Being academically successful in American universities means not only hard work and commitment but also understanding and obeying the rules of conduct. I am sure all of you felt overwhelmed by your new and unfamiliar environment. That’s why your advisors work with you to help you adjust to your new life and to be successful! As Librarians, we are also very much interested in the academic success of the Oregon Tech students, and ready and willing to work with you on such important matters as doing research, writing papers, citing the sources you use and avoiding plagiarism. Today I am going to talk to you about plagiarism: what it is, why it is wise to avoid plagiarizing and how to do it.
Can anyone of you answer this question?
Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else’s words, ideas, or thoughts and passing them off as your own. If you use these ideas in your paper, even in your own words, you need to give credit to the author. If you fail to do so, you are committing an act of plagiarism, which is a serious academic offense.
Every American university has its own policy on academic integrity/honesty. Here is the URL to find such a policy on the Oregon Tech website. It is located inside the Student Handbook. Oregon Tech administration and faculty expect all their students to behave like responsible adults. Students are expected to demonstrate their knowledge of honesty and integrity. Oregon Tech considers academic dishonesty to be an unacceptable practice.
So, plagiarizing someone else’s ideas can be compared to stealing them.
Latin word “plagiarius” means “kidnapper”. In this case it is borrowing other people’s ideas and presenting them as your own. Using someone else’s work hurts those who do it the most. They don’t learn what they came to the university to learn: do research, develop communication skills, and grow intellectually. You cannot become a better researcher if you don’t learn how to use information ethically. This is an important part of any research process at any level: from high school to professional life.
Plagiarizing can have dire consequences. In the professional world, careers have been ruined when instances of plagiarism have been discovered. In colleges and universities, the penalties for not doing one’s own work may range from failure on a paper or a class to suspension or expulsion. Both German ministers’ plagiarism was revealed due to the efforts of the Plagiarist Hunters group.
Plagiarism can also be unintentional, when students do not realize that they are committing an offense. It happens when students are not yet familiar with the code of academic conduct in American universities. When they are used to doing things differently in their own countries. Or when they have poor study skills.
So, let’s talk about differences! Every country has its own ideas about scholarship and what is considered plagiarism. In the U.S. we have a high standard for academic integrity. Your professors will expect you to complete your work on your own and that you will appropriately cite your references. U.S. is neither right nor wrong in its understanding of what academic integrity is, but as a student in the U.S., it is in your best interests to be aware of the rules, and follow them in order to be successful academically here.
An international student is often unaware of any wrongful behavior. Different cultures have various customs about how to use texts, how borrowing should happen, and where names should be placed. In some traditional cultures in Asia and the Middle East, for example, college students are expected to quote or paraphrase the best known political or religious authorities without attribution because readers, especially their professors, are expected to know these texts. Indeed, it might be a serious insult to the teacher if the student formally cites the text being borrowed.
Yes, there is such a thing as ownership of ideas. Everything you find that is written, whether in print in books and journals, or on the web, should be considered copyrighted. That means that you should think of it as belonging to someone else. Information that you find on the web is not free to take or use – it is someone else’s intellectual property. Any material lifted from an original source, including web resources, without proper acknowledgement or credit is considered plagiarized. It is your responsibility to know what constitutes plagiarism. Not knowing citation standards is not an excuse. When in doubt, err on the side of over-documentation and cite the source. You can also ask your professor or a librarian for help in determining what is and is not plagiarism. Individuals can be the source for original and creative ideas. Original and creative ideas should be property, controlled by the individual that produces them for the benefit of the individual.
There are persistent myths about what is plagiarism and what isn’t. This is one of them.
This is the best way to stay away from being accused in plagiarism: give credit to the creators of the ideas you use. Even if it is an image.
So, how do you refer to someone else’s ideas in your paper? One way is to use a direct quotation. These two examples show how to properly use direct quotation and cite a source. The citing is done in the American Psychological Association citation style, used primarily in social sciences. In your papers you need to refer to your sources in 2 different ways. One: in the References list at the end of your paper. In that list all the sources you used are cited in full. The second way is to mention your sources in the text of your paper, as you make a point or present an idea, and refer your reader to a specific source in the references list. Notice the quotation marks in this example around the authors‘ words. This way your reader sees at once which words are yours and which you have borrowed from someone else.
