In earlier articles we offered tips to avoid trouble with online plagiarism software. These included: planning ahead, capturing references, quoting confidently, both accurately and with complete quotation marks, and citing everything disputable. Herewith, more ways to avoid any appearance of inappropriate use of another’s ideas, and to steer clear of being flagged by online plagiarism software.
Re-state, word by word to keep clear of online plagiarism software!
- Even if bereft of original ideas, re-read the relevant source material. You must own these texts to understand them fully. This is a great way to avoid the need for copying and running afoul of online plagiarism software.
- Restate, in writing, each important word. You know what the important words are; not little words like “the”. These are what online plagiarism software seeks.
- Find a synonymous wording for each idea in the passage, to steer clear of online plagiarism software.
- Restructure the passage so you don’t trigger online plagiarism software.
This exercise reveals the author’s meaning. This is an important learning process in and of itself. The most basic online plagiarism software still has difficulty in picking up thorough re-wordings. However, online plagiarism software is constantly evolving in analytical strength.
Respond to a text phrase-by-phrase to avoid triggering online plagiarism software!
- Take apart a passage. Type each sentence, or phrase (in quotation marks) into your text. Then type your response to it. It may well be that you have no bleeping idea what the author means. Per the inimitable, late, humorist Douglas Adams, “Don’t Panic”. This is ok. There is a scholarly way to express disagreement and complete bafflement (and not get dinged by online plagiarism software)!
- Locate analyses or critiques of complex texts. Almost every prestigious reading has them. Cite these too, to avoid online plagiarism software generating nasty-grams, unless restricted to specified readings. In that case, use such secondary analyses as guideposts.
Here are polite descriptions of a passage thick as pea soup, but less palatable:
- You believe, or infer that the author means….
- This passage suggests …..
- is convoluted,
- or tortuous.
- The author is opaque
- Offer several interpretations, and nominate the likeliest.
- Further study of this author is needed.
- You yourself need more study of this topic (but be careful, or this WILL be your topic next semester!).
Be consistent! Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes one author really nails the topic. This happens with the great minds of history. (Imagine trying to re-state “Give me liberty, or give me death”!)
In this case, re-word, and attribute the other author’s material (see above), but also make your whole text consistent. Stylistic inconsistency is a red flag indicating plagiarism. This could prompt the application of online plagiarism software, especially in freshman writing classes, according to Susan Barr Toman, (author of When Love Was Clean Socks, formerly adjunct professor at Chestnut Hill College).
A silly example:
There has arisen a paradigm shift around the problematical issue of animal cruelty, which means that, we are less willing now to hurt bunnies. This makes the reader wonder. Perhaps they may decide to run your paper through online plagiarism software even if that is not their usual practice.
Read aloud to others!
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