A Guide to Research & Plagiarism

A GUIDE TO RESEARCH AND PLAGIARISM


According to the MLA Handbook, plagiarism is the use of another person’s words or ideas without giving proper credit. It may be blatant, such as repeating entire sentences or large phrases exactly as they appear in the original work, or it could be repeating important or cleverly worded phrases and making them appear as your original work. Plagiarism also includes paraphrasing someone else’s argument or progression of thought, mimicking thesis development (New York: Modern Language Assoc. 1977).

Specifically, plagiarism means using someone else’s words, music, art, using someone else’s opinions, or using someone else’s research, without identifying where you found the information, and thereby claiming it as your own. Words directly copied need to be put into quotation marks, and all three types of borrowing need to be cited. You are guilty of plagiarism not only when you borrow from published sources without citing them, but also whenever you copy another person’s work, including the homework or papers of a friend or sibling, and present that work as yours. Furthermore, it is important to note that plagiarism caused by carelessness, even if there may have been no conscious intent to deceive readers, is still plagiarism.

CRHS views plagiarism seriously. The Handbook for Students and Parents identifies plagiarism as a form of cheating, which is a offense resulting (for the first offense) in a minimum a zero on the assignment with no make-up possible. Additional offenses will result in a one-to-three day suspension from all classes and school activities, loss of open campus privileges for the remainder of the year, and a zero on the assignment with no make-up possible.

USING SOMEONE ELSE’S WORDS

Suppose you were assigned to write an essay about the fighting in Northern Ireland. You did your research and found out that even during the worst of the fighting, banks, stores, and post offices stayed open, and Belfast continued to function. One of the essay you read contained the following paragraph:

“You could almost everywhere and at all times post a letter or order a bouquet of flowers. You could always take the children to the zoo, and buy an ice cream and stroll among the mild-eyed antelope who live on the hill, and hear the ducks compete with the clatter of the British Army helicopters, ceaselessly quartering the sky.” (O’Faolain)


It is not okay to write the following because you’ve used O’Faolian’s language without giving her credit.

Belfast still functioned. You could almost everywhere and at all times post a letter or order a bouquet of flowers. You could always take the children to the zoo, and buy an ice cream and stroll among the mild-eyed antelope who live on the hill, and hear the ducks compete with the clatter of the British Army helicopters, ceaselessly quartering the sky.


The following is okay because the fact that Belfast still functioned is common knowledge, which is information that can be found in a variety of general sources.

Even during the worst of the fighting, Belfast continued to function and services remained open. The zoo was still open and you could even buy ice cream.


The following is also appropriate because you’ve put the writing in quotation marks and identified the source:

Belfast still functioned. As Nuala O’Faolain points out in a New York Times (April 12, 1998) editorial, “You could almost everywhere and at all times post a letter or order a bouquet of flowers. You could always take the children to the zoo, and buy an ice cream and stroll among the mild-eyed antelope who live on the hill, and hear the ducks compete with the clatter of the British Army helicopters, ceaselessly quartering the sky.”


USING SOMEONE ELSE’S IDEAS


Suppose you’re asked tow rite an essay on how you think young women today can achieve equality. You do some research, and one of the thing you read is Naomi Wolf’s 1992 commencement address at Scripps College. This is what you read:

“Message No. 2 breaks the ultimate taboo for women. Ask for money in your lives. Expect it. Own it. Learn to use it. Little girls learn a debilitating fear of money—that it’s not feminine to insure we are fairly paid for honest work. Meanwhile, women make 68 cents for every male dollar and half of marriages end in divorce, after which women’s income drops precipitously.”


It is not okay to write the following because even though you’ve put this idea into your own words, you have not cited the source:

To achieve equality today, women shouldn’t be afraid to ask for money. It’s still feminine to expect money for service and work fairly earned.


It is okay to write the following because you’ve identified the source of your idea:

Another thing women need to do, as Naomi Wolf points out in her 1992 commencement address at Scripps College, is ask for money. It’s still feminine to expect money for service and work fairly earned.


