Plagiarism is the act of using the words of another author without giving them credit. As we mentioned in the video, you must give credit to an author in two ways: by using in-text citations throughout your writing and including a Reference section at the end of your piece. We’ll practice those two items in a moment. For now, we’re going to practice one of the best ways to avoid accidental plagiarism: taking notes in your own words.
As you read a research article, you may find things that you want to use in your own writing. While there are ways to cite exact quotes by an author, you’ll want to keep those to a minimum; after all, you’re writing to express your ideas, not someone else’s! (Although you will use the ideas of other authors to support your own.) If you copy word per word what an author says while you take notes on an article, it may be difficult to remember where you found it or how to cite it. To avoid this pitfall, it’s best to take notes about research articles in your own words. If you find a quote from an author that you simply must use word per word, that’s okay! (in moderation) However, for most ideas that you’ll be citing, you’ll want to use your own words.
For this activity, identify a research article using Google Scholar (or your school’s academic database) which addresses your topic of choice. Select one paragraph from that article and rewrite it completely in your own words. Somewhere in your paragraph, make sure to use a lead in phrase to give credit to the original author (i.e. “As Smith and Johnson state in their 2006 article……” “As identified in a 2012 study by Taylor and Jacobs……”).