For my GIPA students What appears below is a section from a guide to writing papers that I developed for my students

in Baku five years ago. I give some examples of plagiarism as well as examples of how to avoid it: Plagiarism Plagiarism means writing something in a paper that was actually written by someone else and representing it as your own work. This can be a problem in undergraduate papers. Don’t cut and paste someone else’s work into your paper without attributing it. “Attributing” means that you tell the reader that it’s someone else’s work or someone else’s hypothesis or argument. You can do this in a couple of ways: 1) Say it in the text. You could do this by saying something like, “Sakimoto’s thesis is that the Japanese poetry was polluted by contact with the west after the late Meiji period.” This is a more honest approach than saying, “Japanese poetry was polluted by contact with the west after the late Meiji period” as though you were the first person to come up with this idea. (Be sure you footnote the reference to Sakimoto.) 2) Or you could just say something like, “One view is that Japanese poetry was polluted by contact with the west after the late Meiji period.”1 Then footnote it and include a reference to Sakimoto. (See the actual footnote above and the citation below.) The worst thing you can do is to use a quote (such as by Sakimoto above) from another author in your paper without quotation marks and without an attribution. For instance, let’s pretend that Sakimoto said this in his work: By the late Meiji, Japanese poets who lived outside the monastery system had been exposed to the works of French and German poets such as Rimbaud and Rilke. The result was an outgrowth of poetry that, while creative and energetic, was decidedly alien. Now let’s pretend that a student said this in her paper: By the late Meiji, Japanese poets who lived outside the monastery system had been exposed to the works of French and German poets. The result was an outgrowth of poetry that was decidedly alien. Note that the new sentences are slightly different. A few words here and there have been deleted. Does this make the sentences acceptable? No. This is plagiarism. The student here has tried to trick the professor by slightly re-wording Sakimoto’s work. But there are two problems: 1) it’s still Sakimoto’s work, and 2) the student hasn’t shown that she has learned anything at all from Sakimoto’s work except how to alter, cut, and paste it
1

Kenji Sakimoto, “How Basho Met Celine: Trends in the Poetry of the Late Meiji,” Review of Asian Poetry, vol xi, no. 4 (June, 1999), pages 22-31.

into her paper. If you plagiarize, the result will be a failing grade for your paper! You have been warned! You may be thinking, “But how can I say anything interesting about X (the Georgia-Russia War or the Israeli West Bank settlements or globalization) without plagiarizing? I’m not a professional historian!” It’s true that almost all observations are in part based on the work of others. But in reading others’ work, you can use it to bolster your own view (which may agree with someone else’s work) or to form a synthesis, which is some original view of your own. And that is what real learning in the social sciences and humanities is all about. You may also be thinking, “I can plagiarize and Professor Rahder will never know!” Let me tell you something: I’ll know!

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