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Avoiding Plagiarism Slides courtesy of Christy Moore, D’Arcy Randall, and Nadine Romig, as well as Hillary Hart.

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Presentation on theme: "Avoiding Plagiarism Slides courtesy of Christy Moore, D’Arcy Randall, and Nadine Romig, as well as Hillary Hart."— Presentation transcript:

1 Avoiding Plagiarism Slides courtesy of Christy Moore, D’Arcy Randall, and Nadine Romig, as well as Hillary Hart

2 Plagiarism is a problem for professional writers, not just students. Stephen Ambrose “Over the weekend, the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes nailed Ambrose for heisting several passages of The Wild Blue, his recent best seller about World War II B-24 bomber crews, from historian Thomas Childers. Ambrose had footnoted Childers but still passed off Childers' elegant prose as his own.” David Plotz “ The Plagiarist : Why Stephen Ambrose is a vampire.” Jan. 11,  Doris Kearns Goodwin “Goodwin's "The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys" borrowed with insufficient attribution from three earlier works by other authors.” Bo Crader “A Historian and Her Sources” January 28, 2002

3 Joseph Biden had to pull out of the U.S. presidential race when he was accused of plagiarizing Labour Party candidate Neil Kinnock (see Nuts and Bolts of College Writing).Nuts and Bolts of College Writing Kinnock (original) Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Why is Glenys the first woman in her family in thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because our predecessors were thick? Does anybody really think that they didn't get what we had because they didn't have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment? Of course not? It was because there was no platform upon which they could stand. Biden I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university? Why is it that my wife who is sitting out there in the audience is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright?... No, it's not because they weren't as smart. It's not because they didn't work as hard. It's because they didn't have a platform upon which to stand...

4 Joseph Biden had to pull out of the U.S. presidential race when he was accused of plagiarizing Labour Party candidate Neil Kinnock Kinnock (original) Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Why is Glenys the first woman in her family in thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because our predecessors were thick? Does anybody really think that they didn't get what we had because they didn't have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment? Of course not? It was because there was no platform upon which they could stand. Biden I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university? Why is it that my wife who is sitting out there in the audience is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright?... No, it's not because they weren't as smart. It's not because they didn't work as hard. It's because they didn't have a platform upon which to stand...

5 Is it a paraphrase or a quotation? “On August 28, 1859, Custer returned to West Point. Cadet James Barroll Washington, a great-great-grandnephew of George Washington, entered that year. He remembered hearing the crowd shout, 'Here comes Custer!' The name meant nothing to him, but he turned, and saw a slim, immature lad with unmilitary figure, slightly rounded shoulders, and gangling walk." From Custer: The Life of General George Armstrong Custer by Jay Monaghan " When he returned to West Point, Cadet James B. Washington, a relative of George Washington, remembered hearing the crowd shout, 'Here comes Custer!' The name meant nothing to Washington, who was just entering the Academy, but he turned and saw a slim, immature lad with unmilitary figure, slightly rounded shoulders, and gangling walk, surrounded by back-slapping, laughing friends." From Crazy Horse and Custer by Stephen Ambrose

6 Why does plagiarism happen? Most often, however, the plagiarist has started out with good intentions but hasn't left enough time to do the reading and thinking that the assignment requires, has become desperate, and just wants the whole thing done with. At this point, in one common scenario, the student gets careless while taking notes on a source or incorporating notes into a draft, so the source's words and ideas blur into those of the student, who has neither the time nor the inclination to resist the blurring. … If, in your essay on plagiarism, after reading the [previous sentence] you observe that "at a certain point in the writing process the student has neither the time nor the inclination to resist the blurring of his source's words into his own" but don't use quotation marks at least for the words in the middle of the sentence, you are plagiarizing even if you do cite [this] booklet. From a handbook for a freshman composition course taught at Harvard.

7 Why does plagiarism happen? Failure to include citation (in text and in reference list at end of document). Happens for many reasons:  You don’t have the citation information  You get tired  You don’t know that you need to let the reader know where every “borrowed” idea or group (5 or more) of words came from. Failure to understand that documenting sources of information actually helps you the writer.

8 Why Document your Sources Help yourself retrieve information later! Help others learn from your work. Establish your credibility as a technical professional.  Show your work as part of a continuum of investigation.  Even design projects very often have multiple designers and previous work to start from.

9 Other Big Reasons to Document Sources you others To keep the distinction between what you said, developed, invented, discovered and what others discovered/said. To protect the expression of ideas (yours and others’).  Patents  Graphs/tables/figures  Written expressions: parts of reports, proposals, technical descriptions, web sites, etc., etc.

