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Avoid Plagiarism

IRIS Tutorials: Avoiding Plagiarism

No Excuses for Plagiarizing.

Here are some common excuses and the replies:

  • Excuse: “My professor won’t notice or care.” Reply: Whether or not your professor notices or cares, you will still be a plagiarist.
  • Excuse: “I ran out of time.” Reply: Poor time management is not an excuse. You will be guilty of plagiarism. Ask for help with time management.
  • Excuse: “I don’t remember where I got it.” Reply: Failing to take proper notes and organize your research is not an excuse for plagiarizing. Ask for help learning how to organize your research notes.
  • Excuse: “It’s no big deal - I got by with it before.” Reply: It’s a big deal to have “plagiarist” attached to your student record. It means you are unethical and dishonest.
  • Excuse: “In my culture, using another’s work shows respect. Reply: We honor cultural differences, but in most United States school the opposite is true. One shows respect by giving credit to the person you borrowed or learned from.
  • Excuse: ”I didn’t know - no one ever taught me.” Reply: All learning begins somewhere, and this is where you being to learn about plagiarism. If you’re ever in doubt, Ask! Ask your instructor or a librarian for help.   

Consequences of Plagiarism include:

  • Disciplinary warning or reprimand;
  • fail the assignment;
  • fail the class;
  • academic suspension;
  • suspension or expulsion.

Types of Information to Acknowledge:

  • You do not need to cite information that is common knowledge, or your own ideas, discoveries and reasoning.
  • You may cite common knowledge especially well addressed in a particular source if it informs your work.
  • You must cite the following types of information:
    • direct quotations;
    • paraphrases and summaries;
    • arguable assertions;
    • all statistics, charts, tables, graphs; all media such as images, videos, sound clips, etc.

Style Manuals: 

Style manuals define specific rules describing how to write citations and how to refer to the citations in your project.  Five common style manuals and disciplines are:

  • MLA: English and literature;
  • APA: nursing, dental hygiene, alcohol & drug dependency programs, social sciences, and psychology;
  • CSE: biology;
  • ACS: chemistry;
  • Chicago: art, humanities.

Common Questions (Q) and Answers (A):

Q: Can I turn in a paper for one class that I wrote for another class?

A: No. But discuss it with your instructor. You may be able to use a similar topic.

Q: Do I only cite sources in written papers?

A: No. Cite sources in posters, speeches, slide shows, web pages, everything!

Q: Can my friend write the paper, as long as I do the research and the ideas are mine?

A: No. Turning in work that someone else wrote is academically dishonest, and plagiarism.

Q: Does all this plagiarism stuff only count while I’m in college?

A: No. In the “real world” you could lose your job or be sued for plagiarizing.

Q: Can I buy papers off the internet or hire someone else to write papers for me?

A: No. Buying papers or paying someone else to write for you is academically dishonest and plagiarism.

Q: Can I get help writing my paper?

A: Yes, with limits. Others may read your work and provide input, but not rewrite it.

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