Citation 101: Teaching Students to Avoid Plagiarism

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Citation 101: Teaching Students How to Avoid PlagiarismBeth DowneyMSU LibrariesFebruary 6, 2015

1What we will discuss:Why has plagiarism become so prevalent?What can we do to prevent plagiarism and help students avoid it?AASL Standards and how they address academic honesty.

The information world of todays students (Thomas & Sassi, 2011):Increase (and expectation) in collaboration among students.collaborative multimodal composingdigitally intimate environments may have different rules than academic English.Acceptance of copy-paste method in blogging, retweets, reblogs, etc.Explosion of information resources and social networking platforms.Why is plagiarism happening more?Pew Internet and American Life Project: 90% of students 12-17 use the Internet.72% of adolescent students use the Internet for schoolwork.Sisti (2007): Massive one-click availability of millions of resources has led to plagiarism becoming the #1 type of academic infraction.Copy-Paste Plagiarism160 students surveyed in Pennsylvania schools during 2004-2005 school year:35% directly copied and pasted material into an assignment, without citation.46% of those considered it plagiarism or cheating. (Sisti, p. 221)

Students attitudes:I felt I had no time to do my own paper.I felt unprepared to write the paper on my own.I was not interested in the subject of my paper.If I wasnt allowed to do it, the teacher should have explicitly said so.(Sisti, 2007, p. 221)At Mississippi StateSource: Mississippi State University Student Honor Code Office. (2015). Statistics: Honor cases by Type of Academic Dishonesty. Retrieved from of all adjudicated cases since 2007 have been based on plagiarism.

MSU Honor Code definition of plagiarism:The appropriation of another persons ideas, processes, results or words without giving appropriate credit.Intentionally, knowingly, or carelessly presenting the work of another as ones own.Failing to credit sources used.Attempting to receive credit for work performed by another.The internet, databases, and other electronic resources must be cited.

What we teach undergrad students:You must cite direct quotes.You must cite paraphrased passages.You must cite anything that is not common knowledge (including borrowed facts).Plagiarism isnt just copying words. If you dont cite you are claiming that idea as your own.Academic Integrity/XF seminarsPart of the Academic Integrity Intervention Program.Examples of both plagiarism and good citation habits.Strategies to avoid plagiarism:Gathering Research MaterialsTaking NotesDocumenting Sources

Three Principles of Academic Honesty (Lipson, 2008, p. 3):

When you say you did the work yourself, you actually did it.When you rely on someone elses work, you cite it.When you present research materials, you present them fairly and truthfully.

What Academic Integrity participants tell me:I thought what I was doing was okay because no one in high school told me it wasnt.I wish someone had given me [the Lipson] book when I started college.I wish I had been told about these things in high school.Early InterventionTeach students about academic honesty before they reach college.What study/writing behaviors are already expected of them by professors?How can we prepare future college students for these expectations?How can school library professionals help?Start the conversation!How do you negotiate classroom norms with students who choose to define ethics, originality, and plagiarism very differently than you do? (Thomas & Sassi, 2011, p. 49)How do your students define academic dishonesty? Academic integrity? Why is making that distinction important?

The Little Mermaid Example:In the Disney movie The Little Mermaid, Ariel is known for her beautiful singing voice. In order to be able to be on land, Ariel gives her voice to Ursula the Sea Witch, not knowing what she will do with it. Here you can replace voice with paper or research, because it is still Ariels.Later on (because remember, evil sea witch), Ursula passes off Ariels voice as her own, tricking Prince Eric into thinking shes the singing girl he fell in love with. She plagiarized Ariels work. If she had cited that she was using her voice, that would be different (probably would have foiled her plan but thats another tale)15Emphasize the various reasons for citation besides academic integrity:Connects to previous research (standing on the shoulders of giants), which gives your ideas authority.Adds to the collective knowledge, which assists future researchers.Credits others for their ideas.Defines the ideas that are unique.

Frame the conversation more broadly:Help students understand the differences among moral, lawful, and ethical behavior. (Dow, 2008, p. 49)Principles of Information Ethics (Severson, 1997)Respect of Intellectual PropertyRespect for PrivacyFair representationNonmaleficenceAASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner Standard 1: Inquire, think critically and gain knowledge.Responsibilities Respect copyright/intellectual property rights of creators and producers.1.3.3 Follow ethical and legal guidelines in gathering and using information.1.3.5 Use information technology responsibly.Standard 2: Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.Responsibilities Use valid information and reasoned conclusions to make ethical decisions.Standard 3: Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.Skills Use information and technology ethically and responsibly.Standard 4: Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.Responsibilities Practice safe and ethical behaviors in personal electronic communication and interaction.In conclusionTeach students all the different types of plagiarism and ways it can occur, even with one sentence.Instill good information-gathering, note-taking, and citation habits early.Frame the discussion in terms of ethical and honorable behavior that goes beyond the classroom.ReferencesAmerican Library Association. (2006). AASL standards for the 21st-century learner. Retrieved from, M. (2008). Teaching ethical behavior in the global world of information and the new AASL standards. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 25(4), 49-52.Lehman, K. (2009). Teaching information ethics to high school students. Library Media Connection, 27(6), 28-30.

ReferencesLipson, C. (2008). Doing honest work in college: How to prepare citations, avoid plagiarism, and achieve real academic success. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Mississippi State University Student Honor Code Office. (2015). Statistics: Honor cases by type of academic dishonesty. Retrieved from, R. (1997). Principles of information ethics. ME Sharpe, Inc. ReferencesSisti, D. A. (2007). How do high school students justify internet plagiarism?. Ethics & Behavior, 17(3), 215-231. doi:10.1080/10508420701519163Thomas, E. and Sassi, K. (2011). An ethical dilemma: Talking about plagiarism and academic integrity in the digital age. English Journal, 100(6), 47-53.