How do I avoid plagiarism?
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BackgroundAs students conduct research, understanding is achieved by synthesizing and compiling information into a cohesive explanation of the problem or topic that is researched. Students should be able to restate what a primary or secondary source tells them about a topic or question without copying the source.
Teachers may wish to read for themselves or use with students at the completion of the lesson the handout Avoiding Plagiarism.
Delaware Social Studies Standards
History Standard Two 6-8a: Students will master the basic research skills necessary to conduct an independent investigation of historical phenomena.
Integrated in the Instructional Strategies
Gathering Information: Concept DevelopmentAsk students: What is plagiarism? Responses might include stealing, lying, or academic fraud, etc. A teacher might be able to discuss past student cases of plagiarism in the classroom as a means of illustrating the problem. What might be some of the causes of plagiarism?
Check for Understanding
- Read this online definition of plagiarism. Have you ever plagiarized, knowingly or unknowingly, based on this definition? What do you think might prevent plagiarism in the future?
- How might the increasing use of technology (computer, Internet, email, etc.) affect how often plagiarism occurs?
Extending and Refining: ParaphrasingAsk students: What does it mean to paraphrase? Compile responses in a graphic organizer (or on the board/overhead) and look for similarities and differences that reveal possible misconceptions.
Work with students to complete the handout "How to Paraphrase Properly", adapted from a similar worksheet at http://www.turnitin.com/research_site/e_home.html
Check for Understanding
- Why is paraphrasing an important defense against plagiarism?
- Choose a passage from a textbook and paraphrase it. Be sure to come up with your own way of organizing and communicating the information.
Application: CubingTeachers who wish to read more about this strategy and how to create a cube can go online to http://www.itrc.ucf.edu/forpd/strategies/stratCubing.html
Use cubing to discuss issues that lead students to think critically about the topic under study. A teacher can use the strategy with the whole class, as small group work, and/or on a one-on-one basis. Cubing requires students to apply information they have been studying in new ways.
This strategy allows students to explore a topic from six different points of view. The name "cube" comes from the fact that cubes have six sides and students explore a topic from the following six perspectives:
- Describe it: How would you describe plagiarism? Describe key characteristics/points/and/or attributes including size, shape, and colors.
- Compare it: What is plagiarism similar to? Different from?
- Associate it: What does plagiarism make you think of? How does plagiarism connect to other topics/issues/subjects?
- Analyze it: Tell how plagiarism is made or what it is composed of. How would you break plagiarism down into smaller parts?
- Apply it: How does understanding plagiarism help you understand other topics/issues/decisions/events?
- Argue against it: Take a stand and list reasons for not supporting plagiarism.
- I am not for this because. . . .
- This does not work because. . . .
- Differentiation Tip: Ask students to draw or otherwise graphically represent plagiarism.
Check for Understanding = Formative Assessment
- How do I avoid plagiarism? Suggest a plan that a student could follow while completing a research project.
- Why is this important to learn?