How to avoid it!
Write your own papers. Your self-respect requires academic honesty. If you incorporate someone else’s words or ideas in your paper, give credit to the source. This guide will explain how to cite your sources correctly. Using material that you did not create yourself and that you do not cite is cheating and it is specifically forbidden (see the TASIS Middle School Handbook, under Academic Dishonesty). You must carefully identify anything you borrow. Despite ready electronic access to documents, and the ease of copying texts and images on computers, it is dishonest to “cut & paste” without recognizing the author(s).
Avoid restating an author’s idea as your own by identifying:
- Your original ideas
- Thoughts paraphrased from other authors
- Direct quotations using the words from your sources
Numbers 2 and 3 above require citations.
The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers provides this summary of plagiarism:
You have plagiarized if:
- You took notes that did not distinguish summary or paraphrase from quotation and then you presented wording from the notes as if it were all your own.
- While browsing the web, you copied text and pasted it into your paper without quotation marks or without citing the source.
- You presented facts without saying where you found them.
- You repeated or paraphrased someone’s wording without acknowledgment.
- You took someone’s unique or particularly apt phrase without acknowledgment.
- You took someone's image, video, audiofile or music without acknowledgment.
- You bought or otherwise acquired a research paper and handed in part or all of it as your own.
You can avoid plagiarism by:
- Making a list of writers and viewpoints you discovered in your research and using the list to double-check the presentation of material in your paper.
- Keeping the following three categories distinct in your notes: your ideas, your summaries of others’ material, and exact wording you copy.
- Identifying the sources of all material you borrow – exact wording, paraphrases, ideas, arguments, and facts.
- Acknowledging image and multi-media retrieval from the internet and carefully considering the rights and permissions you need to acquire before sharing images, music or videos in a public way.
- Checking with your instructor when you are uncertain about your use of sources.