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Plagiarism Michael Lorenzen LIB 197 23 September 2003.

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1 Plagiarism Michael Lorenzen LIB 197 23 September 2003

2 Agenda What is Plagiarism How to Avoid Plagiarism Why Students Plagiarize Sources of Online Plagiarism How Faculty Detect Plagiarized Papers

3 What is Plagiarism Three Types of Plagiarism – Direct Quotes Paraphrasing Unique ideas

4 Direct Quotes If you use someone else’s writing without putting it in quotes, you have blatantly plagiarized. Even if you add the source in your bibliography, it is still plagiarism.

5 Paraphrasing Be careful about rewriting someone else’s words. If your sentences use many of the same words and grammatical structure as the original source, it could be construed as plagiarism. Just put the text in your own words.

6 Original Idea Give credit to unique ideas others have thought up. If you present the ideas of another without crediting them, you have plagiarized them. Obvious ideas, like know facts, don’t have to be credited. When in doubt, attribute.

7 Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism Always put quotes from text in quotations. Never forget to do this as this is the easiest way to get accused of plagiarism.

8 When Paraphrasing… Be sure you are not just rearranging or replacing words. Rewrite the phrase in your own words and credit the original source. Double check what you have wrote by comparing it with the original writing.

9 Avoid Danger Spots Don’t surf to paper mills. Don’t use the Web to look for “easy’ paper sources. Don’t turn in other students papers as your own.

10 Why do students cheat? Some students do not come to higher education seeking an education. Instead, they want a credential that will get them a job. Learning is not a priority, getting a good job at graduation is.

11 This does not relate to my major... Some students resent having to take courses not directly tied to their major. They see university general education requirements as a waste of their time.

12 GPA’s Many students feel intense pressure to maintain a high grade point average. This can come from friends and family. Students also feel high grades are necessary for getting a good job or getting into the graduate program of their choice. Plagiarized papers are seen as a way of keeping the GPA high without all the work.

13 Self-defense Other students in the university are cheating. This may give them an unfair advantage over students who do not cheat, particularly if a course is graded on a curve. Plagiarism in response to the cheating of others is a way for some students to level the playing field.

14 I am too busy to write Some students plagiarize because they do not have a lot of free time. They may be busy with heavy class loads, multiple jobs, family obligations, social activities, and resume building experiences.

15 Ignorance Some students inadvertently plagiarize from online sources. They do not understand all the rules for properly using and citing sources. (“I cited the web site didn’t I?)

16 Sources of online plagiarism: Paper mills Web sites Electronic library resources

17 Paper Mills “Download Your work load!” ( Evil House of Cheats (

18 The price for paper mill papers Free- Download what you want for free. The site makes money by selling banner ads. Free but registration is required- The site makes money from banner ads and from selling membership lists. Give a paper, take a paper- Again, banner ads provide site with revenue.

19 More on cost... Membership Fee- Pay a fee for unlimited access to full database of papers. Charge by page- “High” cost sites charge by the page. If you don’t find what you need, they will custom write your paper for a stiff fee.

20 What does the student get? Dated material Poor writing Bad or nonexistent research BUT NOT ALWAYS

21 Good papers can come from a variety of sources. Old fraternity paper files that have been digitized. Students uploading their own papers. Students uploading the papers of others. This includes papers that faculty make available to students as examples of good papers as well as papers that students post on their own homepages.

22 Detecting plagiarized papers Writing style, language, vocabulary, tone, grammar, etc. is different than what you expect from the student. Different writing styles, tones, language, etc. in different parts of paper.

23 Web address on page? Check to see if there is a web address at the top or the bottom of a page. This probably means the paper was printed with a web browser directly from a web site.

24 Copyright notice? Check to see if any copyright notices are anywhere in the text of the paper. Also check to see if any notices similar to “this free paper brought to you by” appear anywhere in the paper. Some students do not read through all the text before turning it in as their own.

25 Layout Is the page strangely or poorly laid out? This could mean that the text was imported into a word processor. The imported text was originally formatted differently and the conversion changed how the page looks. If a student does not take the time to fix it, the page will look odd when printed.

26 Graphs or charts? Does the paper make reference to charts or graphs that can not be found? Maybe the originally paper had these items but subsequent recycling has resulted in the loss of these items.

27 Inactive web sites The bibliography of the paper lists web sites that are no longer active. In the months (or years) since the paper was originally written, the web site has died or has changed web addresses.

28 Dated material All of the citations in the bibliography are at least a few years old. Most databases list the newest citations first when doing a search. Students also prefer to use new material for citing in papers. Old citations may have been new when the paper was originally written.

29 The past is now Does the paper make reference to past events as if they where happening today? (“I believe that the impeachment hearings on President Clinton are unfair and are politically biased. The whole impeachment process should be stopped now.”)

30 How to Detect or Google to the Rescue Type in a key sentence from the paper as a phrase search. For example, type “The students in my LIB 197 class are good.” Google indexes so many sites that even if the student didn’t use Google, a phrase search may find the original source anyway.

31 More Detection A good supplement to Google is All the Web at There are commercial vendors as well. They scan papers against known cheat sites for a fee. This includes and

32 Plagiarism Can Kill Careers Jayson Blair plagiarized sources. He also fabricated stories. In his 20s, he was at the top of the journalism world. Now he is disgraced, unemployed, and not yet 30.

33 The New Republic Stephen Glass was a writer for the New Republic in the 1990s. He made up stories by inventing people, organizations, and events. He also plagiarized other writers. He was fired and had to go back to school to find another career. Now he is a lawyer…

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