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MAS (Leadership) Handbook


Plagiarism Guidelines

The following segments excerpted from the Indiana University plagiarism website http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/wts/plagiarism.html should help you understand how to avoid plagiarizing in a paper.

"How to Recognize Unacceptable and Acceptable Paraphrases" Here's the ORIGINAL text, from page 1 of Lizzie Borden: A Case Book of Family and Crime in the 1890s by Joyce Williams et al.:

The rise of industry, the growth of cities, and the expansion of the population were the three great developments of late nineteenth century American history. As new, larger, steam-powered factories became a feature of the American landscape in the East, they transformed farm hands into industrial laborers, and provided jobs for a rising tide of immigrants. With industry came urbanization and the growth of large cities (like Fall River, Massachusetts, where the Bordens lived) which became the centers of production as well as of commerce and trade.

Here's an UNACCEPTABLE paraphrase that is plagiarism:

The increase of industry, the growth of cities, and the explosion of the population were three large factors of nineteenth century America. As steam-driven companies became more visible in the eastern part of the country, they changed farm hands into factory workers and provided jobs for the large wave of immigrants. With industry came the growth of large cities like Fall River where the Bordens lived which turned into centers of commerce and trade as well as production.

What makes this passage plagiarism?

The preceding passage is considered plagiarism for two reasons:

  • the writer has only changed around a few words and phrases, or changed the order of the original's sentences.
  • the writer has failed to cite a source for any of the ideas or facts.

If you do either or both of these things, you are plagiarizing. NOTE: This paragraph is also problematic because it changes the sense of several sentences (for example, "steam-driven companies" in sentence two misses the original's emphasis on factories).

Here's an ACCEPTABLE paraphrase:

Fall River, where the Borden family lived, was typical of northeastern industrial cities of the nineteenth century. Steam-powered production had shifted labor from agriculture to manufacturing, and as immigrants arrived in the US, they found work in these new factories. As a result, populations grew, and large urban areas arose. Fall River was one of these manufacturing and commercial centers (Williams 1).

Why is this passage acceptable?

This is acceptable paraphrasing because the writer:

  • accurately relays the information in the original and uses her own works.
  • lets her reader know the source of her information.

Here's an example of quotation and paraphrase used together, which is also ACCEPTABLE:

Fall River, where the Borden family lived, was typical of northeastern industrial cities of the nineteenth century. As steam-powered production shifted labor from agriculture to manufacturing, the demand for workers "transformed farm hands into factory workers," and created jobs for immigrants. In turn, growing populations increased the size of urban areas. Fall River was one of these manufacturing hubs that were also "centers of commerce and trade" (Williams 1)

Why is this passage acceptable?

This is acceptable paraphrasing because the writer:

  • records the information in the original passage accurately.
  • gives credit for the ideas in this passage.
  • indicated which part is taken directly from her source by putting the passage in quotation marks and citing the page number.

Note that if the writer had used these phrases or sentences in her own paper without putting quotation marks around them, she would be PLAGIARIZING. Using another person's phrases or sentences without putting quotation marks around them is considered plagiarism EVEN IF THE WRITER CITES IN HER OWN TEXT THE SOURCE OF THE PHRASES OR SENTENCES SHE HAS QUOTED.

This entire resource was taken from the following website: http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/wts/plagiarism.html.

Strategies for Avoiding Plagiarism

  1. Put in quotations everything that comes directly from the text especially when taking notes.
  2. Paraphrase, but be sure you are not just rearranging or replacing a few words. Instead, read over what you want to paraphrase carefully; cover up the text with your hand, or close the text so you can't see any of it (and so aren't tempted to use the text as a "guide"). Write out the idea in your own words without peeking.
  3. Check your paraphrase against the original text to be sure you have not accidentally used the same phrases or words, and that the information is accurate.

Terms You Need to Know (or What is Common Knowledge?)

Common knowledge: facts that can be found in numerous places and are likely to be known by a lot of people. Example: John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States in 1960. This is generally known information. You do not need to document this fact.

However, you must document facts that are not generally known and ideas that interpret facts. Example: According the American Family Leave Coalition's new book, Family Issues and Congress, President Bush's relationship with Congress has hindered family leave legislation (6). The idea that "Bush's relationship with Congress has hindered family leave legislation" is not a fact but an interpretation; consequently, you need to cite your source. Quotation: using someone's words. When you quote, place the passage you are using in quotation marks, and document the source according to a standard documentation style. The following example uses the Modern Language Association's style: Example: According to Peter S. Pritchard in USA Today, "Public schools need reform but they're irreplaceable in teaching all the nation's young" (14).

Paraphrase: using someone's ideas, but putting them in your own words. This is probably the skill you will use most when incorporating sources into your writing. Although you use your own words to paraphrase, you must still acknowledge the source of the information.

Produced by Writing Tutorial Services, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
(This entire resource was taken from the following website: http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/wts/plagiarism.html.)

The following guidance was taken from the About.com website:

Plagiarism and citation of sources, written or electronic

Plagiarism is defined as "the taking and passing off the thoughts, writings, etc, of other people as your own". In short, it is intellectual theft.

In not crediting the source, a person is guilty of stealing another's research, thinking, writing, or images (intellectual knowledge in all its forms). It is unacceptable at all times; it is completely unacceptable in an intellectual environment such as a university. We take a very dim view of students who engage in plagiarism.

If a student is found to have deliberately plagiarized the work of another -- including copying the work of other students -- the penalties are severe. The "best outcome" will be a zero for the particular assessment exercise. You may be failed outright for that subject. If there is reason to believe that you have made a practice of plagiarism, university disciplinary action may be recommended which could result in your expulsion from the university and denial of your degree.

Sometimes a student might inadvertently plagiarize. This is usually the result of inexperience, sloppy note taking, or a combination of both. With the advent of the Internet and a wide range of other electronic sources, the rules for correct citation are still being written. In general, you should try to follow the practice established for citation of written works.

The following notes are to help you avert being suspected of or accused of plagiarizing the work of another person. They include special notes on citation of sources found on the World Wide Web.

Basic Rules

You must cite the source of information in the body of any essay or assignment (either as a numbered footnote or as an in-text reference) and list the cited source in the bibliography ordered alphabetically. To do this properly, you need to be careful about recording the source of each note that you make, whatever the source, be it a book, a journal, a film or TV documentary, or a source on the Internet.

Each note you take should include certain basic information which enables another person to identify correctly and locate that source and the origin of your quote or data cited. The methods vary for different types of sources. In the first reference to any type of item you must give a description sufficient to identify it. This requires:

For books: Author (full name), Title of book (underlined or in italics), the edition (if not the first), Place and Date of the publication, and Page Number.

For articles: Author (full name), Title of article (between "quotation marks"), Name of journal (underlined or in italics), Volume and Issue number, Date/Year of publication, Page Number.

For World Wide Web sources: name of organization providing the service, the title of the home page and its http://-address (this is the most important reference), the date of creation of that page (if known) or the date of your access (since pages can change or disappear).

Because the WWW is hyperlink media, pages containing "hotlinks" which allow you to go elsewhere, it is important that you note the actual location (URL) of the page from which you have obtained your information. You do that by looking at the Location: field which shows the http://-address. (Some sites allow you to visit other sites within one of their frames without change the root address. You need to note this.)