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English 212

Resources and advice for writing the ENG 212 paper.

What is Plagiarism?

The ALC faculty has officially adopted the following policy on plagiarism:

"Plagiarism is the act of using another person's ideas or expressions in your writing without acknowledging the source... In short, to plagiarize is to give the impression that you have written or thought something that you have in fact borrowed from someone else" (21).

"Plagiarism often carries severe penalties, ranging from failure in a course to expulsion from school."

"The most blatant form of plagiarism is to repeat as your own someone else's sentences, more or less verbatim" (22).

"Other forms of plagiarism include repeating someone else's particularly apt phrase without appropriate acknowledgement, paraphrasing another person's argument as your own, and presenting another's line of thinking as though it were your own" (23).

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 3d ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1988.

The following scenarios also constitute plagiarism:

  • Presenting the work of another student as your own.
  • Copying and pasting material from the internet without proper acknowledgement.
  • Utilizing a high percentage of direct quotes in a research paper, particularly from a single source.

Using Sources Effectively

Using a source correctly is just as important as selecting a quality source.

While correct source citation goes a long way in preventing plagiarism, relying too heavily on any one source can also constitute plagiarism. Even if the material is cited correctly, excessive quotation can still be construed as plagiarism.

To avoid this problem, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Keep direct quotes to a minimum. Unless the author says something particularly apt, or you are referring to a portion of a work in order to support an argument, summarize or paraphrase the information. A good research paper limits direct quotations to no more than 20% of the content.
  2. Assume your audience is familiar with the work you are writing about. References to line or paragraph numbers can substitute for direct quotations.
  3. Vary the source of your quotations. Remember that a good research paper is a synthesis of various different sources, combining to create a new understanding of your subject. You're using the sources to support your own, original ideas. It's a bit like creating a new recipe. Sure, there are many ingredients involved, but the end product will be your own creation.