A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Plagiarism is the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work.



Avoiding Plagiarism

Academic writing in American institutions is filled with rules that writers often don’t know how to follow. A working knowledge of these rules, however, is critically important; inadvertent mistakes can lead to charges of plagiarism, or the unacknowledged use of somebody else’s words or ideas. While other cultures may not insist so heavily on documenting sources, American institutions do. A charge of plagiarism can have severe consequences, including expulsion from the university. This handout, which does not reflect any official university policy, is designed to help writers develop strategies for knowing how to avoid accidental plagiarism.

Purdue University (1997). Academic>Writing>Ethics>Plagiarism


Bantamweight Publishing in an Easily Plagiarised World

Bantamweight publishing is popular among those who feel brevity is a virtue. But when an entire work of art is bounded in 140 characters, even brevity has its limits. Sometimes, squeezing in a proper attribution through editing content can change the original meaning, when the edits unwillingly shift from cosmetic to substantive.

Drapeau, Mark. O'Reilly and Associates (2009). Articles>Publishing>Online>Plagiarism


Beyond Plagiarism: Ethical Issues in the Technical Communication Classroom   (link broken)   (PDF)

Recent discussions of ethical issues that relate to technical communicators reflect the rise of interest in this topic. Although some journal articles do look at teaching ethics in the technical communication classroom, most concentrate on ethics in the workplace. Yet, for students to understand current and future ethical issues, we must heighten their awareness of potential problems before they encounter such problems in industry and business situations.

Horowitz, Renee B. STC Proceedings (1994). Articles>Writing>Ethics>Plagiarism


The Challenge of Plagiarism Control in Universities and Colleges  (link broken)   (PDF)

The Challenge of Plagiarism Control in Universities and Colleges discusses the complex issues involved with plagiarism such as defining the term and responding to the act of plagiarism. The paper also includes data detailing who is plagiarizing and why. Finally, the paper addresses university protocol and potential for uniformity in the tracking and response of universities and colleges. The perils of not finding a way to limit or eradicate plagiarism further endanger the authenticity of a college degree.

onur keles. onur keles (2010). Articles>Education>Ethics>Plagiarism


Copyright and Electronic Publishing: Citation

This document focuses on why and how electronic sources must be cited so that students can avoid plagiarism. Because students now routinely use readily available electronic sources for their papers, they must learn how to properly cite them. You will have more complete coverage of plagiarism issues if you use this document in conjunction with the more general Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism, which includes an exercise in how to paraphrase, and The Template for Taking Notes on Research Papers, both of which are found in the Cain Project resources. Do not consider these documents to be legal advice: The author is not an attorney.

conneXions (2008). Articles>Intellectual Property>Ethics>Plagiarism


Digital Plagiarism: The Role of Society and Technology

Examines the application of the World Wide Web in class education and research and the ways in which the Internet has enabled cheating and given educators ways to fight plagiarism.

Kennedy, Ryan. Orange Journal, The (2005). Articles>Publishing>Ethics>Plagiarism


For Sale by "Author": Online Essay Mills and Authorship in the Academy

Authorship as a critical construct has been parsed and debated in scholarly circles for centuries, and yet within the walls of writing classrooms, both students and instructors have for a long time tacitly accepted that there is a right and a wrong way to be an author. In Western cultures, and in the United States in particular, the model for the “right way” indicates adherence to grammatical and structural standards, understanding of genre and modes, and assimilation into some overarching academic discourse. At the same time, however, the “wrong way” includes an individual's copying the words of others, re-creating passages from published authors, and incorporating other too-close-to-the-original content. Complicating these contradictions is the intersection of the writing classroom with digital culture and the internet in particular. Painfully evident at this intersection is the inherent disconnect between how authority is conceived in the composition classroom and how it is conferred in other social spaces.

Roach, Danielle. Xchanges (2011). Articles>Education>Writing>Plagiarism


Inspiration vs. Theft: The Thin Gray Line

Inspiration does not come easy for most, and that includes some of the world's top designers and creative directors. Everyone has experienced what we call 'designer's cramp' (a designer's version of 'writer's block') at some time or another. There have been numerous articles about the problem and a ton of suggestions. Some of them work, but many fail miserably. Lance Arthur recently wrote an article in A List Apart called 'Creative Notions,' which is one of the best I've seen in a long time about the sketchy subject. Coincidentally, Lance is perhaps one of the most widely known designers on the web today, and therefore suffers from a great deal of plagiarism. When asked about this, he says, 'A dubious distinction, surely. I think having a somewhat higher profile than other personal sites contributes to my reign under this title.'1 Why is that? I believe because he is a creative person whose designs are original and inspirational. However, as long as web browsers come with the 'view source' button, plagiarism

