Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Examples and Cases of Plagiarism

The following examples and cases are presented in various stylistic formats (APA, MLA, etc.) for purposes of providing context. The emphasis is on illustrating the correct vs. incorrect use of paraphrase or quotation rather than on the precision of the stylistic format.

  1. Cowley, Geoffrey. "Getting the Lead Out." Newsweek 17 February 2003: 54-56.

    Excerpt from original, page 54: Childhood lead poisoning has declined steadily since the 1970s, when cars stopped spewing leaded exhaust into the environment and lead paint was formally banned. Yet 40 percent of the nation's homes still contain lead paint from the first half of the 20th century, and 25 percent still pose significant health hazards.

    Paraphrase (CORRECT): Even though, according to Cowley, there has been a decline in lead poisoning in children since 1970, dangers remain. Twenty-five percent of American homes still could cause health problems from lead exposure (54).

    Direct quotation (CORRECT): Cowley points out that declining lead levels since 1970 are no reason for optimism: "40 percent of the nations homes still contain lead paint from the first half of the 20th century, and 25 percent still pose significant health hazards" (54).

    Paraphrase (INCORRECT*): Lead poisoning in children has been in decline since 1970 because cars stopped using leaded gas, and lead paint was no longer allowed; still, 40 percent of American homes still contain lead and 25 percent are still dangerous (Cowley 54).

    *Explanation: This is plagiarism because the paraphrase is too similar to the original in sentence structure and word choice; note how the "correct" paraphrase uses statistics and information from the original but does so in a more original manner.

  2. Dickey, Christopher. "The Banality of Fear." Newsweek. 10 March 2003: 34-36.

    Excerpt from original, page 35: The Bush administration is pulling together a computerized database with the names of hundreds of Iraq's civilian and military officials. Both the Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA have "teams of leadership analysts" who follow the careers of important figures. In consultation with the State Department and the Justice Department, the pentagon is trying to determine which Iraqis might be put on trial for war crimes; which might be sympathetic to the American mission or even collaborate with an invasion, and which are, perhaps not, certifiable villains, but not trustworthy allies either. The last category is certainly the largest.

    Direct quotation (CORRECT): The U.S. government faces an immense task in "trying to determine which Iraqis might be put on trial for war crimes; which might be sympathetic to the American mission or even collaborate with an invasion, and which are, perhaps not, certifiable villains, but not trustworthy allies either" (Dickey 35).

    Paraphrase (CORRECT): Through the use of electronic databases, U. S. government agencies are working together to ascertain who among the Iraqi citizenry might actually welcome a military intervention in their country, and therefore work to support it, and who is not to be trusted (Dickey 35).

    Quotation (INCORRECT*): The CIA has "teams of leadership analysts" to follow the careers of important figures (Dickey 35).

    *Explanation: There are two problems with this quotation. First, the phrase quoted is a quotation within the source material; it is a quotation within a quotation. The author of the source material does not attribute the quotation to a person, but it is clear he is quoting someone, which leads to the second problem. The way the writer uses the source, the reader is erroneously led to believe these were Dickey's words. The example that follows represents one way to correct this problem.

    Quotation (CORRECT): There are ways we can find war criminals. For example, Dickey reports that: "The Bush administration is pulling together a computerized database with the names of hundreds of Iraq's civilian and military officials. Both the Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA have 'teams of leadership analysts' who follow the careers of important figures" (35).

  3. Barker, Michael, et al. "School-Age Lung Function and Exercise Capacity in Former Very Low Birth Weight Infants." Pediatric: Exercise Science 15.1 (2003): 44-66.

    Excerpt from original, page 44: Survivors of BPD [bronchiopulmonary dysplasia] suffer from an increased incidence of respiratory infections, cough, and wheeze in their first decade. Follow-up studies described mild abnormalities of pulmonary function with airway obstruction, hyperinflation, and bronchial hyperactivity in children born and treated in the 1980s and the early 1990s.

    Direct quotation (CORRECT): Research shows that children who survive BPD may suffer long-term effects such as "mild abnormalities of pulmonary function with airway obstruction, hyperinflation, and bronchial hyperactivity" (Barker, et al. 44).

    Paraphrase (CORRECT): Research that followed children who survive BPD over the last two decades showed they tend to experience a higher number of respiratory illnesses in their first ten years of life and that they suffered from slight respiratory irregularities (Barker, et al. 44).

    Plagiarized version (INCORRECT*): Research shows that children who survive BPD may suffer long-term effects such as mild abnormalities of pulmonary function with airway obstruction, hyperinflation, and bronchial hyperactivity (Barker, et al. 44).

    *Explanation: The writer cites the source, but neglects to use quotation marks inferring that the sentence is a summary or a paraphrase; it is neither since starting with the word "mild" and continuing to the end of the sentence it is lifted directly from the original source material.

  4. Spencer, Peter. Marketing to Kids. Consumers' Research Magazine 2000 Oct. 83: 6. In: Business Source Premier [database on the Internet]. EBSCO; [cited 9 April 2003]. [about 700 words]. Available from:http://search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=3738823&db=buh.

    Excerpt from original, paragraph 1: Entertainment companies routinely advertise to children under 17 violent entertainment products the companies' own rating systems deem unsuitable for children in this age group, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported in a study released in September.

    Direct quotation (CORRECT): Consumers' Research Magazine (1) reports that the FTC released a study in September of 2002 which found that "[e]ntertainment companies routinely advertise to children under 17 violent entertainment products the companies' own rating systems deem unsuitable for children in this age group."

    Paraphrase (CORRECT): The entertainment industry does not follow its own advice; they commonly market products to young children which their own ratings systems would rate as inappropriate for them (1).

    Plagiarized version (INCORRECT*): The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported in a study released in September that entertainment companies routinely market their products to children when their own ratings systems deem them unsuitable for children in this age group.

