Avoiding Plagiarism; Writing EffectiveMetacommentary,Using Facts and Statistics Wisely
Come up with a clear thesis statement that answers this question, and then begin to answer it in the form of afreewrite.What do you think are themost common reasonsthat some students plagiarize (cheat, steal others’ words or ideas) on their written assignments? What do you think should be done in order toaddress these reasonsand prevent plagiarism from occurring?
Three Basic Rules for Avoiding Plagiarism:
Make sure allword-for-word quotes have quote marksshowing where they begin and end. Also, make sure tomake the difference between your ideas and your sources’ ideas clearwhen paraphrasing or summarizing.Identify where each quote OR paraphrased idea came fromin the body of your paperusing in-text citations.Make sure that each source you quote or paraphrase in your paper is correctly listed on your Works Cited page.
To Cite, or Not to Cite
You do not have to cite facts that are undisputed common knowledge.Ex: The Battle of Gettysburg began on July 1, 1863.Ex: Water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom.Ex: Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland.However, once you start needing to useideasabout these common, everyday facts that you found in your sources, you must cite the source of the idea.When in doubt,cite!And if you have time,ask!
Some Myths about Plagiarism
Myth 1: As long as I have a source on my works cited page, I don’t have to mention it in the body of my paper.WRONG! Any time you use ideas or words from a source, you must include an in-text citation.Myth 2: As long as I change one or two words in a quote, I don’t have to put quote marks around it or do a citation.WRONG! Changing one or two words in a quote and replacing them with synonyms is STILL PLAGIARISM if you keep the original ideas and/or sentence structure.Myth 3: As long as I paraphrase correctly, using my own words and sentence structure to express an idea, I don’t need an in-text citation.WRONG! Even if you use your own words, if the idea originally came from somewhere else, you must cite it.
Myths about Plagiarism
Myth 4: I don’t need to cite exact words, ideas or information I find on the internet.WRONG! Treat your internet sources with the same respect you have for your print or online database sources.Myth 5: It is appropriate to use an old essay from a friend, buy an essay, or have someone help me write an essay using his or her wording instead of mine.WRONG! All of these are calledcollusion,and they are all plagiarism.Myth 6: I won’t get caught if I plagiarize.WRONG! Plagiarism is quite obvious to most professors, and many of them use plagiarism detecting software.
Resources to Help you Avoid Plagiarism
P. 451-456 ofRules for Writersfor avoiding plagiarism.P. 458-459 for a directory of MLA citation information.P. 479-523 for MLA references.P. 523-532 for example research paper.Example research paper from the Purdue OWLOnline plagiarism tutorial and quizzes from Simon Fraser UniversityPlagiarism Self Test from Western Carolina UniversityUniversity of Southern Mississippi’s Plagiarism Tutorial
How to UseTurnItInto Check for Plagiarism
After you have uploaded your essay toturnitin, you will have the ability to check YOURSELF for any plagiarism.Your originality score should be less than 30%. This means that no more than 30% of your essay should be identified as word for word from a source, even if sources are quoted correctly.Any portions of your essay thatturnitinhighlights should be enclosed in quotes and given a correct MLA parenthetical citation.
What Happens ifTurnItInFinds Plagiarism?
If you have time before the due date, you can fix the problem and upload a new, corrected file that will replace the old one.This means that it would be agood ideato give yourself time to correct any errors before the due date.If you discover accidental plagiarism after the due date, I will give you the opportunity to revise.
What about intentional plagiarism?
Intentional plagiarism is cheating thatis notthe result of an accident, a lack of knowledge, or a citation error. For example, uploading an entire essay you bought or copied from a website is not an accident.What happens ifturnitinidentifies intentional plagiarism?Hope you’ve given yourself enough time to take it down and upload somethingyou actually wrotebefore the due date.Because if I catch you, I will fail you on the assignment with no hope of revision so fast it’ll make your head spin.
Chapter 10 ofThey Say / I Say
What ismetacommentary? Why do authors sometimes feel the need to include it in their writing?In your research paper, you might need to explain to your readershowto read your points in order to avoid confusion or misunderstanding.
