Avoiding Plagiarism
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What is Plagiarism? || Avoiding Plagiarism || Documenting Sources
Getting Help || Related Links || Works Cited

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using someone else's work and presenting it as your own without giving credit or documenting the original source. A work or source can include both published material (books, articles, websites, movies, videos, dvds, cds, etc.) and unpublished material (interviews, lecture notes, etc.).

Avoiding Plagiarism

Ann Raimes clearly outlines the ways that writers neglect to credit the sources used in their research papers:

In the academic world, you will be perceived as plagiarizing if you

  • include in your own essay a passage, an identifiable phrase, or an idea that you have copied from someone else's work without acknowledging and documenting your source
  • use exactly the same sequence of ideas and organization of argument as your source
  • fail to put an author's words inside quotation marks
  • use in your paper long sections that have been rewritten by a friend or tutor
  • buy, find, or receive a paper that you turn in as your own work (84-85)
  • When Should You Give Credit?

    Need to Document

    No Need to Document

    • When you are using or referring to somebody else’s words or ideas from a magazine, book, newspaper, song, TV program, movie, Web page, computer program, letter, advertisement, or any other medium

    • When you use information gained through interviewing another person

    • When you copy the exact words or a "unique phrase" from somewhere

    • When you reprint any diagrams, illustrations, charts, and pictures

    • When you use ideas that others have given you in conversations or over email

    • When you are writing your own experiences, your own observations, your own insights, your own thoughts, your own conclusions about a subject

    • When you are using "common knowledge" — folklore, common sense observations, shared information within your field of study or cultural group

    • When you are compiling generally accepted facts

    • When you are writing up your own experimental results

    (Purdue University Online Writing Lab)

    To learn more, take this simple plagiarism tutorial created by Ted Frick at Indiana University.

    The World Wide Web

    The World Wide Web is a popular source for student research papers. Many students perceive information from web sites as being "free" and therefore "fair game" for copying into the text of an academic assignment. If you use information from an Internet source, you must give credit to the source in your paper.

    Make the Paper Your Own

    A paper full of long quotations that are connected with a few words of your own has a choppy style and gives a reader the impression that you cannot think for yourself. Use your own words to express your thoughts, opinions and ideas. To avoid quoting excessively, summarize and paraphrase your sources into your own language. (Hacker 575)

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    Documenting Sources

    All quotes, paraphrases, and ideas from other sources must be cited in both the text of your paper and in a list of works cited at the end of your paper. The citation within the text of the paper should refer readers to a full bibliographic citation in your list of sources.

    Guides for various citation styles are listed below.

    Selected Science Style Guides

    Citing from Full-Text Databases

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    Getting Help

    • Consult with your Professor
      Read the syllabus and the description of your writing assignment. Talk with your instructor during office hours about how to cite your sources.
    • The Writing Center @ New Mexico Tech http://www.nmt.edu/~write/
      The Writing Center offers Tech students one-on-one tutoring for their writing projects. Check out their website for available hours.
    • Read books about writing research papers and how to cite sources
      In addition to the books listed in the Documenting Sources section above, the following books are available in the Skeen Library.

      General Guides

    • Academic Writing for Graduate Students - PE1408.S7836 2004
    • Bedford Handbook - PE 1408 .H277 2002 [older edition available for check-out]
    • Bedford Researcher - Ref PE 1478 .P28 2003
    • Electronic Styles: a Handbook for Citing Electronic Information - Ref Z 253 .L5 1996
    • Giving Academic Presentations - PE1128 .R442 2002
    • Keys for Writers: a Brief Handbook - PE 1408 .R16 1999
    • Prentice-Hall Guide for College Writers - Ref PE 1408 .R424 2003
    • Writer's Reference - PE1408.H2778 2003 [Student Companion Web site]
    • Writing a Research Paper American Style: an ESL/EFL Handbook - Ref Z 253 .L36 1996
    • Writing Research Papers : a Complete Guide - LB2369.L4 2004
    • Scientific Writing

    • Art of Scientific Writing: from student reports to professional publications in chemistry and related fields - QD9.15.E23 2004
    • Chicago Guide to Communicating Science - T10.5.M65 2003
    • Communicating in Science: Writing a Scientific Paper and Speaking at Scientific Meetings - Q 223 .B664 1993
    • Craft of Scientific Writing - T 11 .A37 1996
    • Doing Science : Design, Analysis, and Communication of Scientific Research - Q180 .A1 V35 1999
    • Essential Communication Strategies for Scientists, Engineers, and Technology Professionals - T10.5.H57 2003
    • How to Write & Publish a Scientific Paper - Ref T11 .D33 1998
    • MIT Guide to Science and Engineering Communication - Q223.P33 1997
    • Writing and Speaking in the Technology Professions : a Practical Guide- T11.W75 2003
    • Writing Papers in the Biological Sciences- QH304.M36 2001
    • Writing Power : Communication in an Engineering Center- TA158.5.W56 2003

    Related Links

    Works Cited

    Hacker, Diana. The Bedford Handbook. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1998.

    Purdue University Online Writing Lab. Avoiding Plagiarism 1 April 2004. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_plagiar.html.

    Raimes, Ann. Keys for Writers: a Brief Handbook. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

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    This page was created by Joan Shedivy.
    Please contact pmartinez@admin.nmt.edu with comments and questions.
    Last Updated Monday, 23-Jul-2012 08:47:58 MDT