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Using Sources Responsibly & Avoiding Plagiarism: Using Sources Responsibly to Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is using someone else's ideas or words without crediting them by citing your source and is a violation of the MCC Student Code of Conduct. 

Avoiding Plagiarism in under 4 Minutes (3:23)

Video created by Joshua Vossler - see more of his videos about doing research and using information at  https://joshuavossler.com/.

Using Sources Effectively

Remember that when you do research, you are looking for information to use in your paper or project, and one way to consider how to use information is the BEAM model*. BEAM stands for the types of sources you'll find: Background, Exhibit, Argument, and Method. Once you've found information that 

provides Background information or definitions that help explain your topic, OR

presents, or Exhibits information or images that you will analyze or interpret, OR

presents evidence in support of an Argument or its opposing view, OR

explains a Method of researching or interpreting information, 

you then have to determine the best way to include the information in your paper or presentation and the correct way to attribute, or give credit for, that information using the citation style your assignment requires, such as APA. This is also called citing.

* (Joseph Bizup (2008) BEAM: A Rhetorical Vocabulary for Teaching Research Based Writing, Rhetoric Review, 27:1, 72-86, DOI: 10.1080/07350190701738858)

You can read more about BEAM at the Modesto Junior College library's website, or watch the video below from Portland State University.

 

Online Resources and Definitions

3 Ways to Use Someone's Information Responsibly

There are three ways to use information from someone else's, or your own, work responsibly and ethically in your own work. In all three cases, you must give credit to the creator of that information by citing their work. 

Quoting – Quote by copying the exact words from a source into your paper, and putting quotation marks around them. You quote when the words matter as much as or more than the ideas or information in a passage. 

Paraphrasing – Paraphrase by rephrasing a sentence or short passage in your own words. It's not enough to just change the author's words -- you should completely change the way the information is expressed. You paraphrase when it's the ideas or information you need to express, and not the exact words. 

Summarizing – Summarize by stating the main ideas of a source or section of a source in your own words. You summarize when you want to refer to a long section of a source or to present an overview of one of your source's ideas. 

Always include a citation, whether you quote, paraphrase, or summarize.

If you quote, paraphrase or summarize your own writing (from another paper) you must cite yourself. "Recycling" part of or an entire paper from one class for another is considered plagiarism.

 

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