ComoPark Senior High
What is plagiarism and how do I avoid it?
Plagiarism is cheating and therefore unethical. When a person copies words or images from a book, magazine, newspaper, website, movie, video, recording, or any other medium, or when a person uses another person's ideas and does not provide the correct citation, it is plagiarism.
- ALWAYS USE QUOTATION MARKS (" ") WHEN USING WORDS THAT ARE NOT YOUR OWN.
- ALWAYS DOCUMENT THE SOURCES FROM WHICH YOU TOOK YOUR INFORMATION. This is usually accomplished by including a list at the end of your paper/project with all of your sources. This list is written according to certain guidelines and is called the Bibliography, Works Cited, or Literature Cited Page.
There are specific ways to write citations. Como Senior High uses the Modern Language Association (MLA) style for citing research. Detailed examples of how to correctly write MLA citations can be found at several websites including:
(From Purdue University’s website)
(From Long Island University’s website)
What will happen if I plagiarize?
Talk to each teacher to see if he/she has additional policies regarding plagiarism. In general, if a Como student plagiarizes, the following could happen:
- You will receive no credit for the plagiarized assignment.
- You will be asked to re-do the assignment, possibly for less credit.
- You may lose double points for the assignment.
- You will be referred to the administration.
- You may lose credit for the class or for a portion of the class.
- You may forfeit the opportunity to become a member of the National Honor Society.
- You may forfeit scholarship opportunities.
- A letter to your parent/guardian may be sent home.
Guidelines to Follow
(Taken from Purdue University's Website: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_plagiar.html)
Choosing When to 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
Making Sure You Are Safe
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Action during the writing process
Appearance on the finished product
When researching, note-taking, and interviewing
- Mark everything that is someone else's words with a big Q (for quote) or with big quotation marks
- Indicate in your notes which ideas are taken from sources (S) and which are your own insights (ME)
- Record all of the relevant documentation information in your notes
Proofread and check with your notes (or photocopies of sources) to make sure that anything taken from your notes is acknowledged in some combination of the ways listed below:
- In-text citation
- Quotation marks
- Indirect quotations
When paraphrasing and summarizing
- First, write your paraphrase and summary without looking at the original text, so you rely only on your memory.
- Next, check your version with the original for content, accuracy, and mistakenly borrowed phrases
- Begin your summary with a statement giving credit to the source: According to Jonathan Kozol, ...
- Put any unique words or phrases that you cannot change, or do not want to change, in quotation marks: ... "savage inequalities" exist throughout our educational system (Kozol).
When quoting directly
- Keep the person's name near the quote in your notes, and in your paper
- Select those direct quotes that make the most impact in your paper -- too many direct quotes may lessen your credibility and interfere with your style
- mention the person's name either at the beginning of the quote, in the middle, or at the end
- Put quotation marks around the text that you are quoting
- Indicate added phrases in brackets ([ ]) and omitted text with ellipses (. . .)
When quoting indirectly
- Keep the person's name near the text in your notes, and in your paper
- Rewrite the key ideas using different words and sentence structures than the original text
- Mention the person's name either at the beginning of the information, or in the middle, or at that end
- Double check to make sure that your words and sentence structures are different than the original text
More about plagiarism: "Frequently Asked Questions About Plagiarism" by Liz Sonneborn (ebook)