Monday, September 12, 2011

Before you turn in that paper...

I'm sure you are all familiar with the concept of "plagiarism" but sometimes, especially when you're doing research online, it can feel a bit confusing. This website from the makers of Turnitin (which a lot of your high school teachers will probably use) helps clarify things. You can also use this fun interactive tutorial to test your knowledge!

Now, before you hand in your paper, you might want to run it through
Plagiarism Checker (you can enter a maximum of 32 words at a time on this site) or Paper Rater (this one works better for longer papers and also gives you advice on grammar and writing style).

What do you do if one of these sites says you plagiarized? Remember that if you paraphrase in your own words or directly quote someone else's original idea, you must give them credit by including a citation! If you intended to paraphrase but didn't manage it the first time, try using a thesaurus such as WordSmyth to find other ways to word your sentences.

A direct quote also needs to be put in quotation marks. Use the citation generator in World Book Online (see my page on Vista Sharepoint for login information) or KnightCite to create your citation. At our school we use MLA format for citations.

Citations need to be used to give credit to authors whose works you used in your research even if you do not quote or paraphrase them. General knowledge (e.g. "George Washington was the first president of the United States") does not need to be cited.

When in doubt, check with your teachers or me! It's better to play it safe and give credit to the sources you use.

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