The University of British Columbia policy on plagiarism, which uses MLK as the WORST example of plagiarism.

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Ronny Koch

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Jan 23, 2022, 7:25:02 PM1/23/22
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Introduction | What is plagiarism | Avoiding Plagiarism |
Examples

PLAGIARISM

What it is, and How to Avoid It

1. INTRODUCTION

2. WHAT IS PLAGIARISM?

3. AVOIDING PLAGIARISM

4. EXAMPLES

1. INTRODUCTION

Plagiarism is a serious academic offence. Each year a number of
cases of plagiarism are brought to the attention of the Dean of
Arts and the President’s Office. Depending on the severity of
the offence, students found guilty of plagiarism may lose credit
for the assignment in question, be awarded a mark of zero in the
course, or face suspension from the University. Most cases which
pass through the Dean’s office result in at least a temporary
suspension from the University (permanently noted on the
student’s transcript) and a mark of zero.

2. WHAT IS PLAGIARISM?

Complete plagiarism
Near-Complete plagiarism
Patchwork plagiarism
Lazy plagiarism
Self plagiarism

Most simply, plagiarism is intellectual theft. Any use of
another author’s research, ideas, or language without proper
attribution may be considered plagiarism. Because such
definitions include many shades of accidental or intentional
plagiarism, these need to be described more fully.

Complete Plagiarism

This is the most obvious case: a student submits, as his or her
own work, an essay that has been written by someone else.
Usually the original source is a published journal article or
book chapter. The use of unpublished work, including the work of
another student, is just as serious.

In such cases, plagiarism cannot be "avoided" by paraphrasing
the original or acknowledging its use in footnotes. The work is
the property of another author and should not be used. See
Example #1

Near-complete Plagiarism

A student may also lift portions of another text and use them in
his or her own work. For example, a student might add her or his
own conclusions or introduction to an essay. Or a student might
scatter his or her own comments through a text taken
substantially from another source.

These practices are unacceptable. Even with some attribution,
the bulk of the work has been done by another. See Example #1

Patchwork Plagiarism

In many cases, a student will lift ideas, phrases, sentences,
and paragraphs from a variety of sources and "stitch" them
together into an essay. These situations often seem difficult to
assess. Most essays, after all, are attempts to bring together a
range of sources and arguments. But the line between plagiarism
and original work is not difficult to draw. See Example #2

Lazy Plagiarism

Lazy plagiarism crops up in many student essays, and is usually
the result of sloppy note-taking or research shortcuts. Examples
include:

inadvertent use of another’s language, usually when the student
fails to distinguish between direct quotes and general
observations when taking notes. In such cases, the presence of a
footnote does not excuse the use of another’s language without
quotation marks.

use of footnotes or material quoted in other sources as if they
were the results of your research.

sloppy or inadequate footnoting which leaves out sources or page
references.

Although it may not be the student’s intention to deceive, it is
often difficult for instructors to distinguish between
purposeful and accidental plagiarism. See Example #3

Self Plagiarism

The use of an essay written for one course to satisfy the
requirements of another course is plagiarism. Students should
not use, adapt, or update an essay written for another purpose.

This is not intended to discourage students from pursuing
specific interests. If you want to use a previously completed
essay as a starting point for new research, you should receive
the instructor’s approval and provide her or him with a copy of
the original essay. If you want to use substantially similar
essays to satisfy the requirements of two related courses, you
should get approval from all the instructors concerned.

3. AVOIDING PLAGIARISM

research
writing
footnoting
editing

It is not hard to draw the distinction between original and
thoroughly plagiarized work. But the "grey areas" between these
extremes are more vexing. Students should avoid any hint of
dishonesty by maintaining good research habits and paying
attention to a few basic rules of writing and documentation.

Research

Most written assignments begin with the collection of research
notes -- a combination of ideas or quotes from other sources,
and the student’s own ideas. Whether you keep notes on index
cards, in a loose-leaf binder, or on old envelopes in a desk
drawer, it is important to record and organize them in such a
way that vital information is not lost.


Keep careful and complete track of sources. Accurately copy the
author, title, and other information about the source
publication, including the number(s) of the page(s) from which
notes or quotes were taken.

Distinguish carefully between your ideas and the ideas of
others. This is a simple question of intellectual honesty. If
you use another’s conclusions, acknowledge them. If you come to
the same conclusions as another on your own, you should still
acknowledge the agreement.

