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Holy Spirit Library Citation Guide: Avoiding Plagiarism

Summaries of APA, MLA, and University of Chicago style guides for in-text and bibliographic citations.

Can I Change the Words or Music?

A very short play in one act by David Lindsay-Abaire, co-creator of Shrek, The Musical.

Guides for Paraphrasing, Quoting, and Summarizing

Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)

If you are not a San Diego State University student, you do not need to fill in the identifying information to use its Paraphrasing Tutorial and Exercises.

This video from Queensland (Australia) University of Technology shows you How to Paraphrase... and how to paraphrase WELL.

Cabrini University Policy on Plagiarism and Academic Honesty

Cabrini University community members are responsible for knowing the University's policies and procedures regarding Academic Honesty.

What is plagiarism?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of "plagiarize" is "to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own :  use (another's production) without crediting the source; to commit literary theft: present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.... Plagiarize (and plagiarism) comes from the Latin plagiarius 'kidnapper.'"

Any time you use someone else's ideas and fail to give them credit, you are committing plagiarism.  Using another's ideas is the cornerstone of the idea of scholarship as a conversation, so it is permitted and even encouraged as long as the original source of the idea is credited.

Avoiding Plagiarism using Quotation, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

Consider the following excerpt from Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkstein's book They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing (2nd ed., Norton, 2010, p. 97):

The best way to answer such questions about the larger consequences of your claims is to appeal to something that your audience already figures to care about.  Whereas the "who cares?" question asks you to identify an interested person or group, the "so what?" question asks you to link your argument to some larger matter that readers already deem important.  Thus in analyzing Huckleberry Finn, a writer could argue that seemingly narrow disputes about the hero's relationship with Jim actually shed light on whether Twain's canonical, widely read novel is a critique of racism in America or is itself marred by it.

The above passage is a lengthy quote from the book.  It is verbatim the way it appeared on page 97 of the 2nd edition.  Since it is so long, it is indented.  If you wish to quote a smaller portion in your writing, you need to put the quote in quotation marks:

Literary criticism of Huckleberry Finn is important because "seemingly narrow disputes about the hero's relationship with Jim actually shed light on whether Twain's... novel is a critique of racism in America or is itself marred by it" (Graff and Birkstein 97).

If you choose to use an idea from that paragraph, but put the idea in your own words, you are paraphrasing.

An effective way for a writer to engage a reader in the argument of an essay is to frame it in a perspective that the writer knows is of interest to the reader. (Graff and Birkstein 97)

If you want to present the gist of the entire paragraph (or an entire section or even work) to your reader, then you need to summarize.

The writer needs to go beyond "who cares?" to answer "so what?"  Why should the reader care about Jim and Huck's relationship in Huckleberry Finn?  What does it mean for the reader's life and culture? (Graff and Birkstein 97)