Thursday, February 1, 2007

How to Avoid Plagiarizing

The academic community takes plagiarism very seriously. The reliability of scholarly communication depends on our ability to know where knowledge came from and how it was gotten. Even a little mistake like forgetting to cite a quotation breaks the line back to your sources. Our faculty have access to a service that analyzes papers for signs that they might contain plagiarized content, which discourages intentional plagiarism. It can be unnerving to realize that you can get in trouble for plagiarizing even if you didn't mean to. Here are some ways to make sure that doesn't happen.
  1. Take down all the information you'll need to make citations. Copy the bibliographic information of your source and number it with a Roman numeral. In your notes you can mark each entry with that Roman numeral and the page number.
  2. Copy down statistics exactly and double-check them. If you are going to be using diagrams, charts, graphs, or images, you must duplicate them accurately and cite them.
  3. Double-check quotations and mark them so you won't later mistake them for your own words. Don't over quote. Use quotations for their authority, for examples and illustrations, or if the author has said something in a unique, memorable, or distinctive way.
  4. If something occurs to you while you're reading, or you have your own interpretation or opinion of what your source said, write that down but mark it so you'll be able to distinguish between your thoughts and the ideas of your sources.
  5. Do you have to cite plain facts? If the fact is something that your source discovered or realized, then you should cite it. The general guideline is: if it's something you can find in half a dozen reputable sources, then it's common knowledge and you don't need to cite.
  6. Don't be tempted to work a passage so it says exactly what you want. It's intellectually dishonest to take something out of context and make it say something the author never meant. To make sure you don't do that, know the context of every statement you use, and stay true to it.
Be sure to check out the college's Academic Integrity web site at Your may get a writer's cramp, but you can be confident that the content of your paper purported to be your own is 100% your own solid research.

Create a Link to a Journal Article

You've found your online article and you want to create a link to it in your annotated bibliography or essay. So how do you go about creating a hyperlink that you or your professor can later access it?

In most of the Empire State College Library databases, web addresses (also known as URLs) are generated on the fly for each article when you view them, and these cannot be bookmarked. For most databases, you need to create a PURL (Persistent URL) so that the link will work later. ProQuest and EBSCOhost (shown below) create PURLs for you and the PURL is displayed in the article citation.

EBSCO record showing URL field
Go here for instructions for finding or creating a PURL for each database in our collection:

Once created, you can simply copy and paste that PURL into your bibliography. They give your readers a quick, convenient way to view the sources you mention.

Education Resource Complete

This is a newly acquired EBSCOhost research resource for education and searching is the same as in any other EBSCO resource. Topics covered include all levels of education from early childhood to higher education, and all educational specialties, such as multilingual education, health education, and testing. It provides indexing and abstracts for more than 1,500 journals, as well as full text for more than 750 journals, and includes full text for more than 100 books and monographs, and for numerous education-related conference papers.
Results can be filtered by type of publication or sorted by date, author or relevancy.

Education Research Complete results pageAdditionally, this resource provides a comprehensive education thesaurus that can help you pinpoint proper terminology and help you get more relevant and accurate search results. This feature is accessed from within the green navigation bar near the top of the screen (not shown in the image above).

CollegeSource Online

Working on your Degree Plan? Need to look up information on courses you took at another college? Need to see what degrees or courses are available currently at other educational institutions? Use CollegeSource Online.

This comprehensive college catalog database lets you search or browse by degree, location, name, etc. Once in the database, click on the "Advanced Search" link just below the search box to view the options detailed above.
CollegeSource Online main page
To access this resource, go to the Library home page and click on the "All Research Databases" link in the upper left corner of the page. You will need your college login and password in order to access.