Distinguish carefully between your own words and those of
others. If necessary, highlight or use coloured index cards for
directly quoted material.

Writing

As you begin to tie your ideas together in written form,
consider the following:


Begin by organizing your essay in an original manner. Avoid
mimicking the pattern or order of argument used by others.
Remember: this is your humble contribution to a debate or a body
of research; it is not (in most case) an attempt to summarize or
paraphrase the work of others.

As you weave the ideas and language of others into your work,
make clear choices about the use of quoted material. In other
words, either quote directly, or state the idea(s) in your own
language. Do not mess around with close paraphrases or purely
cosmetic changes. See Example #4

Read the first draft carefully. Is the distinction between your
work and the work of others clear and unambiguous? You might
even take an early draft and highlight all those passages that
summarize, paraphrase, or quote other sources. Is there enough
of your own work left in the essay?

Footnoting

Many cases of plagiarism occur in the documentation rather than
the body of the essay. You should have a clear idea of the
variety of purposes a footnote (or endnote) may serve, and many
different ways you can acknowledge the work of others. For
specific cases See Example #5. Also note the following:

Always record your source of the information; never use or rely
on another author’s footnotes.

The footnote should allow the reader to find or check the
material being cited. Provide exact page numbers for direct
quotes, and a range of page numbers for more general points.

If you included more than one source or reference in a footnote,
the relevance or order of the various sources should be clear to
the reader.

Editing

Once your essay is complete, consider each portion that is drawn
from another source, and ask yourself the following:

Is the idea or argument expressed entirely my own?

Is the general language or choice of words (including even
phrases or rough paraphrases) my own?

If either answer is "no," the work must be credited to the
original author. And if the answer to the second question is
"no," the passage should either be quoted directly or rewritten
in the student’s own words and credited directly.

EXAMPLES

EXAMPLE #1

Complete or Near-Complete Plagiarism

Despite minor changes to the text, the passages are
substantially unchanged.

In the first case, the plagiarist also lifts the footnote from
the original. Note that the use of even very brief passages
(such as the "wings of aspiration") constitutes plagiarism. Use
of such passages throughout an essay would constitute complete
plagiarism; use of such passages occasionally would constitute
near-complete plagiarism. [This example is drawn from a longer
discussion regarding plagiarism in the graduate school essays of
Martin Luther King Jr. Students interested in a well-illustrated
discussion of student plagiarism, might want to consult this:
"Becoming Martin Luther King -- Plagiarism and Originality: A
Round Table," Journal of American History (June 1991, pp. 11-
123. The example used below is on p. 25.]

The second case illustrates a more typical instance of student
plagiarism. Even the footnote to the original does not excuse
the substantial use of the original’s language.

CASE 1

Original
It is Eros, not Agape, that loves in proportion to the value of
its object. By the pursuit of value in its object, Platonic love
is let up and away from the world, on wings of aspiration,
beyond all transient things and persons to the realm of the
Ideas. Agape, as described in the Gospels and Epistles, is
"spontaneous and ‘uncaused’," "indifferent to human merit," and
"creates" value in those upon whom it is bestowed out of pure
generosity. It flows down from God into this transient, sinful
world; those whom it touches become conscious of their own utter
unworthiness; they are impelled to forgive and love their
enemies....because the God of grace imparts worth to them by the
act of loving them.* [footnote* is to Anders Nygren, Agape and
Eros. (New York, 1932), pp. 52-56]

Plagiarized Version

As Nygren set out to contrast these two Greek words he finds
that Eros loves in proportion to the value of the object. By the
pursuit of value in its objects. Platonic love is let up and
away from the world, on wings of aspiration, beyond all
transient things and persons to the realm of the Ideas. Agape as
described in the Gospels and Epistles, is "spontaneous and
uncaused," "indifferent to human merit," and creates value in
those upon whom it is bestowed out of pure generosity. It flows
down from God into the transient, sinful world; those whom it
touches become conscious of their own utter unworthiness; they
are impelled to forgive and love their enemies, because the God
of Grace imparts worth to them by the act of loving them.*
[Footnote* is to Nygren, Agape and Eros, pp. 52-56]

CASE 2

Original

The strike officially began on May 29, and on June 1 the
manufacturers met publicly to plan their resistance. Their
strategies were carried out on two fronts. They pressured the
proprietors into holding out indefinitely by refusing to send
new collars and cuffs to any laundry. Also the manufacturers
attempted to undermine directly the union’s efforts to weather
the strike. They tried to create a negative image of the union
through the press, which they virtually controlled. They
prevented a few collar manufacturers in other cities from
patronizing the unions’ cooperative laundry even though it
claimed it could provide the same services for 25 percent less.
Under these circumstances, the collar ironers’ tactics were much
less useful.

