How to Recognize Plagiarism
I won't get caught!
But consider this:
- Many universities now use plagiarism detection sofware. Indiana University currently licenses a commercial product, Turnitin. Many professors require students to submit their written work through Turnitin. Other similar tools are available, some even free.
- Google. Need we say more?
Here's a little exercise. Copy and paste the first two sentences in the below red text into Google, or click here:
All we need to do is "plug into" the world of electronic information. We need to be carrying around our personal computers and video cameras and creating our own interactive video instruction. An electronically mediated, two-way conversation can now go on between student and teacher. (Frick, 1991, pp. 29-30)
This is what many instructors do if they suspect plagiarism when reading a student's writing. Something does not look right. There is a change or unevenness in writing style or tone. Your instructor just types in a line or two of a suspected passage into Google, and presto! There is often a link in the first page of search results, which points to the original source.
By the way, in order to avoid plagiarism ourselves, we should provide the bibliographic reference for the source of the quote above (text block in red):
Frick, T. (1991). Restructuring education through technology. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation.
Also note that for quotations of 40 words or more, an indented block of text is used to identify the quotation in APA style, whereas shorter quotes are marked off by quotation marks (" ... "). In either case, it should be clear which words are being quoted by the writer, in comparison with the writer's own words.