Another way to mention somebody’s ideas in your paper is to paraphrase them. Does anybody know what “paraphrasing” means? It is when the authors’ idea is repeated by the writer of the paper in his own words. In this case no quotation marks are necessary. However, it still needs to be acknowledged as someone else’s idea.
Paraphrasing is one of the most frequently used methods of incorporating ideas into your paper. It is considered good practice to paraphrase the ideas of others you use in your paper, compared to large blocks of borrowed text reproduced verbatim. In a previous slide I showed you how to do it correctly. However, many foreign students are reluctant to use this method due to cultural background. A study published by the Higher Education Academy in the U.K. found that more than 60 per cent of the international students surveyed, particularly those from some Asian countries, believe that failure to use the same wording as a teacher or “authority figure” in an assignment would be the same as criticizing them. Another reason is the language. Students often feel they lack the vocabulary and writing skills to paraphrase. To use your own words to repeat other person’s ideas you do need to know synonyms of the words used by your source. You need to expand your vocabulary. There are many sources that can help you do that. There are printed dictionaries in the library and also online sources.
This is an example of a website to find synonyms and related words to use in paraphrasing. I used the word “courage” as an example. The synonyms on the left, in brighter yellow, are the most relevant.
You can get help with citing your sources in citation manuals. The ones shown here are for each of the main styles used in this university. The manuals are kept in the library in the reference section. Librarians can help you find them on the shelf. Always ask your instructor which style you should use in his/her class. American Psychological Association style is mostly used in history and social sciences; Modern Language Association style is used in humanities and arts; many engineering students are required to use Chicago.
Plagiarism is on the rise in colleges and universities. Many research papers have been written discussing the reasons. If it is so easy to avoid plagiarizing by citing sources, why do students plagiarize?
Here are a few possible reasons. Poor note-taking skills can cause you to lose the source of information and forget to cite it. Poor time management skills or procrastination will make you hurry to complete your assignment at the last minute and use somebody else’s work , because it is faster. Sometimes it happens because a student is not confident in his or her language abilities.
Students give multiple reasons for not taking time and effort to cite their sources properly or at all.
The Internet made it much easier to plagiarize, both intentionally and by accident. It is often hard to find an author on a website, but it doesn’t mean that the text there is free to copy and paste in your paper! Consider everything you find on the Internet as being somebody’s creation and thus protected under copyright law. In other words, it needs to be cited. Images too! There are quite a few companies that will sell you a term paper. Using such a paper will be sure plagiarism! Remember: if you can find it, so can your professor! Don’t make your teachers stop respecting you! They can tell if the paper submitted to them has been purchased online or has been copied from an Internet site. Turnitin.com software is commonly used in universities to track down any “borrowings” from the web.
Following these steps will help you avoid committing plagiarism, this serious academic offense. Remember, you are very welcome at the library with all your questions and uncertainties! We will be glad to sit down with you to explain when and how to cite your sources.
We understand that it is not always easy to come and ask for help. Tutors and librarians are qualified to help you with your academic problems and uncertainties.
It is possible to connect to the Oregon Tech librarians right from the library home page! You can contact us from home or any place on campus. Click on the link shown to find out what methods of talking to librarians are available to you. You can call us, send an email, chat with us in real time or just drop in from 9 am to 3 pm on week days. See for yourself – on your computers go to the Oregon Tech website and find the libraries under “Academics”. Click on the Librarian Contact Info, and study the options. Any questions?
A few more useful resources on the library website. You notice that both guides are located under the Help tab.
As all of the library online resources you can use the citation guides from home. Try it out! Go to the Help tab, select Citing Sources link and click on it. Check out the helpful handouts on the right that you can print out in PDF format and take with you for reference.
Also under Help you will find tutorials, like LINKS. Good sources to start practicing citing your sources and understanding how to avoid plagiarism.
