Highlights: Library Guides
Guide 19: How
to Avoid Plagiarism
does research end and when does creative thinking start? This
is the dilemma most scholars have to face at one time or another;
let's face it, you are scholars whether you are an undergraduate
freshman or a faculty member.
definition of plagiarism can not be complete without exploring
what scholarship involves. In a nutshell, scholarship entails researching,
understanding, and building upon the work of others. By extension
and by necessity, it also requires that proper credit be given
for any “borrowed” or "used" material; unless the material
you are working on is completely original, you have to demonstrate
the historicity and the basis of the research you initiated.
which is a form of cheating has been around since the first caveperson's
stick figures were copied endlessly in the next grotto. However,
and since the advent of the Internet and more specifically the
World Wide Web, it has become increasingly easy to "copy
& paste" from a page to a word processor document. The
practice of plagiarism proliferated exponentially in the last
10 to 15 years. In other words, why do people plagiarize? Because
it is easy to do, and it is also easy to get away with it: most
professors think plagiarizing is easy to spot but hard to prove.
is the difference between "academic dishonesty",
cheating, and plagiarism? They are related in term of hierarchical
significance: both cheating and plagiarism fall under the "academic
dishonesty" (or "academic fraud") heading. The
latter, which also involves "fabrication", encompasses
all activities construed as not playing by the Academic Rules,
giving one an unfair advantage. Some scholars define plagiarism
as a sub-category of cheating, some as the same level and seriousness
as cheating, thus being a direct subset of Academic Dishonesty.
involves acquiring unauthorized help during an exam (looking
over someone else's shoulder during a class test, or writing
tests answers on one's arm...)
is usually defined as using someone else's words or work as
your own, without any kind of acknowledgement or attribution.
The original work may come from a book or a journal article,
but more and more frequently from web or internet sources such
as databases or, in certain cases, "paper mills".
The offender may use the original as is, or may offer a close
imitation of the text being copied (paraphrasing,
below). Stated in another fashion, it is akin to record
someone else's music, then market it as your own.
are different kinds of "plagiarism." Haxham (his site
is mentioned at the bottom of this page) tentatively defines "Plagiarism"
and "Academic Plagiarism" as such:
is the deliberate attempt to deceive the reader through the
appropriation and representation as one's own the work and words
of others. Academic plagiarism occurs when a writer
repeatedly uses more than four words from a printed source without
the use of quotation marks and a precise reference to the original
source in a work presented as the author's own research and
may also propose the following:
Deliberate plagiarism: using someone's words or ideas
without clearly acknowledging the source of that information.
Self-plagiarism: is when you take a term
paper or essay that was written for one class and submit substantial
parts or the whole paper for credit in a another class, without
informing the instructor.
Accidental Plagiarism: occurs, although you don't intend
to plagiarize, when you fail to cite your sources completely
should you be concerned?
plagiarizing, you’re cheating yourself:
you don’t learn to write out your own thoughts in your
own words and you don’t get specific feedback from a professor that is geared
to your individual needs and skills.
Plagiarism is dishonest because
it misrepresents the work of others as your own.
Student dishonesty hurts LIU’s
academic standing and reputation, thereby lessening the value
and integrity of your diploma and degree.
can result in suspension or dismissal from the university, your
degree being revoked, and/or fines or damages for violating the
Tips for Students
Use your own words and ideas
Use quotation marks and cite the source
if you repeat another’s exact words
Cite if you adapt a chart or paraphrase
a sentence (paraphrasing
is when you state someone else’s ideas in your own words)
Avoid using others’ work with minor changes:
(e.g.: using “less” for
order of a sentence
You don't have to cite "common knowledge,"
but it must be commonly known
Abraham Lincoln was the U.S. President during the Civil
Not common knowledge: There were 51,000 casualties
at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Joseph Stalin was born in Georgia.
common knowledge, or controversial: Stalin was poisoned*.
Brent, Vladimir Naumov. Stalin's Last Crime : The Plot
Against the Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953. HarperCollins,
How to Cite
all very nice, but how does one cite? What is a citing
style? Should I use Chicago, MLA or APA? What is more appropriate
and, to the point, what does my professor want me to use? There
are a number of ways to learn about writing styles, citing
The books listed here are to the point, easy to consult and,
usually, readily available. At the Reference Desk (3rd floor),
we have the following (with the call number):
with an overview of most styles:
A Writer's Reference, by
PE1408 .H2778 2003
research papers : a complete guide by Lester,
James D., 1935- Glenview, Ill. : Scott, Foresman, c2005
(11th edition). LB2369 .L4 2005
research papers : a student guide for use with opposing
viewpoints by Harnack, Andrew, 1937- San
Diego, CA : Greenhaven Press, c1998. LB2369 .H32 1998
about specific styles:
Medical Association Manual of Style R119.A533
The Chicago Manual of Style Z253 U69 2003
MLA Style Manual
Manual of the American Psychological Association BF76.7.P83
L. Turabian's style manual has been around for many years.
for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations
is recommended LB2369 T8 1996
a number of excellent "bibliographic" software which
allow you to create a bibliography in the style of your choice.
