Avoiding Plagiarism

Content:

Resources:

MLA and APA Side-by-Side

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own. Plagiarism will include, but may not be limited to:

  1. Submitting someone else’s work or ideas as your own, including but not limited to homework assignments, term papers, research reports, lab reports, group projects, artistic works, tests, or class presentations.
  2. Submitting someone else’s electronic work as your own, including but not limited to video clips, audio clips, electronic files, electronic programs, and any other copied electronic page, document, article, review, etc.
  3. Submitting someone else’s work as your own with minor alterations. Paraphrasing without proper citation is also plagiarism.
  4. Submitting someone else’s work without appropriate use of quotations, paraphrases, footnotes, or references.

Southwest Minnesota State University Academic Honesty Policy, II.A

When to Give Credit?

Plagiarism is preventable. One must first know when citing a source is needed and when it is not.

What needs to be cited?

  • Direct Quotes
    • Any set of words that are taken from a source, no matter how short, must be put in quotation marks and cited appropriately.
  • Paraphrases
    • Any restatement of an author’s ideas put into your own words must be cited. A paraphrase is more detailed than a summary. Language borrowed from the author must be put in quotes.
  • Summaries
    • Any concise restatement must be cited. This is less detailed than a paraphrase, and is put in your own words. Language borrowed from the author must be put in quotes.
  • Facts that are not common knowledge
    • Common knowledge is information that can be found undocumented in at least 5 different sources (Purdue OWL). This also includes information that you think your audience already knows.
  • Any pictures, charts, art, etc. that you did not make yourself

When in doubt, cite. If you cannot decide if information should be cited, it is best to cite it anyway. If you still need help with finding resources, SMSU Reference librarians are available to students.

Using Quotes, Paraphrases, and Summaries

 Knowing how to frame a direct quote, paraphrase, and summary is essential in avoiding plagiarism.

Avoiding Plagiarism When Using Direct Quotes

  • If an author/work is directly quoted in the paper, the same author/work must be included on the references or works cited page.
  • Enclose the entire quotation within quotation marks or set it off as block text, following the requirements of the style guide.
  • The author’s name must be in the same sentence as the quote, whether in text or as the citation. Examples given are in APA format and are from the Purdue OWL.
    • According to Jones (1998), "Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time" (p. 199).
    • Jones (1998) found "students often had difficulty using APA style" (p. 199); what implications does this have for teachers?
    • She stated, "Students often had difficulty using APA style" (Jones, 1998, p. 199), but she did not offer an explanation as to why.

Avoiding Plagiarism When Using Paraphrases and Summaries

  • When paraphrasing or summarizing an idea from another’s work, use statement credits, e.g., According to Author...
  • In APA style, include a reference to the author and the year of publication. Page numbers are encouraged.
  • In MLA style, the author and the page number must be referenced.
  • Always put quotation marks around anything that is word for word from the author.
  • Remember to write in your own style. Don’t just rearrange the author’s sentences. Examples given are in APA format and are from the Purdue OWL.
    • According to Jones (1998), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners.
    • APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).

Examples of Direct Quotes, Paraphrases, and Summaries

To quickly determine if you are paraphrasing, summarizing, or using direct quotes, consider telling a friend about your favorite song. Let’s look at the lyrics for “Last Kiss,” written by Wayne Cochran, Joe Carpenter, Randall Hoyal & Bobby McGlon in 1961. Pearl Jam released it as a single in 1999. (Hear it here)

APA Direct Quote: In the song “Last Kiss,” the singer claims that he has to “be good, so I can see my baby when I leave this world,” (Cochran, Carpenter, Hoyal, & McGlon, 1961).

MLA Direct Quote: In the song "Last Kiss," the singer claims that he has to "be good, so I can see my baby when I leave this world" (Cochran, Carpenter, Hoyal, & McGlon).

APA Paraphrase: In the chorus of “Last Kiss” by Cochran, Carpenter, Hoyal, & McGlon (1961), the lyrics have the singer looking around for his girlfriend, and then lamenting that she has died and gone to Heaven. He understands then that if he wants to spend eternity in Heaven with her, he must behave for the rest of his life.

MLA Paraphrase: In the chorus of “Last Kiss” by Cochran, Carpenter, Hoyal, & McGlon, the lyrics have the singer looking around for his girlfriend, and then lamenting that she has died and gone to Heaven. He understands then that if he wants to spend eternity in Heaven with her, he must behave for the rest of his life.

APA Summary: On a rainy night, a guy had a date with his girlfriend. He was driving too fast and crashed his father’s car. Before his girlfriend died, they shared one last kiss (Cochran, Carpenter, Hoyal, & McGlon, 1961).

MLA Summary: On a rainy night, a guy had a date with his girlfriend. He was driving too fast and crashed his father’s car. Before his girlfriend died, they shared one last kiss (Cochran, Carpenter, Hoyal, & McGlon).

None of these examples expresses an idea independent of the songwriters’ original intent. Without citations, all of these examples would be considered plagiarism.

MLA and APA Comparison

This document puts MLA and APA side-by-side in order to see the differences between the two styles

MLA and APA Side-by-Side

Online Plagiarism Detectors

Online plagiarism detectors are another resource for students who want to avoid plagiarism in their writing. While we support the use of plagiarism detectors, the Writing Center does not endorse any particular detector. The Writing Center also reminds writers that these detectors are not 100% guaranteed to find all instances of plagiarism and should not be a writer’s sole defense against plagiarism. Occasionally, an online plagiarism detector will return a projected grade for a paper. Students should be aware that this computer-generated grade will in no way influence the grade given by a SMSU instructor.

Here are some online plagiarism checkers to try:

http://assignmenteditor.com/plagiarism-checker/

http://www.paperrater.com/

https://www.plagtracker.com/upload/#
 

 Compiled by Kevin Danielson and Megan Pratt, 2015

Last Modified: 6/26/17 10:53 AM