Assignment – plagiarism, research methods, and citation

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Assignment – Plagiarism, Research Methods, and Citation

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Many of you are taking this course because you plan to attend college or university. It is important to avoid plagiarism at all levels of school, but it is extremely important to avoid it in college. Colleges/universities will give you a zero for the entire course when you plagiarize, even if you’ve done it by accident, and some will expel you or leave a permanent comment on your academic record.

Why is plagiarism taken so seriously? It is theft from the original author, which is unethical and sometimes illegal. And it prevents the person who is plagiarizing from having the intended learning experience. If you plagiarize, you are robbing others of their work and you are robbing yourself of a full education.

In this lesson, you will learn exactly what plagiarism is, and you will learn some research and study techniques to help you avoid it. 

What is plagiarism?

Adapted from UCDenver. Read more (Links to an external site.).

Plagiarism is the use of another person’s ideas or words without acknowledgment. It is important to understand that even ideas can be plagiarized – changing the wording of someone else’s work is not enough to avoid plagiarism.

The incorporation of another person’s work into one’s own requires appropriate identification and acknowledgment, called citation. All of the following are considered plagiarism, if there is no citation:

· Word-for-word copying of another person’s ideas or words.

· Adding or changing some words from another person’s work and submitting it as your own.

· Rewriting another person’s work, yet still using their fundamental idea or theory.

· Submitting another person’s work as one’s own.

When you have been asked to do research and to use that research in forming your own response, how then can you avoid plagiarism? 

1. By following proper research methods

2. By providing citations for every use of another person’s ideas or writing

Proper research methods:

When you are doing research, you should have two documents open: the one you are reading and one where you can write. These can be electronic or paper documents, as you prefer.

As you read from the source you have chosen, you should be thinking about its main points. It can be helpful to stop after every few paragraphs and ask yourself, “what is being said?” Those main points are what you should be writing down in your own document. For example, if you read the paragraph included in the left column below, you might take the notes that you see in the right column: