It was the best of times, and pretty much the worst of times.
I felt borne back ceaselessly to the past.
Maybe that's because days on the calendar creep along
in a petty pace and all our yesterdays but light fools
the road to dusty death.
OK, the above words are not really mine. But hey, I changed
them slightly. I thought nobody would notice.
(reprinted from "The Sincerest Flattery" by Gregg Easterbrook,
Newsweek, July 29, 1991, p. 45, with permission from
Plagiarism is a serious offense. It has been called "intellectual
theft" because it involves taking the ideas and/or words of another
and using them as your own. Some plagiarism may be accidental, but
most is usually deliberate. In the classroom, punishment for
plagiarizing is both swift and severe.
In writing a research paper, you must be prepared to document
everything you get from outside sources. If you fail to do this,
you set yourself up for the charge of plagiarism. A good rule of
thumb to follow in writing a paper is this: if in doubt, document!
If you copy the exact words of another, whether these words are
spoken or written in print or electronic form, you must enclose
the words in quotation marks and cite the source. When summarizing
and paraphrasing, you won't be using quotation marks because you are
putting the thoughts and experiences into your own words; however,
you must continue to cite and acknowledge the sources.
If you do this and if you do it fairly and accurately so as not to
distort the author's meaning,
you are participating in honest research writing.
When quoting, you are calling upon the direct words of
others, usually recognized authorities, to
illustrate and support your points. Be sure each quotation you use
is exact and that both beginning and ending
quotation marks are positioned correctly.
"... you will strengthen your paper by summarizing an important book,
by paraphrasing passages of important articles, and by directly
quoting key authorities. Rather than secretly stuffing your paper
with plagiarized materials, announce boldly the name of your sources
to let readers know the scope of your reading on the subject."
(Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers, 8th ed.
HarperCollins, 1996. p.139)
When summarizing, you are condensing an extensive idea or argument
into a concise, objective statement of your own that covers
the main points and conveys your understanding of the subject matter.
Be sure to acknowledge sources in your textual material, as well
as in your footnotes or endnotes.
In the 5th edition of the Little Brown Handbook the authors,
Fowler and Aaron, explain the difference between deliberate and
accidental plagiarism. They point out that deliberate plagiarism
includes copying material word for word, summarizing or paraphrasing
without giving credit to the source, and buying or otherwise
obtaining someone else's paper and submitting it as your own.
Accidental plagiarism, they say, includes forgetting to put quotation
marks around quotes and failing to cite a source because you don't
realize you are supposed to.
(Fowler, H. Ramsey and
Jane E. Aaron, The Little, Brown Handbook, 5th ed.
HarperCollins, 1992. p. 578.)
When paraphrasing, you are more closely following the author's
original wording, but instead of quoting directly, you
are putting what s/he said into your own words.
Be sure to acknowledge sources in your
textual material, as well as in your footnotes or endnotes.
According to Mr. Easterbrook, there is no more stupid crime in the
world than plagiarism. (Easterbrook, Gregg.
"The Sincerest Flattery." Newsweek, July 29, 1991, p. 46.)
There are some things you are not required to document in your
- Your own thoughts and experiences
You do not need to acknowledge personal observations and conclusions,
but you are expected to back them up with enough information so that
readers may evaluate your thinking processes.
- Basic items of knowledge people share in common
You do not need to acknowledge standard information that can be
verified in basic works of reference (e.g., the dates of the Civil
War), folk literature without known origins (e.g., Mother Goose
rhymes) or commonsense observations (e.g., rain helps flowers grow).
Everything that has been said above applies to electronic resources
on the Web as well. You are plagiarizing if you cut and paste
paragraphs from web pages and insert them into your paper
without acknowledging your sources. You may also be violating
copyright. Since 1989, copyright is automatic; no formal filing is
necessary, and even printed notices are not required. On the Internet,
everything (including email
messages, graphic representations, music and other sound clips, etc.)
copyrighted. If you're posting your paper
on a web site and it contains the words, images, or sounds of others,
you may need to get
permission first. Only printed works published prior to 1923 are
fully within the
public domain. Others carry restrictions. Be aware that mere
ownership of a book, manuscript, painting, or any other copy
or phonorecord does not give the possessor the copyright.
(For more information on copyright law and public domain,
Pass into the Public Domain"). Finally,
since web pages, unlike
published print materials, have a tendency to change without notice,
be wise to keep copies of each of the web page sources you use
when writing your paper. You may be asked to produce them later on.
- Easterbrook, Gregg. "The Sincerest Flattery." Newsweek,
July 29, 1991. Pp. 45-46.
- Fowler, H. Ramsey and Jane E. Aaron. The Little, Brown
Handbook. 5th ed. HarperCollins, 1992. Pp. 578-584.
- Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research
Papers. 4th ed. Modern Language Association of America, 1995.
- Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers, A Complete
Guide. 8th ed. HarperCollins, 1996. Pp. 138-144.
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological
Association. 4th ed. 1995. Pp. 292-294.
Last modified Tuesday January 17, 2006