WHAT IS PLAGIARISM
AND HOW TO AVOID IT
What is plagiarism?
is the act of stating or implying that another’s work is your own. You commit
plagiarism when you:
- Submit a paper
you have not written to be graded or reviewed
- Use ideas,
quotations or words from another source without crediting the original
- Fake a
reference or give references to original sources without looking them up
Why avoid plagiarism?
is a violation of the Santiago
“Student Code of Conduct,” and students who “knowingly steal the words or ideas
of another” can face either limited or college-wide sanctions. Guidelines for academic dishonestly are
spelled out in the SCC Catalog.
Passing off another person’s work as your own is wrong, and copyright
violations can result in fines or damages.
When you plagiarize you also really cheat yourself. You don’t learn how to express your ideas and
to deny yourself the opportunity to learn and practice writing and research
skills that you will need in your future careers. You show disrespect to your peers who have
completed their own work and invite faculty and future employers to question
your integrity and work ethic.
WAYS TO AVOID PLAGIARISM
use your own ideas and words. Arrive
at an argument and point of view so you have a distinctive voice in your
paper and aren’t overwhelmed by outside sources.
give credit whenever you use another person’s idea, opinion or theory. All statistics, graphs, charts, quotations,
and paraphrases should be cited no matter where you find them.
check with your instructor if you are unsure whether to cite information.
take care when printing/downloading sources and taking notes. As you take notes, distinguish between
paraphrases and direct quotations, and record all the information you will
need for your citations and Works Cited or References page.
check a citation guide or style manual, such as the MLA Handbook for Writers
of Research Papers, for specific rules regarding the documentation of
materials. Citation information and
help is available at the SCC Library.
edit and rewrite your essays, asking others to review your writing as well.
ask the staff at the SCC Writing Center for assistance.
buy, steal or borrow a paper or test, then submit it as your own work.
re-submit or reuse a paper written for another class.
make up fake sources, quotes or interviews.
hire or ask someone else to write or rewrite your paper for you.
think that because something is on the Internet it doesn’t need to be cited
or referenced in your paper.
“cut and paste” materials from the Internet or other electronic sources into
your paper without acknowledging where that information came from.
quote or paraphrase from another source without crediting the original
procrastinate on assignments so that you are under time pressure and become
tempted to take shortcuts.
be afraid to ask your instructor if you feel unsure or are overwhelmed by an
ACCEPTABLE EXAMPLES OF PARAPHRASING
Paraphrasing is the rewriting of an author’s idea in your
own words. When you paraphrase, you must
cite the source and fully rewrite the original language and sentence
structure. If you use even a short
phrase or a distinctive word, use quotation marks.
Below is a passage from Tricia Rose’s Black Noise:
Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (page 2):
music is a black cultural expression that prioritizes black voices from the
margins of urban America. Rap music is a form of rhymed storytelling
accompanied by highly rhythmic, electronically based music. It began in the mid-1970s in the South Bronx
in New York City
as part of hip hop, an Africa-American and Afro-Caribbean youth culture
composed of graffiti, breakdancing, and rap music. From the outset, rap music has articulated
the pleasures and problems of black personal experience, taking on the identity
of the observer or narrator.
Here is an UNACCEPTABLE paraphrase that is
black cultural expression, rap music, a form of rhymed storytelling accompanied
by electronic based music, is a cultural expression that takes black voices out
from the margins of urban America. From the mid-1970s, when it began in the South Bronx as part of hip hop, rap music has told of the
pleasures and problems of the black personal experience, taking on the identity
of the observer or narrator.
The preceding passage is plagiarism because: (1) the
writer has changed the order of the original’s sentences and has only changed
around a few words and phrases, and (2) the writer has failed to cite Tricia
Rose’s book as the source for the ideas and facts presented. Making simple changes while leaving the
content and language intact is plagiarism.
Here is an ACCEPTABLE paraphrase:
rap music first developed in the mid-1970s in the South Bronx in New York City, it
combined elements from the African American and Afro-Caribbean youth culture to
create a new form of music that reflected the urban experience. Rap music became a powerful musical force by
which alienated black youths could express the joys and hardships of modern
urban living in America
This is ACCEPTABLE because the writer cites the source of
the information and relays the original information using his or her own words.
Here is an ACCEPTABLE quotation:
Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America, Tricia Rose defines
rap music as a “form of rhymed storytelling accompanied by highly rhythmic,
electronically based music” (2).
music is defined as a “form of rhymed storytelling accompanied by highly
rhythmic, electronically based music” (Rose 2).
When you copy sentences from books, journal articles,
and the Internet and start discussing unfamiliar terms or concepts, the sudden
shift in your writing style will be quite obvious to your instructor. The best strategy is to read the text, then
express it in your own words and cite your source.
5/08 rev 9/13