1.3 GETTING STARTED: Avoiding Plagiarism
One more significant topic to address before you start writing is plagiarism.
Plagiarism is using someone else’s words or ideas without giving them credit. In some cultures around the world, this may not be a big deal. However, it is unacceptable in U.S. colleges. It is considered the same as stealing. (Of course, some things are “common knowledge” such as the U.S. is in North America, and you don’t have to cite a source of information for that.)
If you plagiarize, then you will probably get a 0 on the assignment — and you will still have to rewrite it! Now you have twice as much work to do, and nobody wants that! Plus, if you plagiarize repeatedly, your instructor will need to report you to the Dean and you may fail the course. In some schools, students who plagiarize repeatedly are even asked to leave the school — it’s that serious!
Fortunately, this class will teach you how to avoid plagiarism by:
- using your own ideas
- using data (such as facts and statistics) — and citing the source (telling your reader where you got the information)
- paraphrasing the ideas of others (expressing the idea in your own words) — and citing the source (telling your reader where you got the information)
- quoting the words of others (repeating the exact words of the author inside “quotation marks”) — and citing the source (telling your reader where you got the information)
Do you see a pattern in the list above? That’s right — it’s all about knowing when and how to cite your sources. And that is something we will study in this course.
To get started, please watch this short video to learn more about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it:
Now practice with this exercise; it is not graded, and you may repeat it as many times as you wish:
Video: Modern Librarian Memoirs. “How to Avoid Plagiarism in 5 Easy Steps.” www.youtube.com, 5 Apr. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV2-cmi19sg&t=1s. Accessed 30 Dec. 2021.