Friday 8 January 2010

Plagiarism: Making notes from papers during your research

When writing essays you will read many papers and make lots of notes. During this process, you have to be careful as there is the danger that you can accidentally copy material from a paper to your notes, and then from your notes to your final write-up, and therefore plagiarise....

When you are making notes from a paper for your own personal use there is no problem in copying from the paper to your notebook, word-for-word. At least that way you know you have the information correct...

However, when you return to your notes some days, or weeks, later you may have forgotten you have copied word-for-word from the paper and think your notes are all your own work and hence can be used directly in your write-up. The result is, you plagiarise.

When you make your notes mark the notes that are 'word-for-word' in a way so that you know they are copied, so you don't inadvertently use them in your final write-up. Put the notes in inverted commas, or underline them. Do something to make them stand out and help you remember that they are copied and therefore can't be used directly in your final work.

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