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Avoiding Plagiarism

Avoiding Plagiarism - Intentional & Unintentional Plagiarism

This is the second of seven video modules in Langara Library's Avoiding Plagiarism Tutorial. Plagiarism is not always intentional; oftentimes, students plagiarize without even knowing they've done so. Don't let this happen to you!

This module uses concrete examples to illustrate the differences between intentional and unintentional plagiarism. It also includes interviews with Langara instructors about instances of plagiarism they've encountered in their teaching. In subsequent modules, we'll look at how to avoid unintentional plagiarism as you write your paper.

Video Transcript:

Narrator: Now, let's discuss intentional and unintentional plagiarism. Plagiarism doesn't always happen on purpose. It can be intentional or unintentional. In both cases, there are consequences. It's not a defense to say you didn't know you were committing plagiarism. It's up to you to know how to avoid plagiarism. In this tutorial, we'll show you how. When we think a plagiarism we often think of: buying, stealing, or borrowing a paper, downloading a paper off the Internet, reusing part or all of a paper you prepared for another class, or cutting and pasting directly from a source without quotation marks or a proper citation. These are examples of intentional plagiarism. Remember, it's your responsibility not to share your assignments with others you feel might copy them. Here's a story from a Langara instructor from when he had to deal with a case intentional plagiarism.

History Instructor: There was one in particular that kind of stands out. The introduction of the essay, it looked like original work. It was consistent with the kind of work the student have done in the past. But when I went into the body paragraphs I noticed a real difference in terms of the use of specialized academic language. And upon Googling it, I discovered that actually almost the entire body the essay had been lifted verbatim from an abstract for a PhD thesis dissertation that was online. I confronted the student with the fact that I realize that their their paper had been plagiarized. When they denied it, I simply took out a copy of the abstract and showed it to them. And at that time I gave the student a zero on the assignment. Which is arguably a kind thing to do.

Narrator: However, unintentional plagiarism is much more common than intentional plagiarism. Unintentional plagiarism includes: failing to use quotation marks or properly cite your source, changing a few words and then thinking no citation is needed, or misunderstanding what constitutes common knowledge. In our next video, we'll look more closely at common knowledge.