Remember, you are not alone. I and the other librarians will be happy to help. Now that we are acquainted, feel free to request a consultation with me to talk about citing and plagiarism.
If you have taken writing classes or other classes at Oregon Tech that require research, can you share with me what questions you might still have? Mostly in regards to searching for information from different sources and citing those sources.
How to be better scholars 2014
How To Be Better
Transition to being a student in the US
Oregon Tech Librarian
* Academic dishonesty:
cheating, plagiarism or otherwise obtaining grades under
submitting the language, ideas, thoughts or work of another
as one’s own
From the Student Handbook
Student Academic Integrity Policy
at the Oregon Institute of Technology
Famous Cases of Plagiarism
German Defense Minister Karl-
Theodor zu Guttenberg, 2011
German Education Minister Annette
Plagiarism can be:
Using ideas of others and
presenting them as your own
Not properly citing the authors
Putting ideas together without
connecting them to your own
Failing to put a direct
quotation in quotation marks
Misuse of sources
Accidental appropriation of the
ideas of others due to:
lack of understanding the rules
poor study skills
different cultural background
“Basically [the professor]said I didn’t cite at all. Back home, we
listen to our teachers, and basically mug everything they say.
The more you write your answers exactly the way they say it,
the better chance you have of getting an A.”
“I think most students don’t plan on cheating ... it just
A student from India
In their own words
Western notion of authorship and ownership of ideas
Intellectual Property – information belongs to
somebody (yes, even on the Internet)
Everything you find online should be considered
Cite your sources! (Images too)
When in doubt, it is better to over cite
Ask your teacher or librarian for help
What You Should Remember
A Myth About Plagiarism
If it is on the internet it is public domain
You have to use a paragraph or more before citing
If it came from a friend it does not need to be cited
It is in the text book so it is common knowledge
A works cited list/ bibliography is all that is needed
Other Myths about plagiarism
If you didn’t think of it
yourself it should be cited
The Golden Rule to Avoid Plagiarism
* Direct quotation in text:
Another form of plagiarism is self-plagiarism, when a
paper sent in for publication is “simply a retitled and
reformatted version of the original one” (Collberg &
Kobourov, 2005, p.88)
* In the References List:
Collberg, C., and Kobourov, S. (2005). Self-plagiarism in
computer science. Communications of the ACM, 48(4).
Citing Demo in Brief
As a form of self-plagiarism, there is a practice of reusing
the same papers while addressing a different audience
(Collberg & Kobourov, 2005).
Citing Demo in Brief, Cont.
Why should students use it
• Allows practicing language skills
• Shows a greater degree of understanding information
• Good academic practice
Why some of them don’t
• “Authority figures”; “Paraphrasing would be disrespectful”
• Requires advanced language abilities
“If [students]don’t know how to rewrite the sentence, they probably think, ‘I’ll
just copy and paste it.’ ”
A Student from Taiwan
Paraphrasing: Is It Allowed?
APA MLA Chicago
Major Citation Styles Used at Oregon
Why Do Students Plagiarize?
Poor study skills
Not understanding the assignment
Poor time management skills
Not confident in their language skills
Poor note-taking skills
I didn’t know I needed to acknowledge the source
Everybody does it
I don’t have time to do the work
I don’t think the teacher will notice
I am not confident that I can write correct English
I want to acknowledge but don’t know how
I forgot to mention the source
The teacher didn’t show me how
Copying ideas makes my writing better
In Their Own Words
Easier copying and pasting
Information often doesn’t seem to be owned
Authors can be hard to find
Misconception that all information on the Internet is
in the public domain
Companies providing papers for a fee: “paper mills”
No one can tell it’s not mine, right?
Is technology to blame?
Study the institutional policy on academic integrity
Understand the process of writing and research
Know and use proper citation styles
Make it clear what part of your paper is based on
someone else’s idea(s)
Talk to your advisors/instructors/librarians
Golden Rules to Follow
Show how to find better sources
How to cite your sources
Find dictionaries of synonyms for paraphrasing
Find citation manuals
We can save you time to complete your assignment!
Show how to avoid plagiarizing
Librarians Can Help!