10 Example: Failure to cite borrowed words Exact wording from a website, but no quotation marks or citation:  An alternative to the common drain field is the Seepage Pit (Dry Well). In this type, liquid flows to a pre-cast tank with sidewall holes, surrounded by gravel. (Older versions usually consist of a pit with open-jointed brick or stone walls.) Liquid seeps through the holes or joints to the surrounding soil.

11 Here is the citation, but that’s not enough! An alternative to the common drain field is the Seepage Pit (Dry Well). In this type, liquid flows to a pre-cast tank with sidewall holes, surrounded by gravel. (Older versions usually consist of a pit with open-jointed brick or stone walls.) Liquid seeps through the holes or joints to the surrounding soil (Miller 2004).... Reference Miller, T.H., “Septic Systems and Their Maintenance,” Maryland Cooperative Extension,

12 Why else does plagiarism happen? Omitting quotation marks Poor paraphrasing

13 Don’t omit Quotation Marks Here is the way to “use” that passage in your own writing:  As experts have noted, the drain field is not the only possible septic system. “An alternative to the common drain field is the Seepage Pit (Dry Well). In this type, liquid flows to a pre-cast tank with sidewall holes, surrounded by gravel. (Older versions usually consist of a pit with open-jointed brick or stone walls.) Liquid seeps through the holes or joints to the surrounding soil” (Miller 2004)....

14 Poor paraphrasing ORIGINAL "To the young American architects who made the pilgrimage, the most dazzling figure of all was Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus School. Gropius opened the Bauhaus in Weimar, the German capital, in It was more than a school; it was a commune, a spiritual movement, a radical approach to art in all its forms, a philosophical center comparable to the Garden of Epicurus." Source: Tom Wolfe, From Bauhaus to Our House (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1981), 10. “As Tom Wolfe notes, to young American architects who went to Germany, the most dazzling figure was Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus School (1). Gropius opened the Baudaus in the German capital of Weimar in It was, however, more than a school, it was a commune, a spiritual movement, a philosophical Center like the Garden of Epicurus.” POOR PARAPHRASE

15 Paraphrase Synthesize an author’s idea with your own. Restate a passage in your own words. Don’t simply change a couple words or rearrange the order of words or sentences.

16 Paraphrase Process passage, put aside original, write in own words, compare with original. Like a summary, but point by point or idea by idea order matches the original.

17 Paraphrase Example “In the banking concept of education, knowledge is a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know nothing.” (Friere, Paulo, “The Banking Concept of Education,” in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, NY: Continuum, 1970, Quoted in *Ballenger, 1998.) According to Paulo Friere, a noted critic of teaching methods, all too often teachers see students as simply empty bank accounts into which they must deposit knowledge.*

18 Engineering Documents: To answer these questions, see PlagiarismPlagiarism What about quoting, paraphrasing, or citing engineering writing? Do the same plagiarism rules apply? Don’t technical concepts and descriptions have to be worded very precisely? So, how can we paraphrase? Isn’t the author of technical work unimportant? (After all, you we don’t use “I” very often.)

19 Summarize the Information As soon as you finish reading a piece (article, report, even an abstract), summarize it in your own words.  summarize its contents  summarize its relevance (or not) to your project  summarize its relative importance to your project – will you depend on it heavily? Summarizing makes a manageable paragraph out of a much bigger work – save your summaries in a word file.

20 Integrate Information into Your Own Work Describing information in your own words helps you integrate it into your own documents. Be sure to differentiate between conclusions of fact and inference.  “Extensive laboratory studies suggest that enhanced bioremediation might be applicable to stranded oil on the beaches of Prince William Sound.”

21 Summarizing 1. Record bibliographic information. 2. Skim for main topic. Write it down. 3. Read carefully, marking as you go. 4. Review marked information. 5. Set source aside. Process 5-10 minutes. 6. Quickly summarize: Problem, Thesis, Main Points, Conclusion. 7. Compare to original. 8. Add your own critique: how useful for you?

22 Unintentional plagiarism can be avoided. Take careful notes on research Develop a system for managing research notes Differentiate visually between summary, paraphrase, and direct quotation. Document your sources of information.

23 Documenting Sources Follow three steps: 1.Collect information about source 2.Format documentation according to guidelines 3.Integrate source material into your writing with correct citation and paraphrase or quotation. Collect information when you locate source.  Collect these pieces of information: author, date, title of work, title of larger work, publication info.  For electronic sources, add this information: electronic address, date of access


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