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Introduction to Library Research

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Avoiding Plagiarism

The penalties for plagiarism can range from failing the assignment, to expulsion from university.

Plagiarism is --

  • presenting words or ideas of another person as your own;
  • paraphrasing and not giving credit to the source;
  • copying a direct quotation from a source and not crediting the author;
  • cutting and pasting without providing a proper citation.

Avoid plagiarism.

Do not --

  • copy and paste text without attributing the source;
  • copy someone else's work;
  • allow someone other than you to do your work.

Do --

  • put quotation marks around anything that is not in your own words;
  • put quotation marks around anything you copied and pasted;
  • provide citations for anything you didn't write.

It is better to cite too often, than cite too little. Check with your professor if you're not sure.

If you need help with citations or citation styles talk to a librarian, your professor, or someone in the writing center.

Plagiarism devalues your degree, is a form of self-sabotage, and corrupts the scholarly method.

  • Plagiarism devalues your degree. It's true that plagiarism is a form of cheating, and professors and administrators are interested in stopping cheating. Ultimately, students are awarded with a certificate showing they have met the requirements of a university education. To award such certificates to someone who didn't do the work, devalues the diploma for everyone. Stopping plagiarism is one method for maintaining a high institutional reputation.
  • Plagiarism is a form of self-sabotage. The work you do here exercises your brain and critical thinking, in the same way going to the gym exercises your muscles. If you ask someone to do your physical exercises, and don't do them yourself, you would not be surprised to gain no benefits from your gym membership. Similarly, if you don't to the hard work of reading, thinking, and critical analysis, you won't gain the benefits of a university education.
  • Plagiarism subverts the scholarly method. To ensure the data, facts, evidence, and arguments scholars are working with are of the highest quality, it is essential we are able to trace the provenance to their origin.

This handy flowchart from Purdue University's Online Writing Labs (Purdue Owl) provides a visual understanding of when to provide a citation.

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