USING SOMEONE ELSES RESEARCH


Suppose you decide to write a paper on the SAT exam, and you read a New York Times article that contains the following paragraph:

“SAT and other standardized-test preparation has become big business, earning hundreds of millions of dollars a year, with services offered at virtually very price level...Kaplan Educational Centers and the Princeton Review, the two largest SAT preparation companies, both offer courses ranging from six to eight weeks—36 to 50 classroom hours—and practice tests for approximately $800. Each company enrolls approximately 3500 students a year in classes, and offers SAT books, interactive CD-ROM’s and on-line preparation services as well. Both companies are expanding rapidly.” (Schwartz)


It is not okay to write the following because this kind of detail about Kaplan and the Princeton Review is not common knowledge, but research the writer has done:

It’s hard to believe in the validity of the SAT scores when you realize how many students take prep courses or use interactive CD-ROM’s. Both the Kaplan Educational Centers and the Princeton Review offer six-to eight-week courses, and enroll about 35,000 students each year. Both companies also publish SAT books, and interactive CD-ROM’s, as well as offer online preparation services.


It is okay to write the following because you’ve cited your source:

It’s hard to believe in the validity of the SAT scores when you realize how many students take prep courses or use interactive CD-ROM’s. Tony Schwartz, in a January 10, 1999 article in The New York Times Magazine (“The Test Under Stress”) notes that both the Kaplan Educational Centers and the Princeton Review offer six-to eight-week courses, and enroll about 35,000 students each year. Both companies also publish SAT books, and interactive CD-ROM’s, as well as offer on- line preparation services.

FORMATS FOR CITING FREQUENTLY USED SOURCES
(Based on A Student Guide to Citing Electronic Sources. Houston, Texas: Children’s Software Press, 1999.)


The following list demonstrates how to format information about sources that you cite in a paper. This information will then appear in a list of “Works Cited,” arranged alphabetically by the author’s name or the title of the piece, at the end of the paper. In the paper itself, you will identify your source by placing the author or title in parentheses.


TO CITE A BOOK WITH TWO AUTHORS


Standard Format

Authors (reversing the name of the first author only). Title. Place of Publication: Publisher, Date.

Example

Elders, Joycelyn and David Chanoff. Joycelyn Elders: From Sharecropper’s Daughter to Surgeon General of the United States of America. New York: Morrow, 1996.


TO CITE AN ARTICLE IN A MONTHLY MAGAZINE


Standard Format

Author. “Title of the Article.” Title of the Magazine Date: Page Numbers (put the first page number and + to indicate that the article does not appear on consecutive pages).

Example #1
Kaplan, Robert D. “History Moving North.”
Atlantic

Monthly Feb. 1997: 21+. Example #2

Solin, Sabrina. “Do Not Read This.” Seventeen Sep. 1994: 98.


TO CITE E-MAIL


Standard Format

Sender. (Sender’s e-mail address). (Month, day, year). Subject of Message. E-mail to recipient (Recipient’s e-mail address).

Example

Day, Elaine. (EDAY@aol.com). (January 30, 1997). Review of film—Lone Star. E-mail to Tim Murphy (tmurphy@uh.edu).


TO CITE A WORLD WIDE WEB SITE


Standard Format

Author/Editor. (E-mail address, if available). “Title of Electronic Document or Work.” Edition (if given). Name or Source of Web Site. (Date of publication or last revision, if known). [Type of medium]. Available: web/site/path/file. [Access date].

Example #1

Restorick, Jane. “About Today’s Date.” Centre for Mathematical Education; School of Education; University of Nottingham; Nottingham, England. [Online]. Available: http://acorn.educ.nottingham.ac.uk/cgi-bin/daynum. [March 19, 1997].

Example #2

Morrison, David. (dmorrison@mail.arc.nasa.gov). “Fact Sheet on Asteroid and Comet Impacts.” Today@NASA. [Online]. Available: http://ccf.arc.nasa.gov/sst/fact_sheet.html. [March 11, 1997].

Example #3

Tomasson, Gunnar. “Anne Hath a Way.” Five Notes on Shakespeare. (February 25, 1996). [Online]. Available: http://www.globescope.com/ws/will4.htm. [January 5, 1997].

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