Plagiarism

  • Plagiarism is not about the writer; it's about the writer’s work.
  • Plagiarism could occur from any of the following:
    • by copying word for word from a source without using quotes and without naming that source
    • by peddling someone else's idea or ideas as your own without naming the source
    • by mimicking the form and structure of someone else’s ideas.
  • Since plagiarism is about the writing, there is no argument to ever have about the writer's intent or ignorance.
  • In other words, what you intended to do or not has no bearing on plagiarism.
  • If the paper has plagiarized ideas or passages, it's broken.

Avoiding Plagiarism

  1. While the main idea of a paper is YOURS, don't consider yourself THE writer of a paper
    • You are, instead, a facilitator of a discussion about your idea
    • As a facilitator, the more voices you bring into the discussion, the better.
  2. Know the difference between common knowledge and academic knowledge.
  3. Common knowledge:
    • Common knowledge does not mean common to people
    • Common knowledge means common to the sources about the subject.
      • Thomas Jefferson's mother's name is common knowledge to all the biographies concerning Jefferson.
    • Common knowledge should never be quoted in a paper
      • Unless it is a fact or figure that your reader's might find suspect, such as the dollar figure of sales connected with your subject.
  4. Academic knowledge
    • Academic knowledge is specific to a source or more often to a person who has discussed that idea in many sources.
    • Academic knowledge must be cited in a paper
    • When citing a quote, give the name of th person and the article or text in your sentence.
    • AVOID paraphrasing academic knowledge--quote the material.

Plagiarizing Structure

  • Be careful not to plagiarize the structure and form of a source.
  • See this webpage's Text Example Three for an example of plagiarizing structure
  • To avoid plagiarizing structure, do not read new material while typing your paper.
    1. Read the material that you need to use
    2. walk away for 20 minutes and go do something else.
    3. Return and without looking at the source, write what you can.
    4. Lather, rinse, repeat.