|What is Plagiarism?||How to Avoid It|
|What is Plagiarism?|
This means that if you use the words or ideas of others without giving proper credit, you are a plagiarist.
Now that you have a basic understanding of plagiarism, let's look at some examples which illustrate this concept.
A. Use of Another's Ideas.
As Brenda Spatt says in her book, Writing from Sources, "If you present another person's ideas as your own, you are plagiarizing even if you use your own words."5 She illustrates this point with the following example.6
Original Version (from Leo Gurko, Ernest Hemingway and the Pursuit of Heroism)
The Hemingways put themselves on short rations, ate, drank, and entertained as little as possible, pounced eagerly on the small checks that arrived in the mail as payment for accepted stories, and were intensely conscious of being poor. The sensation was not altogether unpleasant. Their extreme youth, the excitement of living abroad, the sense of making a fresh start, even the unexpected joy of parenthood, gave their poverty a romantic flavor.Student Version (unacceptable without documentation)
Despite all the economies that they had to make and all the pleasures that they had to do without, the Hemingways rather enjoyed the experience of being poor. They knew that this was a more romantic kind of life, unlike anything they'd known before, and feeling that everything in Paris was fresh and new, even their new baby, made them sharply aware of the glamorous aspects of being poor.Even though the student has used his/her own words here, the student still must cite Gurko or be guilty of plagiarism because the student is using information taken directly from Gurko's book.
Brenda Spatt provides guidelines for documenting your sources when you use another's words:
"When you quote a source, remember that the quoted material will require two kinds of documentation: the acknowledgment of the source of the information or ideas (through a footnote and possibly through citation of the author's name in your text) and the acknowledgment of the source of the exact wording (through quotation marks)."7The following examples of both an acceptable and an unacceptable use of words from a source are taken from James D. Lester's book, Writing Research Papers:8
Probably the long-distance marriage works best when there are no minor-aged children to be considered. It probably also works better with those relatively rare men and women who are equipped by temperament and personality to spend a considerable amount of time alone.Student Version #1 (unacceptable)
There are certain factors which facilitate the implementation of this living arrangement. Probably the long-distance marriage works best when there are no children to be considered. It probably also works better with those men and women who are equipped by temperament and personality to spend a considerable amount of time alone.15
Student version #1 is plagiarism, according to Lester, even though the student provided documentation. This is because the student "has obviously copied almost directly from the source, changing only a few words and phrases. The student also fails to introduce the borrowed materials; thus, the reader is uncertain about the note number. Does it refer to the entire paragraph or only the final sentence? As a research writer, you may avoid these errors by introducing the material as direct quotation or, if you prefer, as a ... paraphrase that might include direct quotation of a few significant or well worded phrases."9
Student Version #2 (acceptable)
There are certain factors which facilitate the implementation of this living arrangement. William Nichols points out several conditions which would add to the success of a long distance marriage. He states that it "works out best when there are no minor-aged children to be considered," the two people are "equipped by temperament and personality to spend a considerable amount of time alone," and they are both able to "function in a mature, highly independent fashion."15
Student version #2 is acceptable, according to Lester, since it introduces the source and provides quotes, with quotation marks, of the key phrases used from the source.
We hope these examples have helped you to understand what plagiarism is. Whenever you are using sources to write a paper, you should keep these guidelines in mind. Remember, whether it is intentional or not, plagiarism is wrong and should be avoided. If you have further questions on how to document your sources properly, other resources on citing sources and writing papers are available in Shields Library. Also, the Learning Skills Center has drop-in consultation and a writing hot-line (752-2013). Finally, a staff member of Student Judicial Affairs can be reached at 752-1128 if you have questions about the Code of Academic Conduct, plagiarism, or the student disciplinary system.
These guidelines were prepared by the UCD Office of Student Judicial Affairs, 4th floor Memorial Union, October, 1984; Revised June, 1990.
1. Brenda Spatt, Writing from Sources (New York: St. Martins Press, 1983), p. 438.
2. Raymond Hendrickson, The Research Paper (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1957), xiii.
3. Hendrickson, xiii.
4. Hendrickson, xiv-xv.
5. Spatt, p. 440.
6. Spatt, pp. 440-441.
7. Spatt, p. 441.
8. James D. Lester, Writing Research Papers (Glenview, Ill., Scott, Foresman, 1980), pp. 49-50.
9. Lester, pp. 50-51.
|Office of Student Judicial Affairs
University of California, Davis
463 Memorial Union
Phone: (916) 752-1128
|Copyright © 1996, The Regents of the
University of California. All rights reserved.
Last updated: Janaury 22, 1996