LIU subscribes to
RefWorks. It is free if you are an LIU student.
in Brookville offers an excellent and easy-to-use
style page. The page is maintained by the C.W. Post library
and is a guide to the various styles.
state the obvious, you might ask any librarian here on campus
to help you. Check our
faculty and staff page for phone numbers and email addresses.
Also, check our
Library Instruction page for more information about
Student Tutorials (fill a form to request a tutorial
with an Instruction Librarian
will find many web pages dealing with plagiarism. However, we
recommend the following sites which provide examples and exercises
The Ethical Researcher puts plagiarism into context and
provides a wealth of information.
How Not to Plagiarize, Marget Procter provides a few good
examples on the practice.
Cornell University offers
some definitions and a great opportunity to test your
knowledge of APA, MLA and Chicago.
The School of Education of Indiana University in Bloomington
built a very good site in that regard. Click on their "Examples".
Especially good for those of us who wonder what
"paraphrasing" really means. Their
Writing Tutorial Services posted excellent examples on
how to avoid plagiarism, and so on and so forth..
Hacker's book A
Writer's Reference (listed above) is a classic in
its own rights. Go to her
web site (the first time, click on "Writing Exercises",
create an account or click on Cancel [trust me], then
the "Research Exercises" button on the left; sorry,
no shortcut). You may choose plagiarism exercises in APA,
MLA or Chicago.
University's OWL (Online Writing Lab) offers free tutorials
as well. Click on the right-hand site to access APA and MLA
University posted a
Plagiarism Avoidance Tutorial equipped with a Plagiarism
Court and a great Flash presentation of what is plagiarism.
Do yourself a favor and visit the site.
Plagiarism.org page complete with statistics, handouts,
definitions, etc. Worth a look.
site is from the
University of Calgary. It is not an exercise site but
offers a very good overview of the topic.
Sharon Stoerger compiled a wealth of information and websites
on plagiarism, including "suspicious" papers intended
as an exercise for instructors.
Professor Schweizer's page below.
Resources Available On Campus
Writing Center is devoted to assist students into writing
in general; tutors and other resources are available. Their office
is on the 2nd floor of the Humanities Building.
Writing Across the Curriculum offers workshops and assistance
to students regarding styles, etc.
Professor Bernard Schweizer
designed an excellent
plagiarism page on the English Department site; Professor
Schweizer's premise is to make you plagiarize a text in order
for you to understand the concept; the next exercise is how to
write and attribute appropriately.
Professors: A Few Advices on How to Design Assignments
want your students to familiarize themselves with the existing
literature and state of research within a given discipline; you
want them to report on it and build an original body of work based
upon the research. And this is partially where the confusion arises:
the rookie researcher is confused as to when does reviewing literature
end and when does original and critical thinking start. You want
them to report but not plagiarize the surveyed literature. A few
faculty members found ways around the situation; one of the strategies
is called "Reality-Based" assignments.
instance: an assignment on Medicare within the state of New York.
What does the literature say about this (focus on an age group,
or ethnicity, etc). Once the student reviews and reports upon
the literature, then assign the student a case study of a Health
Center in Brooklyn, for example, and ask him/her to conduct interviews
or a survey or compile statistics upon the Center of their choice.
very good web site about this has been set up by the
Internet and the web in particular made it extremely easy for
people to "copy & paste", hence the surge in plagiarism
in the last 15 years. The birth of so-called online paper mills
only aggravated the situation.
it became obvious to search the web in order to "spot"
plagiarism, a few entrepreneurs took upon themselves to offer
a new kind of service: they check a submitted assignment against
the web, already submitted papers and selected databases. The
software then analyzes the "matches" and produces an
"originality report" listing all passages from the submitted
paper similar to web or databases documents.
is probably the most used and successful example of this kind
of software. Long Island University subscribes to Turnitin's services.
Faculty members who want to use Turnitin, or who have questions
about the service should inquire of Professor Paul Tremblay at
the Library (718 246-6382 or email@example.com).
Please identify yourself as an LIU faculty member with an LIU
email account. Upon request, an account ID will be provided.
is not the only software of its kind on the market, but it is
certainly the most famous. Sharon Stoerger posted a
list of "anti-plagiarism" tools on her site.
Few Useful Books toward an understanding of plagiarism
dishonesty: an educator's guide, by Whitley, Bernard
E. Mahwah, NJ : L. Erlbaum, 2002. LB3609 .W45 2002
Plagiarism Plague : a Resource guide and CD-Rom Tutorial for Educators
and Librarians, edited by Vibiana Bowman. NY : Neal-Schuman
Publishers, 2004 PN167.P527 2004 (Available at the Post
Campus; you may perform an interlibrary loan request).
& Scoundrels: Seven Cases that Shook the Academy,
by Ron Robin, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2005
PN167 .R63 2004
available through ebrary as an electronic book: click
Cheating and Plagiarism in the Internet Era: A Wake-Up Call,
by Ann Lathrop and Kathleen Foss, Englewood, Libraries Unlimited,
2000. LB3609 .L28 2000
by V. Stepchyshyn 6/03. Revised
by P. Salber 3/2006
Revised by P. Tremblay 10/2007. Last updated 7/10.