Avoiding plagiarism

I’ve blogged a lot about plagiarism over the last few weeks, so I thought I’d mention that Jane Smith of the How Publishing Really Works blog has declared today Anti-Plagiarism Day and is collecting links to other blog posts on the subject.

For my part, I wanted to link to some useful information about using Internet sources and avoiding plagiarism.

— A few days ago John E. McIntyre wrote a short primer on plagiarism on the Regret the Error blog.

— The excellent booklet Writing with Internet Sources is available as a free PDF on the Harvard College Writing Program website. Though written for Harvard students, it contains great information for everyone on using, evaluating, incorporating, and citing Internet sources and avoiding plagiarism. If you aren’t going to read the entire thing, at least look over this excerpt from the checklist that appears in the booklet:

When USING any source, remember to:

  • Avoid plagiarism by clearly distinguishing between your ideas and those of your sources
  • Cite every source from which you draw a fact or idea that is not common knowledge
  • Acknowledge your sources when paraphrasing or quoting
  • Place any language taken from a source between quotation marks…

When EVALUATING electronic sources,… remember to:

  • Determine the author’s qualifications
  • Determine the purpose and scope of the source
  • Determine the accuracy and reliability of the source
  • Determine the currency and coverage of the source

When INCORPORATING electronic sources into your writing, remember to:

  • Handle your sources carefully
  • Keep track of source locations and changes to online content
  • Keep sources in correct context in your notes
  • Print, file, and label your sources
  • Keep your draft and your notes separate
  • Keep a source trail
  • Don’t leave writing papers until the last minute, since deadline pressure makes it tempting to “borrow” material from the Internet.

One response to “Avoiding plagiarism

  1. Thanks for the pointer! This is great resource for my math and science students, who haven’t the foggiest idea of where to get guidance on using internet references.

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