On Tuesday March 10th, the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Fellows Pamela Thielman and Roy Rogers reviewed what plagiarism is, talked about the difficulties of paraphrasing and reviewed the most popular citation styles (e.g., MLA and APA). Below is a summary of what was discussed.
What is Plagiarism?
According to the NYCCT statement on academic integrity:
“Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research, or writings as your own. Examples of plagiarism include:
- Copying another person’s actual words or images without the use of quotation marks and footnotes attributing the words to their source.
- Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging the source.
- Failing to acknowledge collaborators on homework and laboratory assignments.
- Internet plagiarism, including submitting downloaded term papers or parts of term papers, paraphrasing or copying information from the internet without citing the source, or ‘cutting and pasting’ from various sources without proper attribution.”
Why does plagiarism occur?
- Poor time management
- When you don’t put aside enough time to work on your own writing, it becomes more tempting to use other people’s work.
- Lack of self-confidence
- When you feel like your can’t do an assignment or don’t know what to say, it may be tempting to use the words of others.
- Bad paraphrasing
- If you substitute a word or two in a sentence with a synonym, that does not make the sentence original. This may lead to unintentional plagiarism.
- Improper citations
- Even when not using quotes (like when you are paraphrasing), citations are still needed in the body of your paper.
What is Paraphrasing?
Paraphrasing is rewriting a sentence or series of sentences in your own words. It is different than a summary, in that paraphrasing does not have to summarize the original text completely, and the paraphrase is often incorporated into a writer’s larger argument.
Here is an example from Purdue OWL, 2012
Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.
In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).
6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing (Purdue OWL, 2010)
- Reread the original passage until you fully understand it.
- Write your version without looking at the original.
- Include a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material.
- Check your version with the original to make sure that your paraphrase accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form.
- Use quotation marks to identify any unique phrase you have borrowed from the original.
- Cite your original source using proper formatting
Where do citations go?
Before you begin writing your assignment, make sure that your professor has communicated the preferred citation style for the class. If not, ask!
Typically, academic papers include citations both in the body of the paper (such as in-text citations or footnotes / endnotes depending on style), as well as at the end of the paper (such as a bibliography, works cited, or references page depending on style).
Two common citation styles include MLA and APA.
MLA is the preferred style for liberal arts and humanities.
- Example of MLA in-text citation
- Along these lines, revisionists have stressed continuing popular Episcopalianism after disestablishment and recast the demographic explosion of evangelicalism as a firmly early to mid-nineteenth century story (Heyrman 18–20).
- Example Works Cited
- Heyrman, Christine. Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1997. Print.
While APA is the preferred style for the social sciences.
- Example of MLA In-text citation
- Along these lines, revisionists have stressed continuing popular Episcopalianism after disestablishment and recast the demographic explosion of evangelicalism as a firmly early to mid-nineteenth century story (Heyrman, 1997, pp. 18–20).
- Example Reference Page
- Heyrman, C. (1997). Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.