I was asked to talk with the literature students about plagiarism.
After introducing the topic and explaining a little about it, I summarized with the following statements:
1. Don’t present someone else’s ideas as your own—if you do, you’re stealing his or her intellectual property.
2. You are welcome to share other people’s insights, ideas and wording, if you give credit where credit is due.
(These ideas are presented in similar form at this Indiana University site.)
After class, I felt that they needed more information. So when I got home, I found some plagiarism tutorials. Going through the tutorials served as a good refresher for me not only as an instructor/facilitator of this literature class but also as a blogger.
We all hate it when we see one our own blog posts picked up and presented on another site as if it is original material.
But we need to be careful, too, when we are inspired by someone else, to give credit where credit is due.
Because I read so many tips, ideas, solutions and stories on blogs, websites and tweets, sometimes I’m not sure how something comes together in my brain. Nevertheless, I’m convinced that I need to be as careful and honoring as possible to those who have created original content that worked its way into my world. I have always tried to link you to the original article(s) from which I found inspiration and provide appropriate references.
After researching this topic, I resolve not only to continue my efforts but also to improve my practices.
As bloggers, we need to be careful to give credit where credit is due.
If you want to learn more about plagiarism and how to avoid it in your writing, here is a cute tutorial found at the Vaughan Memorial Library (Acadia University) website. It gives a good overview. I suggested that the students pick “Dylan” when they get to that step in the tutorial, as he fits our class. I think he would be the best “blogger” student, as well, so I suggest you pick him to walk you through.
If you want a more thorough tutorial, try this one from Indiana University (see the following links). The sample readings are a bit dry, but this tutorial illustrates very well how to spot plagiarism in your work (and how to fix it):
- How to Recognize Plagiarism
- Five Examples of Word for Word Plagiarism (go through these to prepare for the practice quiz)
- Five Examples of Paraphrasing Plagiarism (go through these, too, to prepare for the practice quiz)
- Practice: How to Recognize Plagiarism (this is the quiz—read each example and select the entry [click choice A or B] that you think has not been plagiarized to test your understanding. Immediate feedback provided.)
With ideas zipping and zapping across the World Wide Web in the form of tweets, posts and articles, it’s hard to remember precisely what impacted or inspired us to write something. And it’s a huge challenge to track every slightly interesting stop as we surf and explore content.
Yet, this is one of the recommendations provided in the tutorials—students doing research are urged to record every resource from which they might cite something either paraphrased or as a direct quote.
How do you track potential resources for your blog posts?
What are your plagiarism-avoidance techniques?