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Is it Plagiarism?
Why Cite Sources?
Giving credit to the original author of thoughts, words, and ideas is an important ethical concept.
- To avoid PLAGIARISM: While a bibliography does not prevent plagiarism, it is an important tool in avoiding plagiarism.
- BUILDING on research: Pertinent information is gleaned from the ideas of those who came before, and a researcher then produces new knowledge by integrating the ideas of others with her own conclusions. This is the scholarly research process.
- TRACING research: According to Joseph Gibaldi, the author of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, “in presenting their work, researchers generously acknowledge their debts to predecessors by carefully documenting each source so that earlier contributions receive appropriate credit” (104). This is the basis for all scholarship. It is important that researchers give credit so readers can trace the ideas presented back to the sources.
- CONTRIBUTING ideas: Your contribution, as a student, to disciplinary knowledge is the unique ways you interpret and synthesize the words, thoughts, and ideas of authorities. In fact, giving credit to experts and authoritative sources gives your conclusions validity that cannot be achieved by simply stating one's own opinions.
- LOCATING additional research: And that is another reason for citations: it allows readers to access the cited materials if they are performing research on that topic.
The purpose of the parenthetical citation is to lead the reader to an exact item in the bibliography, so the first entry in the bibliography (usually author’s last name, sometimes title if no author is listed) is what is included in the parenthetical citation. Additionally, the exact point (page number) is listed.
Plagiarism is using the words, thoughts, or ideas of someone else without giving credit. Plagiarism can take many forms, and it can be intentional or accidental.
"Along with using someone’s direct words without quotation marks and attribution, plagiarism includes using someone’s thoughts or ideas and representing them as one’s own. For example, if you were to change the wording of a passage, but not credit the source, you are plagiarizing as much as if you used the original words. This presents something of a conundrum: students are required to use the research and writing of others, but such use is limited. In most research assignments, students are encouraged – or even required – to use the research of others, but proper credit must be given.
To ensure that you will give credit appropriately, begin by keeping your research materials organized. There are many note-taking systems available to assist you, but it is essential that you keep track of which ideas came from which sources. After finding good information from a reputable source, you must then integrate that information into your paper. There are several methods of doing this: quotation, paraphrase, and summary." (Talman)