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Monday, July 15, 2013


Here's the best advice you'll ever receive about avoiding intentional plagiarism: If you're tempted to borrow someone else's ideas or plagiarize in any way because you're pressed for time, nervous about how you're doing in a class, or confused about the assignment, don't do it.

 if you have a clear sense of what question you're trying to answer and what knowledge you're building on, and if you keep careful, clear notes along the way, it's much easier to use sources effectively and responsibly and, most of all, to write a successful paper. 

When you type or cut and paste into that document, make sure to include the full citation information for the print source or the full URL and the date you copied the page(s). For Web sources, make sure to cite the page from which you're taking information, which may not necessarily be the home page of the site you're using. Use logical and precise names for the files you create, and add citation information and dates.

Keep your own writing and your sources separate - Work with either the printed copy of your source(s) or (in the case of online sources), the copy you pasted into a separate document—not the online version—as you draft your essay. This precaution not only decreases the risk of plagiarism but also enables you to annotate your sources in various ways that will help you understand and use them most effectively in your essay.

Never paraphrase or quote from a source without immediately adding a citation. You should add citations in your notes, in your response papers, in your drafts, and in your revisions. Without them, it's too easy to lose track of where you got a quotation or an idea and to end up inadvertently taking credit for material that's not your own

How can we make use of other authors' ideas and still credit their work? There are three methods of doing this:

1. Paraphrasing - A paraphrase is your restatement of an author’s ideas or some information. It should include the citation, i.e. name of the author and the date of publication of the material
E.g;  Davis(2001) discusses the influence of parents on their children’s decision making   process.

How can you make a successful paraphrase?
  • Read very carefully the text you are going to write about
  • Make notes while you are reading: Write down major points of argument, etc.
  • Make sure that you have understood the writer’s ideas completely
  • Express in your own words the ideas or information you have read: A good way to do that is to put the text away and write your own sentences:
  • Use synonyms
  • Reorder the information or ideas
  • Change the sentence pattern
  • You may state the information in shorter and simpler sentences

2. Quoting - When should you quote? If the original wording of the source is very well-known and widely-recognized, or when the original phrasing is distinctly put together and paraphrasing would alter the meaning or weaken the effect, then you should use direct quotation from the source
When you quote a writer you should acknowledge the source. Using one of the format style manuals (MLA, APA, Chicago) you indicate the name of the author and the date of the publication.
E.g. 1978 Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevich Singer once said, "I believe in miracles in every area of life, except writing. Experience has shown me that there are no miracles in writing. The only thing that produces good writing is hard work."
E.g. "We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born." (Dawkins, 1999, p.1)

3. Summarizing - When you are writing a research paper, a term paper or reviewing for an exam, you may be asked to summarize the main ideas in a text criticize the approach taken by the author discuss the theme, etc. Your audience will make a great difference in the way you approach a text and summarize it. The notes you make for your own use will differ from the notes you make to discuss the matter with a friend, or from the summary you write for your professor. How much they know about the subject, how much detail you are going to include will all depend on the task and your target audience.

How to make a summary
A good strategy in summarizing a text you have read is:
  • Read the text several times but do not make any notes. During your first reading you may take extensive notes, but later you may find out that you do not need them. Therefore, read without making notes but interacting with the author. That is, familiarize yourself with the text, the author, the main ideas and arguments, etc.
  • List the key ideas and supporting arguments
  • Rank them in order of importance
  • Evaluate them
  • Summarize the text
  • Acknowledge the source in the summary text and also list in the reference section


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