Chapter 10 ofThey Say / I Say
P. 129 ofTSISsays, “metacommentaryis a way of commenting on your claims and telling others how—and how not—to think about them.”Add an additional paragraph to yourquickwritein which you include one or more examples ofmetacommentarythat tells your reader how to think about your points.Are there any potential misunderstandings that you can clarify? (p. 135)Can you introduce and then provide a specific example of your point? (p. 136)Can you anticipate some objections to your point and answer them? (p. 136)Can you tie all of your small points together to make one general point? (p. 137)
One of the ways you will be making your argument is through the use oflogos.Logosappeals to logic, reason, and “common sense.”Arguments that uselogosuse often usestatisticsandresultsof scientific studiesandinterpretthose statistics and results for the reader to show how those facts support the claim.
“Youare entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” – U.S. Senator Daniel MoynihanWhen you present factual findings(statistics or study results) in your research paper, you are going to need to do these things:Interpret the fact. Explain what it means to your argument.Give your factscontext.Make sure your facts arecredibleto the reader.
Your Sources May Have Done Some Interpretation Already…
In your research, you will find facts presented in two different ways:Informative sourcessimply give you the facts and let you draw your own conclusions. There are nobeliefsabout the facts in informative sources, and it is up toyouto interpret the facts and explain why they fityourclaim.Persuasive sourceswill use facts in order tosupport a claim.These types of sources will havebeliefsabout what the facts mean and what should be done because of them.These are the sources you can agree or disagree with.
Informative/Persuasive: to Sum Up
So, to sum up: if a fact is from aninformative source, it is up to YOU to interpret it.If a fact is from apersuasive source, you have a choice.Use the fact without responding to your source’s ideas about thefact.Quote the fact and the ideas, and then agree/disagree withthe ideas about the fact, not the fact itself.
Logos and Statistics
Many appeals tologosare based on research that hasstatistical results.“Ananalysisby the Pew Research Center found that of more than 67,000 news stories that appeared in newspapers or on cable and network television, radio and news websites, between February 2009 and February 2010, 1.9 percent related in a significant way to African Americans, 1.3 percent related to Latinos and only .2 percent related to AsianAmericans” (Hannah).The author quotes this study in order tosupport his argumentthat the media is not adequately representing LBGTQ people of color.
Questions to Ask About Statistics/Research
Who conducted the research? Are they credible?How recent is the research?How many individuals were included in the study?What methods were used to conduct the study? Were they fair and effective?If the statistics are interpreted/explained, who is doing the interpretation?
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.- Mark Twain
Use Statistics Honestly
Logosis a powerful tool for persuasion, but you want to make sure that you are using the research you encounter honestly.It is possible that legitimate, factual research might be manipulated by an unethical writer.
Averyover the top example:
“CaliforniaCommunity Colleges are doing a terrible job. In a study of 2013 graduation rates, theChronicle for Higher Educationfound that only 26.2% of students seeking a 2-year degree finished within three years.This means that barely more than one fourth of students finish their degrees in a reasonable amount of time. Taxpayersshould be outraged that their taxes are supporting institutions with such low rates of success.”
Give Your Facts/StatisticsContext
The fact “only 26.2% of CA students finish their community college degrees in three years” needscontext.Which students were included in the study?“First time, full-time degree seeking students.”This means that students who took a break and then graduated in a reasonable amount of time aren’t counted.Part time students who later became full time aren’t counted.26.2% graduate in 3 years in California, but how does this compare to other states?Thenational averageis only 19.4%, so California is performing BETTER than the national average in Community college degree completion.Out of all 50 states, California has the 10thhighest completion rate (the highest is South Dakota, with 51.2% graduating in 3 years).
Questioning Facts: The Exception
Remember how I said “you can’t argue with facts”? There isone exception.If you find out that the research that provided a statistic wasnot well done,you canquestion the research.Point out a flaw in the study’s methods that you discovered.Point out an unethical or unfair practice by the study’s authors.Remember, though, you can only do these things ifyou are ready to prove that the study is flawed.
A Problems to Watch out For
Correlation is not causation (the verb is “correlate”)Just because two things are happening at the same time, or changing at the same rate, does not mean that they one is the cause of the other.If you believe that two things are changing at the same time or at the same rate because theyare related,you need to do much more to argue for the connection than present statistics that say they are both changing.There are several amusing graphs about trends that prove this pointhere, as well as a video that explains the issue in more depth.
So what does all of this mean for my research paper?
Use facts and statistics wisely.Whenyouare interpreting and explaining facts and statistics, make sure you are doing so in a way that is logical and fair.Let your audience know where the fact/statistic came from, and argue for its credibility.Remember that correlation is not causation.When you areresponding to your sources’ interpretations of facts, be sure that you are arguing for or against theinterpretationof the facts, and not the facts themselves,unlessyou have proof that the studyis flawed.