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Research in a nutshell - NNPS: Plagiarism

VT Honor Systems

Traps of Common Knowledge

Traps of Common Knowledge

  • What is it?
    • Generally speaking, you can regard something as common knowledge if you find the same information undocumented in at least five credible sources. Additionally, it might be common knowledge if you think the information you're presenting is something your readers will already know, or something that a person could easily find in general reference sources. But when in doubt, cite; if the citation turns out to be unnecessary, your teacher or editor will tell you.Purdue Owl (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/2/)
  • What it is not -  is other people's thougths and research
  • What is common knowledge to you may not be common knowledge to me - know your audience
    • for instance in the tutorial from Acadia University, the date of Canada's independence is listed as common knowledge - the tutorial is from a Canadian university.  This may be common knowledge to them, but not to us living here in the United States.
  • More likely facts than theories
  • Examples
    • Barak Obama is the president of the United States.
    • William Shakespeare is an English playwright.
    • Some whales do not have teeth.


Outside Resources

Ways to avoid plagiarism

Ways to avoid plagiarism

  • Research journal
  • Keep track of what you are doing at every stage –
    • keep track of where you get things
  • Keep articles and their citations
  • Be aware that links to the article may be session links not permanent links
    • Look for persistent link on the web page
  • Citation style guides
  • Consult with your professors

Types of Plagiarism

Types of Plagiarism

  • Direct copy - cut and paste
  • Plagiarism by paraphrasing
    • just because you move the words around doesn't make it your work
    • seen as evasive editing and can be considered a larger offense


Paraphrasing Practice

Consequence of Plagiarism

Undergraduate/Graduate Honor System

  • Zero in assignment
  • Probation
  • Notation on Transcript
  • Dismissal

Professional Embarrassment

  • Stephen Ambrose a noted historian was caught using other's words without crediting them
  • James Frey's book In a Million Little Pieces is exposed as a lie
  • Jonah Lehrer made up quotes in his book Imagine: How Creativity Works
  • Marc Hauser, a noted Harvard psychologist, fabricated scientific data for his work

Student Work

Lawsuits

Part IV: Copyright Issues & Plagiarism

  • Private personal use – one copy is OK
  • Public or public personal use – get permission no matter what format it is in
  • Always give credit to the originator for anything you borrow from someone else, including anything you find on the World Wide Web

Helpful readings:

  • http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/copyright/
  • http://www.plagiarism.org/  
  • http://www.english.vt.edu/plagiarism/plagiarism1.html
  • http://www.lib.vt.edu/find/citation/index.html