Goodbye Plagiarism, Hello Proper Citation

Now that we are focusing on secondary research for our capstone projects in class, attention to reputable sources and the potential for plagiarism is a hot topic. For class, we read an article entitled “Sandra Jamieson and Rebecca Moore Howard: Unraveling the Citation Trail” which is an interview with Jamieson and Moore about a study they conducted on student essays in regards to plagiarism and paraphrasing. Some of their findings were astounding, but there are definitely a few valuable pieces of advice that can be taken away from the interview:


“We felt—based on our classroom experience!—that what underlay much of what was being interpreted as plagiarism was not based in students’ ethical choices, but rather in their practices and skills in source-based writing.”

I think that this is an extremely valid observation. I know that some cases of plagiarism have been completely unintentional and a result of a lack of proper paraphrasing techniques. As students, we are told that proof strengthens your argument, but I think that some students take that too literally and re-word sources rather than use them as a guide and building off of that to form their own ideas.


“. . . instructors and librarians should teach, at every opportunity, methods of good source selection. This has to start not with ‘a journal is better than a Website’ but with ‘here’s how you identify the bibliographic elements of a text.’”

This is exactly what my instructor has been doing for us since we started our secondary research search. By having and instructor that is willing to work with the students to find the best sources, that instructor is doing his/her job correctly. I know that by being taught this, my research has been better guided for my capstone paper and I have been able to find reputable sources that can only enrich my argument more than it already is.


Until next time.


explore. muse. create.



Check out the article here!

“Unraveling the Citation Trail,” Project Information Literacy Smart Talk, no. 8, Sandra Jamieson and Rebecca Moore Howard, The Citation Project, August 15, 2011.

(Citation courtesy of Project Information Literacy)


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