Plagiarized Version

The strike began on May 29, and on June 1 the manufacturers met
publicly to plan their response. They had two strategies. They
pressured the proprietors into holding out indefinitely by
refusing to send new collars and cuffs to any laundry, and they
attempted to undermine directly the union’s efforts to weather
the strike. They also tried to create a negative image of the
union through the newspapers, which they virtually controlled.
They prevented a few collar manufacturers in other cities from
using the unions’ cooperative laundry even though it could
provide the same services for 25 percent less. Under these
circumstances, the collar ironers’ tactics were much less
useful.1

1. Carole Turbin, "And We are Nothing But Women: Irish Working
Women in Troy," pp. 225-26 in Women of America. Edited by Mary
Beth Norton (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979).

EXAMPLE #2

Patchwork Plagiarism

Here two sources are combined to create a new passage. As it
stands, the passage is clearly plagiarized. If a footnote were
added acknowledging the sources, the substantial use of the
language of the original passage would still open the student to
charges of plagiarism. An example of an honest and acceptable
use of the information derived from these sources is provided at
the bottom of the page. Note that the "acceptable version" uses
the facts of the original sources, but organizes and expresses
them in the student’s own language.

Originals

Source 1:

"Despite the strong public opposition, the Reagan administration
continued to install so many North American men, supplies, and
facilities in Honduras that one expert called it "the USS
Honduras, a [stationary] aircraft carrier or sorts." (Walter
LaFeber, Inevitable Revolutions (New York, 1989), 309.)

Source 2:

"By December 1981, American agents--some CIA, some U.S. Special
Forces--were working through Argentine intermediaries to set up
contra safe houses, training centres, and base camps along the
Nicaraguan-Honduran border." (Peter Kornbluh, "Nicaragua," in
Michael Klare (ed), Low Intensity Warfare (New York, 1983), 139.)

Plagiarized Version
Despite strong public opposition, by December 1981 the Reagan
Administration was working through Argentine intermediaries to
install contra safe houses, training centres, and base camps in
Honduras. One expert called Honduras "the USS Honduras, a
stationary aircraft carrier or sorts."

Acceptable
In the early 1980s, the Reagan Administration made increasing
use of Honduras as a base for the contra war. The Administration
set up a number of military and training facilities--some
American, some contra, and some housing Argentine mercenaries--
along the border between Nicaragua and Honduras. The country, as
one observer noted, was little more than "a [stationary]
aircraft carrier," which he described as "the USS Honduras."2

2. See Walter Lafeber, Inevitable Revolutions (New York, 1989),
p. 307-310 (quote p. 309); and Peter Kornbluh, "Nicaragua," in
Michael Klare (ed), Low Intensity Warfare (New York, 1983), 139.

EXAMPLE #3

Lazy Plagiarism

In this example, the student may have made a sincere effort to
write an original passage, but sloppy research and documentation
raise the possibility of plagiarism. Note the characteristic
errors: confusion of original and student’s language, quotation
marks in the wrong place, improper or incomplete footnotes.

Originals

Source 1:

"Despite the strong public opposition, the Reagan administration
continued to install so many North American men, supplies, and
facilities in Honduras that one expert called it "the USS
Honduras, a [stationary aircraft carrier of sorts." (Walter
LaFeber, Inevitable Revolutions (New York, 1989), 309.)

Source 2:

"By December 1981, American agents--some CIA, some U.S. Special
Forces--were working through Argentine intermediaries to set up
contra safe houses, training centres, and base camps along the
Nicaraguan-Honduran border." (Peter Kornbluh, "Nicaragua," in
Michael Klare (ed), Low Intensity Warfare (New York, 1983), 139.)

