Avoiding Plagiarism by Citing Sources Correctly
When a person produces evidence of intellectual property, whether it
be a book, article, report, or even programming source code, that intellectual
property is owned by the author.
Copyright laws exist to protect the ownership of any original
body of work, and assume that the author has the exclusive rights to
his or her work.
What are exclusive rights? This means that the author decides
who can reproduce and who can re-distribute the work. It is your obligation
to make sure that you adhere to the concepts and laws of copyright by
using information responsibly.
When you write a research paper, you consult the works of
many other writers. You must always credit information gathered from other sources.
What kinds of sources should be credited?
Who should be credited?
- Information and ideas
- Paragraphs, sentences and distinct phrases
- Statistics, research, lab results, artwork, graphics, etc.
Always give credit to the sources you've consulted by creating parenthetical references to them in your own writing
and by creating a list of Works Cited.
- Published writers of books, articles
- Internet sources
- Personal or recorded interviews
- Information gathered from other students at SRJC or elsewhere
The plagiarism tutorial at SRJC's Online Writing Center (OWL) offers excellent information about this week's topic. Click on the link below:
...to read through their material, which works in conjunction with our class material.
The SRJC OWL's tutorial about working with sources offers additional in-depth information about quoting and paraphrasing. Click on the link below
to read through it.
Finally, the Central Piedmont Community College Library
has created an interactive tutorial to help students
understand the basics of citations and plagiarism. The tutorial
takes a few minutes to complete, and requires the Flash player. Please link to the
tutorial by clicking on this web address:
Parenthetical references are the writer's way of acknowledging those
places in his or her paper where the work of another person was incorporated.
Use parenthetical references in the text of your document to point to
a specific information source. For example:
Medieval Europe was a place both of "raids, pillages, slavery,
and extortion" and of "traveling merchants, monetary exchange,
towns if not cities, and active markets in grain" (Townsend
(Townsend 10) tells the reader that the quotes used in that example
came from page 10 of an information source by Townsend. In order to be
sure that the reader can find the entire source, you must also include
the full bibliographic citation in your Works Cited or Bibliography. The
bibliographic citation would look like this:
Townsend, Robert M. The Medieval Village Economy. Princeton:
Princeton UP, 1993.
The parenthetical references in a paper work in tandem with the List
of Works Cited. Having one does not negate or supplant use of the other.
MLA takes a very clean approach to using parenthetical references, with
the following guidelines for format:
Example 1. Author's name in reference: This point has already
been argued (Tannen 178-85).
Example 2. Author's name in text: Tannen has argued this point
Examples taken from:
Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing.
6th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2003.
Plagiarism is the act of taking another person's ideas, writings or inventions
and using them without giving proper credit to the originator .When writing
a research paper, this translates to using the writings of the author
without quoting the words taken and without including bibliographic references
to the original work.
Always give the appropriate acknowlegement to the originator for his
or her thoughts and ideas.This means giving credit to the author when
you use any kind of information from another source. This information
- an opinion from the editiorial page of a newspaper
- statistics from a government handbook
- facts from an encyclopedia
- comments by someone in an interview
Sometimes, plagiarism is not intentional. Develop thorough note taking
habits when you are conducting your research so that you do not fall into
the trap of using information without crediting its source.
When you paraphrase, you read and digest the ideas of the author, and
then explain them in your own language.
Paraphrasing is the process of putting an author's writing into your
own words. This is more than simply changing one or two words here and
there. Paraphrasing requires you to read the original work, and then to
restate a summary of that original work using your own writing style.
Some Tips for Paraphrasing
- Be careful to use your own words when you paraphrase.
Paraphrase accurately - don't distort the author's ideas or insert
your own. Your comments and analysis can follow the paraphrase.
- Credit the author and source when discussing his or her
- Wording, sentence structure, and the order of ideas should change.
Tweaking a few words is not paraphrasing.
How to Paraphrase
Read the passage several times if you don't understand it at first.
It is normal to not immediately grasp every concept presented to
you when studying a new topic. Re-reading information helps to fully
absorb its meaning.
Identify the important elements of information.Try underlining
them or using whatever methodology helps you to pull out the key points
Restate the information to yourself, orally, as if telling a
friend what you have just read. Then try writing down your restated
information. Remember to change the order of the points presented by
the author and change the wording to reflect your own writing style.
It is perfectly acceptable to use synonyms, or different words as long
as you don't change the meaning of the original passage.
Examples of Paraphrasing