“Words, words, words.” As Hamlet and Polonius know in Act II of Hamlet, words can be confusing. When do we need to let our readers know we are using words others have already used? How do we communicate ideas that have already been penned by others? Is changing one or two words from our source enough to make the writing our own? Do I need to give formal credit to Shakespeare in a bibliography or footnote for my opening sentence, or is what I have already written enough?
We have been researching and writing informational texts. This is tough writing! How many original ways are there to say Mount Everest is 29, 029 feet? Is this fact considered general knowledge and therefore safe from attribution?
We are also writing descriptions of family members for our blogs. This is completely original writing, but still difficult to do well. How can we incorporate some original turns of phrase and figures of speech into our prose?
We found some help on this website called www.plagiarism.org. It has a lot of practical information.
We also decided to ask some high schoolers, and some grown-ups, what happens when students plagiarize at their schools? (I have a video, but am having trouble embedding it into the blog. Check back soon to see if I can solve this problem! Here is the audio portion at least. Plagiarism)
Do you have any tips for avoiding plagiarism when writing research papers?