Plagiarized Version
Despite strong public opposition, the Reagan Administration
"continued to install so many North American men, supplies, and
facilities in Honduras that one expert called it the USS
Honduras, a stationary aircraft carrier or sorts."3

In December 1981, American agents--some CIA Special Forces--were
working through Argentine intermediaries to set up "contra safe
houses, training centres, and base camps along the Nicaraguan-
Honduran border."4

3. Walter Lafeber, Inevitable Revolutions (New York, 1989), p.
309

4. Michael Klare (ed), Low Intensity Warfare (New York, 1983).

EXAMPLE #4

Close Paraphrasing

Students anxious about committing plagiarism often ask: "How
much do I have to change a sentence to be sure I’m not
plagiarizing?" A simple answer to this is: If you have to ask,
you’re probably plagiarizing.

This is important. Avoiding plagiarism is not an exercise in
inventive paraphrasing. There is no magic number of words that
you can add or change to make a passage your own. Original work
demands original thought and organization of thoughts. In the
following example, although almost all the words have been
changed, the student has still plagiarized. An acceptable use of
this material is also provided below.

Original

Shortly after the two rogues, who pass themselves off as a duke
and a king, invade the raft of Huck and Jim, they decide to
raise funds by performing scenes from Shakespeare’s Romeo and
Juliet and Richard III. That the presentation of Shakespeare in
small Mississippi towns could be conceived of as potentially
lucrative tells us much about the position of Shakespeare in the
nineteenth century. (Lawrence Levine, Highbrow, Lowbrow: The
Emergence of a Cultural Hierarchy in America (Cambridge, 1986),
p. 10)

Plagiarized Version
Soon after the two thieves, who pretend they are a king and a
duke, capture Huck and Jim’s raft, they try to make money by
putting on two Shakespeare plays (Romeo and Juliet and Richard
III). Because the production of Shakespeare in tiny Southern
towns is seen as possibly profitable, we learn a lot about the
status of Shakespeare before the twentieth century.

Acceptable Version
As Lawrence Levine argues, casual references to Shakespeare in
popular nineteenth century literature suggests that the
identification of "highbrow" theatre is a relatively recent
phenomenon.5

Note that this version does not merely rephrase or repeat the
material from the passage cited above, but expands upon it and
places it in the context of the student’s work.

EXAMPLE #5

Varieties of Footnotes

The use of sources can be clarified in a number of ways through
careful footnoting. Consider the different forms of
documentation and acknowledgement in the following:

With the election of Ronald Regan, covert operations in Latin
America escalated rapidly.6 "The influx of American funds,"
notes Peter Kornbluh, determined "the frequency and
destructiveness of contra attachs."7 In the early 1980s, the
Regan Administration increasingly used Honduras as a base for
the contra war. The Administration set up a number of military
and training facilities--some American, some contra, and some
housing Argengine mercenaries--along the border between
Nicaragua and Honduras. "[T]he USS Honduras," as one observer
noted, was little more than "a [stationary] aircraft carrier."8
These strategies seemed to represent both a conscious
acceleration of American involvement in the region, and the
inertia of past involvements and failures.9

6. The following paragraph is drawn from Walter Lafeber,
Inevitable Revolutions (New York, 1989), p. 307-310; and Peter
Kornbluh, "Nicaragua," in Michael Klare (ed), Low Intensity
Warfare (New York, 1983), pp. 139-149.

Note: FOOTNOTE 6 provides general background sources.

7. Peter Kornbluh, "Nicaragua," in Michael Klare (ed), Low
Intensity Warfare (New York, 1983), p. 139.

Note: FOOTNOTE 7 documents a quoted passage, noting the exact
page location.

8. Observer quoted in Walter Lafeber, Inevitable Revolutions
(New York, 1989), p. 309.

Note: FOOTNOTE 8 documents a secondary quotation.

9. Peter Kornbluh, "Nicaragua," in Michael Klare (ed), Low
Intensity Warfare (New York, 1983), stresses the renewal of
counterinsurgency under Reagan; Walter Lafeber, Inevitable
Revolutions, stresses the ongoing interventionism of the U.S.
(New York, 1989), p. 307-310.

Note: FOOTNOTE 9 distinguishes your argument from that of your
sources.


Prepared by:

Dr. Colin H. Gordon
(Department of History, UBC)

Professor Peter Simmons
(President’s Advisory Committee on Student Discipline, UBC)

Dr. Graeme Wynn
(Associate Dean of Arts, UBC)

The Faculty of Arts
The University of British Columbia

http://www.zoology.ubc.ca/bpg/plagiarism.htm

https://web.archive.org/web/20050714033232/http://www.zoology.ub
c.ca/bpg/plagiarism.htm


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