Assess your paper, part 5
Is your paper free of plagiarism?
While taking intellectual risks
is admirable, a risk to avoid is plagiarism or academic dishonesty.
Remember that "I didn't know" is no excuse.
Avoid plagiarism by taking careful notes
and being certain you understand what it is. Plagiarism is often--and
rightly--explained as being a form of theft. The Harvard University
Writing program's article "Why Does it Matter if you Plagiarize?"
takes this issue further.
Be sure also to read Barnet's
discussion of the use of quotations and avoiding plagiarism on pages 232 - 334 of the 11th edition
of A Short Guide to Writing About Art.
1) Submitting all or
part of a paper written by someone else.
2) Copying sentences and
or phrases from a source without putting
them in quotation marks, and without using a footnote to identify the
The rule of thumb is: More than three consecutive words,
not counting short words such as "a," "the,"
"but," "in," "an," or "and"
need either quotation
marks and a footnote or acknowledgement of the author in the text of
speaking, you may use three--possibly
four--consecutive words (excluding such words as "the,"
"and," "if," and "in") without
quotation marks or footnote.
For example, "Italian Renaissance Art" and "Italian
Renissance painting and sculpture" are common phrases and
it's hard to find a graceful alternatives.
If, however, you find an unusually
good or clever phrase that you'd like to re-use in your paper, then you must acknowledge the author,
usually with a footnote. See When
and How to use a Quotation and Barnet's discussion of
the use of quotations and avoiding plagiarism on pages
232 - 334 of the 11th edition of A Short Guide to Writing About Art.
BEWARE OF THE TOO-CLOSE PARAPHRASE!
Some students get into
trouble by quoting three or four words without quotation marks,
putting in a bridge of a few of their own words, and then a another
short quoted phrase without quotation marks, another bridge of
their own words, etc. This is a form of plagiarism because it
is editing a paragraph by someone else, retaining the structure
and much of the text--yet presenting it as their own work.
3) False documentation:
intentionally citing in a footnote or bibliography a source that
you did not in fact consult--or is not the source of a quotation--is a form
of plagiarism or academic dishonesty. This includes using
an image of a work of art (a secondary source) while claiming
to have examined the art work in person (a primary source).
On the surface,
false documentation might seem like a clever game: produce the
required footnotes without the necessary work--and sit back and
laugh. But false documentation is a far worse offense than
a too close paraphrase because the writer clearly intends
to deceive. A common form of false documentation is to
plagiarize from one source and footnote to another that sounds
who try very hard to do good and honest work: We all make mistakes,
and an accidental omission of a footnote or an error in a citation
is exactly that: an error. Concerns about academic dishonesty
arise when there's a pattern that goes beyond the
likelihood of error.
good to smile--especially about serious things--don't miss Tom
Lehrer's famous satiric song about plagiarism, Lobachevsky. ". . . Plagiarize / Let no one else's work
evade your eyes / Remember why the good Lord made your eyes /
So don't shade your eyes / But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize
/ Only be sure always to call it please 'research' . . . "
Full lyrics may be found here