When you plagiarize, you take somebody else’s work – without giving them credit for it and properly integrating it into your work. This can happen intentionally or unintentionally, when you – for example – forget to quote a source that you have used.
Plagiarizing can have severe consequences; for example, your research can become invalid. To take somebody else’s research and to claim that it is your own means pretending you are the Giant, while in reality you are just standing on his or her shoulders. In the worst cases, it can be counted as attempted cheating.
What can we do against plagiarizing?
- Take notes.
If you note down all your sources, if you are sure at the end where you got the information from, you are on the first step towards something original.
In order not to sound as if you’ve copy-pasted your content straight from one source into your notebook, select what is relevant for your questions first. Then take out the most meaningful passages and paraphrase them.
3. Direct quotations
If there is one passage from a text that is so dense with information or that proves to be unique, you might want to direct quote this passage. Don’t forget to give the exact position of this quote, so that your readers or viewers can find this quote themselves!
This technique requires you to master reported, also called indirect speech. Here, you quote one scientist or author with what is said in her or his book as if she or he had said it to you. (If you do not remember the reported speech basics anymore, here’s something helpful!)
Learn how to quote in the next step of our course.