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How to Research for an Essay and Avoid Plagiarism

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Presentation on theme: "How to Research for an Essay and Avoid Plagiarism"— Presentation transcript:

1 How to Research for an Essay and Avoid Plagiarism
For university and college students using Cognitive Psychology as an example

2 Plan for today Look at a paper (journal article)
Discuss researching for and writing essays Practice citations Discuss plagiaristic practices

3 Researching for Essay Wikipedia NO
Other websites, blogs, newspapers, encyclopaedias, summary sites NO Google Scholar YES Why is google scholar different? Because the articles presented by this database have already been published. After publication, a pdf file or other type of file is uploaded to a scholars’ database for use by searching. Google Scholar then searches all of the scholars’ databases.



6 Home vs College For some articles you may only be able to access the abstract – this is still useful On the college network you will be able to access more ‘full text’ articles, as they have paid a subscription Use the college network as much as possible but use home networks or other libraries if necessary Don’t pay for an article! Use the abstract instead, or get it via the college network

7 Advanced Search You can perform an advanced search on Google Scholar to restrict the search by year and by author name It is better to find more recent research especially in fast moving fields such as cognitive psychology The advanced search helps if you have a very wide area to narrow down, or you know the name of an author


9 Abstract Only You may find an article in abstract but not ‘full text’, these are useful to increase your references

10 No need to reference URL
Format for references: name(s) date, title, journal, vol(no), pages Mather, G. & Murdoch, L. (1994) Gender Discrimination in Biological Motion Displays Based on Dynamic Cues, Proceedings: Biological Sciences, 258(1353), pp You can use an abstract if you can’t access the full article, and do not generally need to admit that you only used the abstract. However, if all of your citations come from abstracts then it will be obvious to the marker as you will only be able to make general points.

11 Full articles in pdf Again, no need to reference the url as it is all there for you to format as a reference for your essay. Look at this heading (handout) and tell me what the reference should be. Remember: name(s) date, title, journal, vol(no), pages Grèzes, J., Fonlupt,P., Bertenthal, B., Delon-Martin, C., Segebarth, C., & Decety, J. (2001). Does Perception of Biological Motion Rely on Specific Brain Regions? NeuroImage, 13, pp.775–785.

12 Grèzes et al 2001 paper This paper is 11 pages long
I have printed the first page and the last page of the article which includes references We will now look in detail at the paper You have five minutes to scan these two pages

13 Processing an article for your essay
What can you learn from only the abstract? The investigators’ stance, their premise and brief outline of conclusion What can you learn from the introduction on the first page? An overview of the previous literature Learn your own style from introductions like this, as these are basically essays What does the reference list give you? Information for your next search

14 When to read the whole paper
If the paper interests you then read the whole thing, it will enhance your understanding of the topic If it is the only paper you have been able to access If your essay is based specifically on this paper, e.g. you are replicating the study In most other cases you should skim the paper and pick out the pertinent points. If you read every paper meticulously, then you are spending too much time on it given the amount of time you have to write the essay.

15 Reference List Learn from the reference list you see in published articles Learn the format of references Notice how many of the references are books and how many are other papers For your essays you won’t be expected to include this many – you should aim for one general textbook, one or two books specific to the topic, and 5-10 articles for a standard sized essay of 1500 – 3000 words Use the references here for your own research (not just copying as this is plagiarism!)

16 Stealing References = Plagiarism
What you cannot do because it is plagiarism: Take a reference directly from a paper to use in your own essay without accessing the original or citing the author you are copying as a secondary source Copy a whole sentence including a reference from another paper without citing the author you are copying as a secondary source Any other form of copying from a research paper when you do not cite the author.

17 Borrowing References is not Plagiarism
Accessing the original: “The recognition of point lights occur early in visual processing (Johansson, 1973).” Johansson appears in your reference list because you have found and read the original paper. Citing the source: “The recognition of point lights occur early in visual processing (Johansson, 1973, cited by Grèzes et al, 2001 ).” Johansson does not appear in your reference list, but Grèzes does. Citing the source here is referred to as secondary referencing and you should minimise this in your essay – keep it for those points you want to make but cannot access the original.

18 Borrowing References Copying a reference list from another paper is unacceptable. THIS IS PLAGIARISM You can use legitimately use a reference list as a starting point for your own search, this is known as back-chaining. Highlight the references you want, search google scholar for author and keywords. You will find that paper plus any more recent papers which have referenced it, and will therefore also be relevant. This is perfectly acceptable academic practice and is not plagiarism.

19 Academic Style You should develop an academic style in your essays. Reading papers will give you a style. Use impersonal statements, e.g. “It has been demonstrated that…” not personal e.g. “I think that…” Every main point you make should be supported by a citation (author name & date in brackets). Reading articles will give you experience of this style so that you begin to soak it up yourself. It will become obvious to the tutor marking your essay that you read a lot of articles when you begin writing in an academic style.

20 How Does a Tutor Spot Plagiarism?
Software that scans your essay and compares it to others and the internet. If part of your essay is written in academic style and part of it is not, the academic parts will fall under suspicion. If they notice their own lecture notes regurgitated back to them.

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