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What Is Plagiarism?

Did you know that you can plagiarize yourself?

By
Geoff Pope, read by Mignon Fogarty
December 2, 2010
Episode #252

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Plagiarizing Yourself?

Did you know that you can also plagiarize yourself? Let’s say, for example, that Andrew composed a well-written and properly documented essay for one class. The work is his own, so Andrew assumes that he can use parts of it or even submit the entire paper for an assignment in another course. This is known as self-plagiarism and can incur the same kinds of punishment as other types of plagiarism: required rewriting of parts or all of the paper, receiving an F on the assignment, failing the course, suspension, or even expulsion. (Most educational institutions have a three-strikes-and-you’re-out rule.)

Self-plagiarism is unacceptable in any school, college, or university. There is, however, one conditional exception: when you have to write a paper with a different thesis statement after securing permission from the two teachers involved with both assignments. The Brief New Century Handbook states the reason: “When an instructor assigns an essay or a research paper, he or she assumes each student will produce original work written for that specific assignment and course” (9).

Electronically Detecting Plagiarism

Because copying and pasting text is so easy to do, and such a vast amount of material is now available online, schools are sending papers through plagiarism-detection software, such as Turnitin.com, to check for any plagiarism in student papers. If you don’t have an account with Turnitin, you can use the Plagiarism Checker, a free online service to help you be certain that you haven’t plagiarized.

So now you know what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

This podcast was repeatedly interrupted by the guys from Ask a Ninja and written by Geoff Pope, who teaches English at City University of Seattle and can be found online at www.geoffpope.com. The article was edited and read in the podcast by Mignon Fogarty, author of the New York Times bestseller Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing.

Resource
 
 
 
References
 
  1. Hult, C.A., & Huckin, T.N. The Brief New Century Handbook (4th ed). New York: Pearson/Longman, 2008, p. 233.
  2. Palmquist, M. The Bedford Researcher (2nd ed). Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006, p. 189.
  3. “Plagiarism.” Merriam-Webster Online. 2010. http://www.merriam-webster.com (accessed on November 29, 2010).
  4. Itzkoff, D. “South Park Creators Apologize for Using Other Writers’ Lines.” October 22, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/23/business/media/23southpark.html?ref=plagiarism (accessed on November 29, 2010).
  5. Hoyt, C. “Journalistic Shoplifting.” March 6, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/opinion/07pubed.html?ref=plagiarism (accessed on November 29, 2010).
  6. Gabriel, T. “Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age.” August 1, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/02/education/02cheat.html?ref=plagiarism (accessed on November 29, 2010).
  7. Palmquist, M. The Bedford Researcher (2nd ed). Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006, p. 189.
  8. Hacker, D. A Writer’s Reference (6th ed). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008, pp. 387-388.
  9. Hult, C.A., & Huckin, T.N. The Brief New Century Handbook (4th ed). New York: Pearson/Longman, 2008, p. 151.

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