Plagiarism can be defined as the act of representing another person’s intellectual property as belonging to oneself (Walden University, n.d.a). Avoiding plagiarism is mandatory for academic integrity (Laureate Education, 2012), but it may be difficult because plagiarism is not always done on purpose. The present paper will consider the case of John, who unwittingly plagiarizes. In order to avoid such situations in the future, he needs to study the topic.
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The first scenario describes the story of John. John did not have much time to complete his assignment, which is why he decided to copy some text from an online article. The scenario states that he included the author’s name in the reference, but it is not clear if he used quotation marks. According to the task, John believed that he credited the author correctly.
It is not clear if John used the quotation marks, but since they are not mentioned, it can be assumed that he did not. Moreover, John is not reported to have used in-text citations, which implies that he might have failed to credit the author: he did not mark the quoted materials as belonging to another person. If John did not use quotation marks and in-text citations, the scenario undoubtedly describes plagiarism in accordance with the definitions offered by the American Psychological Association (2010), Laureate Education (2012), and Walden University (n.d.a). Quoting too much information is also a questionable practice (Laureate Education, 2016), but John’s work contains plagiarism specifically because he failed to credit the author and presented another’s work as his own.
Furthermore, the statement that is used in the scenario to describe John’s approach to crediting authors does not make it clear that he uses correct referencing. Including the name of the author in the references is not enough. John needs to follow the rules of the American Psychological Association (2010) and introduce the name of the author, year, title, and relevant publication information. Sources must be documented correctly to avoid plagiarism (Laureate Education, 2016). Thus, several mistakes make John’s use of another author’s materials questionable from the point of view of academic integrity.
Proposed Strategy for Improvement
The scenario identifies a key problem: John is described as believing that he credited the author correctly. In other words, John does not fully understand what plagiarism is, and the main strategy for improvement would consist of rectifying the problem. Additional strategies (for instance, time management) could also help, but it appears that the main reason for the described predicament is confusion and inexperience. Therefore, John should review the topic using appropriate sources.
The manual by American Psychological Association (2010) can assist John in learning about plagiarism, and the materials of Walden University (n.d.a) and Laureate Education (2012) can help him to understand the rules better. Also, John could benefit from studying the appropriate approaches to paraphrasing offered by the Academic Resources and Williams College Libraries (n.d.) because he will need to avoid quoting too much information. Furthermore, the description of the APA style by the American Psychological Association (2010) should also be reviewed to ensure that John uses appropriate referencing. Additional materials like that by Walden University (n.d.b) can also help in this regard.
In summary, John’s case seems to exemplify some practices that are not appropriate from the perspective of academic integrity, including direct plagiarism. He needs to avoid integrating too much material from another author’s work, and he must quote and reference the text that he uses appropriately. To achieve this outcome, he should study relevant sources and understand the topics of plagiarism and paraphrasing; also, he could benefit from reviewing the rules of referencing.
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Academic Resources and Williams College Libraries. (n.d.). Tips on paraphrasing. Web.
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Laureate Education. (2012). Introduction to scholarly writing: Plagiarism and academic integrity [Video file]. Web.
Laureate Education. (2016). Introduction to scholarly writing: Plagiarism and academic integrity [Study notes]. Web.
Walden University. (n.d.a). ASC success strategies: Plagiarism. Web.
Walden University. (n.d.b). Reference list: Common reference list examples. Web.