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Using Information Effectively

question_copyright-svgThe quote we just saw seems to be using information effectively, right? Wrong. There’s something very important missing from the quotation. Go back and see if you can figure out what it is. (Hint: This is supposed to be a research paper!)

Citations! Citing sources correctly prevents any misunderstandings about where the information came from. There are tons of ways to cite a resource (APA, MLA, Chicago Style, Harvard Referencing, ACS, Turabian….), so you should always be able to find one that works for you.

What’s the big deal? Plagiarism. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (see how I cited my source so as not to plagiarize?), plagiarism is “the action or practice of taking someone else’s work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one’s own; literary theft.” Notice that this doesn’t even mention taking someone’s words. You can plagiarize without copying a single word, simply by taking someone’s ideas and not attributing them correctly.

Did you know?

In fall of 2011, a spy novel called Assassin of Secrets was published, and then almost immediately pulled from shelves because it was, in the words of Lizzie Widdicombe at The New Yorker, “construct[ed]…almost entirely from other people’s sentences and paragraphs…. A ‘literary mashup.’”