Safeguarding Against Plagiarism

Academic integrity is crucial at Fordham and all academic institutions; professors and the university administration all take breaches of academic integrity very seriously. The consequences for plagiarizing can include failure for a project or entire course, suspension, or expulsion.

Plagiarism is “the action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own.” (You may be asking yourself, Where did that definition come from? This definition must be cited to give credit to the original source: “plagiarism,” from the Oxford English Dictionary Online.)

Academic integrity requires a combination of: 1) the correct use of paraphrase, quotation and citation within the body of a paper; and 2) a list of all sources in the form of a Works Cited list (also called a bibliography). This handout focuses on how to integrate sources into your paper fairly and accurately. For more information, consult The Bedford Handbook, 53b, and the handouts “Citing in an MLA Paper” and “Quoting and Paraphasing.”

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Give credit for others’ words. Use citations to give credit for words you use verbatim (word-for-word) from another source (book, chapter, article, website, interview, etc.)

Our fans always “provide support in a safe manner” for the team (Finkelstein 23).

Give credit for others’ ideas, opinions, and theories. Even if you’re not quoting another person’s words verbatim, you still need to give credit for using those ideas, opinions, and theories that were not originally your own.

As Smithson explains, the foremost problem with the text was poor publishing (72).

How to Paraphrase

Sometimes you find great information you want to incorporate into your paper, but you don’t have the space to quote it at length or you don’t think the language of the source is remarkable. Paraphrasing is a very common and effective way to condense the source information or to summarize a point in your own words.

Use your own language. Some writers find paraphrasing difficult, especially when researching an unfamiliar topic. The source’s language can be very tempting because it carries the weight of authority or because it is very eloquent and precise. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to write effective paraphrases while safeguarding against plagiarism.

Don’t mirror your source’s language too closely. Here are an example of a passage from a source and a paraphrase that commits plagiarism:

Source: “[Frank] Miller… uses the older image of the Batcave as the classical underside of the city, but an underside where the city’s most famous law-keeper lives and works. Here the Batcave is a repressed space, but one which gives rise to a powerful force” (Pramod 44).

Paraphrase: Nayar Pramod points out that Frank Miller uses the older image of the Batcave as the dark underbelly of Gotham City, but in this text, the Batcave is an oppressed space.

This paraphrase contains plagiarism, even though the writer named the author. This writer borrowed too much of the author’s language without quoting it. The underlined portions are taken directly from the source text. This writer also extensively mirrored the author’s sentence structure and language, substituting synonyms (bolded above) for some words.

Avoid looking at the source while you write your paraphrase. Sometimes the author’s language seems flawless and therefore tempting; one of the easiest ways to avoid borrowing or mirroring the author’s language is to set it aside. Read the selection you want to paraphrase, close the source text, and then in your own words write down what you understand to be the point of this passage. Here’s an example of acceptable paraphrasing of the previous source:

Paraphrase: Nayar Pramod argues that Frank Miller appropriates the Batcave from its original meaning—as a signifier for the caped crusader’s hideout—and relocates the Batcave outside the city limits, within the city dump. In doing so, Miller highlights Batman’s marginalized status (Pramod 44).

Academic Integrity Checklist

 o Give credit for others’ words. Cite all quotations and paraphrases and include a Works Cited page.

o Give credit for others’ ideas, opinions, and theories. Cite all instances of ideaborrowing, whether you quote them directly or not.

o Use your own language. (You should still cite ideas you’re paraphrasing.)

o Ensure you’re using your own words by shutting the book or clicking away from the on-screen source.

Where in the The Bedford Handbook?

Section 48: Managing information; avoiding plagiarism
Section 51: Citing sources; avoiding plagiarism Page
491: Writing MLA Papers Page
621: Writing APA Papers Page
685: Writing Chicago Papers