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?
“Copyright Infringement” comic by “hartboy/Terry Hart” available at Flickr for download under a Creative Commons license for non-commercial use.
Thank you Ann. I will be back to utilize these tutorials. As a wannabe real writer I, too, find it challenging to know if the information I have is my own. I often print out all of my research sources and have my husband compare what I have written to the research material, to insure I have not stolen someone’s thoughts or words.
I will definitely be using your post for ideas to be certain I am giving the credit to the right persons!
Lynn Hopper says
Of course, in the world of journalism this has always been a big factor for me. But I recall a literature class in college in which several of us apparently wrote better papers than the professor anticipated, so he quizzed us very closely on whether or not we’d used someone else’s material. When he got to me I answered very truthfully, that if I had taken the time and effort to go to the library and look up material, I would certainly have wanted to get credit for it!
hopeannfaith: The process of researching this does have me wondering if I am doing enough. I pick up a tidbit here or there on the Internet as I read and piece it together over time with other things. It’s a challenge to locate and cite sources, but important. I’m learning. I hope that what I’ve learned can help you, as well. I am, by the way, trying to go back to some of my recent posts and add more information.
Lynn Hopper: That’s a good story–and a reflection of your excellent thinking/writing skills. One thing I wonder about is how much information is readily available on the Web. We no longer have to trudge to the library to look up material. It’s right at our fingertips. Do you think that changes the situation?
Lynn Hopper says
It probably muddles it, legally. As you know, I’ve spent much of my life doing research, and the Internet has been a tremendous help. But it isn’t the end. There are still things that must be found searching in books and other written material. Eventually, in come cases, I’ve absorbed so much from so many places it would be impossible to say just exactly where it came from. In that case, i feel free to rely on my knowledge. But just as in college, I feel that citing another source lends credence to whatever you are saying.
Angie Knight says
Thanks for this great information Ann. Having been the victim of plagiarism I know the sting that is felt when copied. I do a lot of reading and like to pass on my favorites—and try to be so careful to remember who-where-what I read it from.
This is my first time here, and actually came over here for the memorization tips that Ann Voskamp pointed me to! I have enjoyed all that I have read!
P.S. the tutorial you linked in is a HUGE help for future reference!