    *Explanation: The writer is referring to a specific government report he or she read about in a magazine so the source must be cited. Also, though a few words were changed, this attempt at a paraphrase is too close to the original; several exact phrases from the original should be surrounded by quotation marks.

  5. Black, S. (2003). Harry Potter: a magical prescription for just about anyone [Electronic version]. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 46.7, 540-45. (This is the citation for the entire article, if only the electronic version was viewed and it is believed that it does not read differently from the original print version.)

    If, however, you suspect that the electronic version reflects changes from the original print version, then the citation would read:

    Black, S. (2003). Harry Potter: a magical prescription for just about anyone. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 46.7, 540-45. Retrieved April 15, 2003, from Academic Search Premier database.

    Excerpt from original, page 62: Is it good to get so imaginatively involved with magic--at age 8 or 48? Some parents and fundamentalist religious groups have denounced the Harry Potter books, claiming that they will make children want to become wizards and witches--that author J.K. Rowling must be a witch herself. Rowling has responded that she is not a witch, has no desire to become one, and has never heard of a child wanting to be a witch after reading her books. Children can tell the difference between imagination and reality, Rowling explained (cited in Schafer, 2000). The Uses of Enchantment, by psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim, is a classic in the area of children's responses to fantasy. Bettelheim affirmed that a child understands instinctively that fantasies "speak to him in the language of symbols and not that of everyday reality."

    Direct quotation (CORRECT): J. K. Rowling's answer to cries that her Harry Potter series will attract children to witchcraft is straightforward: "[S]he is not a witch, has no desire to become one, and has never heard of a child wanting to be a witch after reading her books." Rowling adds that "[c]hildren can tell the difference between imagination and reality" (qtd. in Black 2003, p. 540).

    Paraphrase (CORRECT): Children are unlikely to be lured by the Harry Potter books into the practice of wizardry, according to J. K. Rowling, the series author (Black 2003, p. 540).

    Plagiarized version (INCORRECT*): J. K. Rowling's answer to cries that her Harry Potter series will attract children to witchcraft is straightforward. Rowling says that she is not a witch, has no desire to become one, and has never heard of a child wanting to be a witch after reading her books. Children can tell the difference between imagination and reality (Black 2003, p. 540).

    *Explanation: This student appears to have begun a paraphrase, then slipped into quotation, but did not give credit. Black should be credited for the word "straightforward" in the first sentence by the use of quotation marks, and then from the third word on in the second sentence, quotation marks should be used.

    Question:

    Is this the correct way to cite someone cited in another source?

    Psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim claims that children have a basic understanding about the symbolism of fantasy. Children don't need to be told to fantasies and fairy tales "speak to [them] in the language of symbols and not that of everyday reality" (qtd. in Black 2003, p.62).

    Quoted in References were:
    Schafer, E.D. (2000). Exploring Harry Potter. Osprey, FL: Beacham Publishing.
    Bettelheim, B. (1976). The uses of enchantment. New York: Knopf.

  6. Kazemi, Elham. 1998. "Discourse that promotes conceptual understanding." Teaching Children Mathematics Mar 88 Vol 1 Issue 7 pp. 410-15 from Academic Search Premier http://ezproxy.tamu.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.epnet.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,uid&db=aph&an=298732&scope=site.

    Excerpt from original, page 410: This article presents highlights from a study that demonstrates what it means to "press" students to think conceptually about mathematics (Kazemi and Stipek 1997), that is, to require reasoning that justifies procedures rather than statements of the procedures themselves. This study assessed the extent to which twenty-three upper elementary teachers supported learning and understanding during whole-class and small-group discussions. "Press for learning" was measured by the degree to which teachers (1) emphasized students' effort, (2) focused on learning and understanding, (3) supported students' autonomy, and (4) emphasized reasoning more than producing correct answers. Quantitative analyses indicated that the higher the press in the classroom, the more the students learned.

    Direct quotation (CORRECT): A 1997 study by Kazemi and Stipek found that "the higher the press in the classroom, the more the students learned" (Kazemi 1998, p. 410).

    Paraphrase (CORRECT): Kazemi (1998) summarizes a study done with Stipek in 1997 which found that students can be "pressed" by teachers into conceptual reasoning about mathematics in very specific ways and that student learning increases when teachers increase the "press for learning."

    Plagiarized version (INCORRECT*): In 1997, Kazemi and Stipek did a study of how teachers can enhance conceptual learning in mathematics. This study assessed the extent to which twenty-three upper elementary teachers supported learning and understanding during whole-class and small-group discussions. They measured "Press for learning" by the degree to which teachers (1) emphasized students' effort, (2) focused on learning and understanding, (3) supported students' autonomy, and (4) emphasized reasoning more than producing correct answers.

    *Explanation: A large part of this is direct quotation, so therefore, quotation marks should be placed in the appropriate places and the source should be cited parenthetically. The parenthetical citation is required for two reasons: one, the reader needs the page number to find the portion directly quoted, and two, Kazemi wrote the article alone without the benefit of his partner from the study; the audience needs to know from whose perspective they are receiving the information.

    Question:

    Why do you need a page number in the direct quotation but not in the summary?

    Answer:

    The direct quotation is taken directly from page 410, while the summary encapsulates the entire article. Direct quotation (CORRECT): A 1997 study by Kazemi and Stipek found that "the higher the press in the classroom, the more the students learned" (Kazemi 1998, p. 410).

    Paraphrase (CORRECT): Kazemi (1998) summarizes a study done with Stipek in 1997 which found that students can be "pressed" by teachers into conceptual reasoning about mathematics in very specific ways and that student learning increases when teachers increase the "press for learning."


Continue to Part 5: Academic Misconduct