutorial software program designed to teach students about plagiarism, how to avoid it, and how to detect it in their writing.
- Plagiarism in Colleges in USA by Dr. Ronald B. Standler, Attorney in Massachusetts. Plagiarism viewed from a legal perspective. Cites plagiarism cases, and finds that in every plagiarism case involving a student or a professor the court upheld the punishment imposed by the college.
- Plagiarism.org. Promotes Turnitin.com a software that aims to put a stop to digital plagiarism. Provides information on Internet plagiarism and “cheatsites” online.
- Plagiarism Thread. Review by William Marsh of National University, San Diego. Topics include: Guarding Against / Avoiding Plagiarism; Assessment & Response; Cultural, Economic and/or Educational Backgrounds of Students; Pedagogical, Aesthetic and Ethical Values underlying Plagiarism; Copyright Violation & Plagiarism.
- Turnitin.com. Aims to put a stop to digital plagiarism. Originality Reports determine whether any homework assignment, essay, or research paper has been copied or paraphrased from the Internet.
- Understanding Plagiarism from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. What Is Plagiarism at Indiana University? A short quiz with immediate feedback, and How to Recognize Plagiarism.
- What Can We Do to Curb Student Cheating? Article by Sharon Cromwell, Education World®.