What is Plagiarism? Video Lecture
On the left I highlighted something that's blue, and on the right side I made it pink to show you how the student changed a few words. He is plagiarizing because he took words and ideas and did not give credit to the original author. So now you know what the problem is, we need to talk about how you can avoid this so that you don't commit plagiarism in your writing.
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In this lesson you are going to learn what plagiarism is. Plagiarism is using someone else’s words or ideas as your own. That can be done either on purpose or it can be accidental. If you use someone else’s words or ideas for any reason, you’re committing plagiarism. Let’s look at an example. On the left side here we have a source. This is from an article. And the student wants to use part of this in his essay. On the right side here, we have the student’s writing. This is what the student put in his own paper and turned in for a grade. Take a minute and read and compare the two. Remember, pretending that someone else’s words are yours is not okay. That’s plagiarism. Let’s look at how this student plagiarized. Compare the colored words here. On the left I highlighted something that’s blue, and on the right side I made it pink to show you how the student changed a few words. Instead of starting with calling gun violence, the student started with because gun violence. He’s trying to make his writing look different, but it’s clear that he is copying from the source. Just because he changes a few words does not make this okay. He is plagiarizing because he took words and ideas and did not give credit to the original author. Look at this other example. Again, on the left we have an original source, and on the right we have the student’s writing. Can you find some places where the student has plagiarized? Again, this student thought he could change a few words to make his writing look different, but it is clear that his writing is copied from the original source. He can change some words, but he needs to cite the source. And we can still find places in black where the student is using the exact same words as the original source, and the student doesn’t put those words in quotation marks to show us that they’re someone else’s words. The student also does not tell us the name of the source. So this looks like those words are all the student’s words. The student is pretending that all of these words are his, because he didn’t cite the source. So to summarize, remember the things that you cannot do. You cannot change some words to make it look different from the original source. You also cannot use the exact words from that source without putting quotation marks around them. And you cannot follow the same grammar as the original source. All of these things make plagiarism, which you don’t want to do. So now you know what the problem is, we need to talk about how you can avoid this so that you don’t commit plagiarism in your writing.
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