Avoid Plagiarism Exercise

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by Professor Jack Dougherty (who adopted this exercise from Professor Zayde Antrim, who adopted it from Professor Kathleen Archer, and so on. . . )

In order to avoid plagiarism, one must first learn how to plagiarize, and then how to paraphrase properly. This exercise requires students to demonstrate the differences in five steps.

Read the “Intellectual Honesty” section on pages 21-23 of the Trinity College Student Handbook (2015-16) Compare the examples of improper paraphrasing (which follows the structure of the original source too closely, regardless of a citation) versus proper paraphrasing (which restates the original source in one’s own diction and style, with a citation).

Follow the five steps below, and clearly number each of your responses in your new document. Each response may be as short as one sentence. Feel free to copy and paste any content into your word processor, rather than retype it.

Original text:

Amid these teacher wars, many extraordinary men and women worked in public school classrooms and offered powerful, grassroots ideas for how to improve American education. Henry David Thoreau, Susan B. Anthony, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Lyndon B. Johnson are just aa few of the famous Americans who taught. They resisted the fantasy of educators as saints or saviors, and understood teaching as a job in which the potential for children’s intellectual transcendence and social mobility, though always present, is limited by real-word concerns such as poor training, low pay, inadequate supplies, inept administration, and impoverished students and families. These teachers’ stories, and those of less well-known teachers, propel this history forward and help us to understand why American teaching has evolved into such a peculiar profession, one attacked and admired in equal proportion.

Original source: Dana Goldstein, The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession (New York: Anchor, 2015), p. 5.

Step 1: Plagiarize any portion of the original text by copying portions of it word-for-word.

Step 2: Plagiarize any portion of the original text by paraphrasing its structure too closely, without copying it word-for-word.

Step 3: Plagiarize any portion of the original text by paraphrasing its structure too closely, with a citation the original source (using any academic citation style). Remember, even if you include a citation, paraphrasing too closely is still a form of plagiarism.

Step 4: Properly paraphrase any portion of the original text by restating the author’s ideas in your own diction and style, and include a citation to the original source.

Step 5: Properly paraphrase any portion of the original text by restating the author’s ideas in your own diction and style, and supplement it with a direct quotation of a key phrase, and include a citation to the original source.

You may use any academic citation style for this assignment (such as Chicago-style full notes, or MLA/APA in-line citations with a bibliography). Remember to include the full reference to the source in your citation style. Using a citation tool is highly recommended. My personal favorite is the freeZotero bibliography manager. In any case, make sure all of the key information (author, title, date, etc.) appears in your full reference.

Avoid common mistakes: Look at three anonymous examples from past students in my First-Year seminar, who quoted a different source, and my comments on their work.

See syllabus for deadline and instructions on how to submit this assignment.

3 thoughts on “Avoid Plagiarism Exercise”

    1. Nathan – The Trinity Student Handbook states:
      “Examples of intellectual dishonesty include, but are not limited to, the following:
      1. Multiple submission of the same or similar work without prior written permission
      of the instructor(s). Examples include:
      a. Submitting the same work, or substantially the same work, for more
      than one course without the prior permission of all instructors involved.
      b. Submitting the same work, or substantially the same work, as that
      submitted by another student without the prior permission of all instructors
      involved.
      c. Submitting the same work, or substantially the same work, as was used
      in a previous course or at another school without the prior permission
      of all current instructors involved.”
      http://www.trincoll.edu/sitecollectiondocuments/studenthandbook.pdf, page 21

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