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*Research and Writing*

Welcome! This guide will help you develop your research and writing skills by providing foundational knowledge of the iterative research and writing process as well as manageable steps for breaking down and navigating college research projects.

Still Struggling?

Conversing with someone else about your research and writing process can be incredibly helpful.  Contact someone at McKillop Library or the Writing Center using the links below.

Definition

Salve Regina University defines plagiarism as occurring whenever "a person uses someone else's creative or scholarly work but fails to give that person credit."1  This can be deliberate, as in submitting someone else's work as your own.  It can also be accidental, such as forgetting to add quotation marks.  Plagiarism is an ethical violation, especially in the academic world where all research builds on knowledge and research that came before. Regardless of whether plagiarism is deliberate or accidental, it is a serious concern that you should take all possible measures to prevent.

Types of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a broad term that covers a variety of ethical violations, including the following:

  • Turning in a project written entirely or partially by someone else
  • Copying directly from someone else's work without properly crediting it
  • Using slightly different words to rewrite an author's sentence (paraphrasing) without giving credit to the original source in a citation
  • Submitting work that you did in a previous class or assignment as original work--this constitutes as self-plagiarism (the only exception to this is if your professor has approved of your adapting previously submitted work)
  • Including original or adapted media, images, and charts or diagrams in your work without properly crediting them

Common Misunderstandings

While most students come to college having learned something about plagiarism before, there are many common misunderstandings that continue to persist.  Let's take a moment to review some of these misunderstandings.

If you change enough words from the original text, you don't need to cite it.

Whether you quote directly from a source or change several words, you still need to cite the original source.  Taking someone else's ideas without giving them credit is just as problematic as taking their words without giving credit.

Freely available documents do not require citation.

Everything, even information freely available, requires a proper citation to credit the original source.

If the information came from the class textbook, you don't need to cite it.

While some assignments may allow you to paraphrase from your class textbook without an official citation, you should never copy directly from your textbook without citation.  It's always a good idea to check with your professor to find out how to utilize information from your textbook(s) in assignments and projects. 

If everyone already knows something, then you don't need to provide a source.

While it's true that information like historic dates, famous sayings, and facts that are "common knowledge" do not require documentation, it's still important to provide any information that cannot be easily verified with an appropriate citation.

Forgetting quotation marks around a quote is fine as long as you still provide the citation information.

While you do not need to (and shouldn't!) rely on only direct quotes in your project, you must put information into your own words if you are not using quotation marks.

Check Yourself: Further Plagiarism Resources

Plagiarism can be a tricky subject, but it's an essential one to understand in academic, professional, and personal life.  Check out some of these additional resources to learn more about plagiarism.

References

1 Salve Regina University. (2017-2018). "Academic policies." Retrieved from https://catalog.salve.edu/content.php?catoid=12&navoid=327