WHAT IS PLAGIARISM AND HOW TO AVOID IT
What is plagiarism?
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 author(s)
Fake a reference or give references to original sources without looking them up
Why avoid plagiarism?
Plagiarism is a violation of the Santiago Canyon College’s “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
Do 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.
Do 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.
Do check with your instructor if you are unsure whether to cite information.
Do 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.
Do 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.
Do edit and rewrite your essays, asking others to review your writing as well.
Do ask the staff at the SCC Writing Center for assistance.
Don’t buy, steal or borrow a paper or test, then submit it as your own work.
Don’t re-submit or reuse a paper written for another class.
Don’t make up fake sources, quotes or interviews.
Don’t hire or ask someone else to write or rewrite your paper for you.
Don’t think that because something is on the Internet it doesn’t need to be cited or referenced in your paper.
Don’t “cut and paste” materials from the Internet or other electronic sources into your paper without acknowledging where that information came from.
Don’t quote or paraphrase from another source without crediting the original author.
Don’t procrastinate on assignments so that you are under time pressure and become tempted to take shortcuts.
Don’t be afraid to ask your instructor if you feel unsure or are overwhelmed by an assignment.
UNACCEPTABLE AND 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):
Rap 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 plagiarism:
A 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:
When 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 (Rose 2).
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:
Black 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).
Rap 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.
DR 5/08 rev 9/13