Understand Plagiarism and Avoid It
Before you start to accumulate notes for your research paper, ask yourself if you fully understand what constitutes plagiarism. At one extreme is the gross offense of trying to pass off as one’s own the exact words of another; at the other extreme is the subtle matter of “borrowing” a fine phrase to dress up one’s own writing. Through ignorance a student may in all honesty misuse his/her sources in such a way that he is guilty of plagiarism; but he/she is nonetheless guilty.
An analogy to other kinds of dishonesty may help. To use another’s words or ideas is roughly the equivalent of stealing the funds of a fraternity for one’s own use. However, funds are made up of concrete money; words and ideas are abstract, and consequently the line between honest and dishonest use may be harder to define. There are, of course, correct and honorable ways of borrowing money. Forms of acknowledgement have to be included with your use of source material in the same way that legal forms have to be filled out before a bank will let you use its money.
Examine the following discussion of degrees of plagiarism:
1. Word-for-word plagiarism. This includes (a) the submission of another student’s work as one’s own; (b) the submission of work from any source whatever that is not properly acknowledged by parenthetical citation and/or reference in the paper itself; (c) the submission of any part of another’s work without proper use of quotation marks.
2. Patchwork-quilt plagiarism. As our grandmothers used to put together large quilts out of scraps of cloth, a student may make the mistake of passing off as an original paper one that is stitched together from phrases and sentences taken from his sources. If he/she does not include quotation marks around all such borrowings, he/she is committing plagiarism. Mere rearrangements of phrases into a new pattern does not confer originality.
3. Unacknowledged paraphrase. An author’s discovery of fact or original interpretation of fact is as much his property as his exact words are. Restatement by paraphrase means you must give credit to the original sources in parenthetical citations.
-- adapted from the Harbrace Guide to the Library and Research Paper, by Donald A. Sears, pp. 38-39.
From Lawrence Institute of Technology Catalog, pg 17:
“Academic dishonesty includes plagiarism, cheating, forgery, or other acts that deceive or defraud in regard to a student’s own academic work or that of others. Questions of academic dishonesty are reviewed by the Dean of the School responsible for the courses in which they occur. When necessary, cases of academic dishonestly may be referred to the Student Discipline Committee. The usual penalty for academic dishonesty is failure in the course on the first offense and expulsion from the College on the second offense.”
When you quote directly from the work of an author, you must use quotation marks. If you paraphrase (use the author's idea, your words), you must use your own language and sentence structure completely. In either case, parenthetical citation must be provided. If you fail to give full credit for words or ideas you borrow, you are guilty of a form of literary dishonesty known as "plagiarizing."
I. Here is an example of plagiarism:
FORM IN WHICH PRESENTED BY STUDENT
The expanded scope of business activity, the wave of mergers and consolidations, and greatly expanded product lines in most industries have brought the need for new methods, new ideas, new techniques for doing the job better. Creative problem solving has therefore assumes front track importance.
The increased scope of business activity, mergers and consolidations, and greatly expanded product lines in most industries have brought about the need for new methods, ideas and techniques for doing a better job. For this reason, creative problem solving has assumed first rank importance.
Here are two examples of proper form:
I. Direct quotation-
(Note form: single -spaced, block style, double-indented, no quotation marks.)
the expanded scope of business activity, the wave of mergers and
II. Legitimate paraphrase -
(a) Lazo and Corbin believe that management must apply more creative thinking in order to solve today's complex business problems (120).
(b) Lazo and Corbin suggest that today's new and complex business problems require "creative problem solving" (120).
Lazo, Hector, and Arnold Corbin. Management in Marketing. New York: McGraw-Hill
Book Company, Inc., 1961.
**NOTE TO READER: The given information has been posted for the intention of avoiding plagiarism. The citations used are to be used as an example of how not to plagiarize and not taken as following any of the more formal writing styles specific guidelines. Please reference guidebooks, or ask your instructor, for proper citation when using writing styles such as MLA, APA, and Chicago.