Tag Archives: APA

Recognizing plagiarism

by Kristin Kayser

Plagiarism is that daunting crime that professors have been warning students of since day one. They don’t want you to accidentally fall into that trap and you don’t want to either; in fact, many teachers will help you if you have questions or if either of you suspects plagiarism in your work. So, you know what it is—taking someone else’s words or ideas and claiming them as your own—but are you sure you know how to recognize it in one of your own papers?

First, read through your paper, not to proofread but to check for consistency in your tone/voice. (You can do this silently, aloud, or even have a friend read it to you.) If you begin the paper sounding like yourself and somewhere in the middle turn into someone else, it’s a major red flag. Chances are you may have missed placing quotation marks somewhere or paraphrased too closely to the original text. When a student’s voice or tone is inconsistent, there’s a chance that there is plagiarism involved.

Another indication of plagiarism can be poor or uncited paraphrasing, as can some instances of word choice. If you wouldn’t use the word yourself but found it in a source, then you need to cite it and possibly place it in quotation marks and give context for it.

And remember: using the correct citation form and style is just as important as using quotation marks. If you have questions, check the relevant style manual (such as Chicago, MLA, APA) or check with someone who can help you find an answer.

If you ever have any questions about plagiarism or citations, you can always ask your professor or a writing tutor or set up a meeting with someone in the Center for Teaching and Learning. Accidental plagiarism is an easy fix, once you know what to look for.

Kristin Kayser is a senior majoring in educational studies and will be working at the Walt Disney Company this coming fall.

Where to find citation help

by Kristin Kayser

Like many of you, I’m taking a wide array of classes this semester, which means that I’m running into unfamiliar citation styles. When one paper required APA citation and another had to be written in Chicago style, I was a little stumped. I hadn’t used either style in a long time.

As a writing tutor, I have come across many students who were having the exact sameproblem. So I decided to look for different helpful resources available to Principia students. The options range from programs like NoodleTools to the actual books on citation styles at the tutor station in the library.

One great option is the Purdue OWL website which includes all styles of citations, in-text examples, bibliographies, and works cited help. The website is easy to navigate and has a ton of examples. This is definitely a website to check out for anyone with questions on citations and style guides.

Principia’s library website also provides students with citation guides and other aids as well. To find these, go directly to the Marshall Brooks Library home page. Use the link to Citation Guides to go to the library’s page on all the citation style guides. On this page, there are links to helpful resources like NoodleTools and the Purdue OWL website, and there are tabs across the top for nine—yes, nine—citation styles. Double check your assignment or ask your professor which style is appropriate since you can lose points for using the wrong citation style. One last suggestion for citation help is the tutor station in the library. There, students can find the manuals as well as brief handouts on the MLA, APA, and Chicago citation styles. These sheets will give a student the “elevator version” of the citation style she is working with. Even better, if you have further questions, you can ask a tutor. Chances are they’ve helped another student with a similar question and are ready to help you too!

Kristin Kayser is a senior majoring in Education Studies with a minor in English. After graduation, she plans to head back to work at Walt Disney World.

Citation starters

by Shannon Naylor

Let’s meet Annie, a freshman at Imaginary University. She has just been assigned her first college paper and has listened to the list of all the possible punishments for plagiarism, intentional or not. She learned one citation style in high school, but now she’s expected to know three different ones for three different classes and she has started to panic. What on earth is she supposed to do?

If, like Annie, you are panicking over citations, stop, take a deep breath, and relax. Here are some easy steps towards citing sources with confidence.

Which way do I cite? Find out what writing style you need for the paper in question. Most college papers will be written in MLA, APA, or Chicago styles, but sometimes you’ll need something different. Consult the assignment or ask your professor.

How do I cite? Check with the library for the proper style manual or ask a TA or writing tutor how to format the citations properly. The library website is helpful too: http://library.principiacollege.edu/citation-help. These will give you the specifics for whatever style you are required to use.

When and what do I cite? You cite whenever you include specific data, exact quotes or paraphrases. You will most likely use in-text citations, although the style will determine whether you use parenthetical citations, footnotes, or endnotes. All of your sources should be collected in a works cited, bibliography, or references page.

What makes something “common knowledge”? Sometimes it’s easy to tell. Let’s visit Annie again. Say she is writing a paper on the geology of Hawaii. So far, she knows that Hawaii is an island in the Pacific Ocean. This is common knowledge—she knew this before starting her research. In her research, she learns that there are three kinds of lava: pillow, aa, and pahoehoe. She never knew this before, but all of the articles in which she has encountered this fact treat it like common knowledge. It is. This is an example of field-specific common knowledge: the average Joe (or Annie) might not be familiar with it, but it is old news to geologists. Annie continues her research and finds measurements for how far lava has spread on Hawaii per annum. This data is not common knowledge and should be cited.

Why do I cite? At first, citing sources may seem like a chore, but it’s really just a written form of politeness. One day in class, Annie has a group discussion and shares an original, insightful thought about the readings. When their group shares with the class, Bob shares her idea without mentioning that Annie came up with it. She is frustrated. Published articles, essays, and studies are all part of a larger academic conversation and, like Annie, the authors deserve to be credited for their ideas. This is why we cite our sources.

Shannon Naylor is a junior studying creative writing and theatre. She is currently enjoying a break from school—but not from writing!