Finck, Nick. Digital Web Magazine (1999). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Plagiarism


Literature Reviews in Student Project Reports  (link broken)   (PDF)   (members only)

Writing project reports is an important part of the engineering curriculum at Singapore universities. One important section of the formal report is the literature review. Most universities around the world provide guidelines on writing reviews, emphasizing that plagiarism is unethical. However, these guidelines do not offer explicit training on how to avoid plagiarism. In order to write academically acceptable reviews while avoiding copying from source materials, students face a major challenge and resort to employing various strategies to cope with the task. In this study, we examined the literature review sections of final year project reports to find out how engineering undergraduates in a Singapore university cope with writing reviews and to suggest ways in which they can extend their skills to improve their literature reviews.

Krishnan, Lakshmy A. and Sujata S. Kathpalia. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication (2002). Academic>Education>Writing>Plagiarism


Nowhere to Hide   (PDF)

To catch a thief, use the Web to track down plagiarism.

Fleishman, Glenn. Adobe Magazine (1999). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Plagiarism



Plagiarism is defined in the Ohio University Student Handbook as 'presenting the ideas or writing of someone else as one's own'. It is a form of academic misconduct. Even if you change a few words of someone else's sentence, it is still plagiarism if the same idea is presented in essentially the same style. Plagiarism by students is often unintentional, but still unacceptable.

Young, V.L. and K.J. Sampson. Ohio University (2004). Articles>Writing>Ethics>Plagiarism


Plagiarism: A Misplaced Emphasis  (link broken)

Plagiarism is conventionally seen as a serious breach of scholarly ethics, being a theft of credit for ideas in a competitive intellectual marketplace. This emphasis overlooks the vast amount of institutionalized plagiarism, including ghostwriting and attribution of authorship to bureaucratic elites. There is a case for reducing the stigma for competitive plagiarism while exposing and challenging the institutionalized varieties.

Martin, Brian. University of Wollongong (1994). Articles>Writing>Ethics>Plagiarism


Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism

Avoiding plagiarism is an increasingly important requirement for student writing. This document therefore defines plagiarism, both intentional and accidental; gives the imperatives for avoiding it; shows citation examples; and demonstrates how paraphrase can replace plagiarism by means of an interactive exercise. Coverage of the plagiarism issues will be more complete if you use this document in conjunction with Copyright and Electronic Publishing: Citation and with the Template for Taking Notes on Research Articles, both found in the Cain Project resources.

conneXions (2008). Articles>Intellectual Property>Ethics>Plagiarism


Rethinking Plagiarism for Technical Communication   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article proposes that technical and professional communication instructors reconsider the treatment of the concept of plagiarism in current curriculum. I begin by examining existing approaches to teaching technical communication students about plagiarism and explaining the need for rethinking plagiarism in light of contemporary technical communication practices. The second section suggests several preliminary steps for addressing these issues, including revisions to plagiarism policies, classroom practices, and the treatment of plagiarism in textbooks. I conclude with a call for increased industry-academic dialog on the dissonance between the treatment of plagiarism in the classroom and in workplace practices.

Reyman, Jessica. Technical Communication Online (2008). Articles>Education>TC>Plagiarism


Teaching about Plagiarism in the Age of the Internet   (members only)

Things have changed since I began teaching research writing ten years ago. I used to require students to use at least one electronic source; now, I require that students use at least one paper source. Students used to start their search at the card catalog; now they log onto the Internet. Of course, the change has been gradual, but I have begun to ask what this shift from paper to electronic sources means to academic integrity.

Klausman, Jeffrey. NCTE TETYC (1999). Articles>Education>Writing>Plagiarism


Using Modern Language Association (MLA) Format

Modern Language Association (MLA) format provides writers with a system for cross-referencing their sources--from their parenthetical references to their works cited page. This cross-referencing system allows readers to locate the publication information of source material. This is of great value for researchers who may want to locate your sources for their own research projects. The proper use of MLA style also shows the credibility of writers; such writers show accountability to their source material. Most importantly, the use of MLA style can protect writers from accusations of plagiarism--the purposeful or accidental use of source material by other writers without giving appropriate credit.

Purdue University. Reference>Style Guides>Writing>Plagiarism

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