Our resident wordsmith and Account Director, Courtney Enlow Hall, shares her take on one of this week's hottest topics - plagiarism.
As we bid adieu to the Republican National Convention with a big wave and a stiff drink, there is one major issue we should discuss. I mean, there are lots of issues we should discuss, but only one is especially appropriate for this blog. And that, my friends, is plagiarism.
Plagiarism has been in the news quite a bit lately. And we will leave any and all political opinions or biases out of the conversation, directing all questions or concerns regarding said topic to this meme of Kermit the Frog drinking tea. Be you a professional communicator or a potential First Lady, plagiarism is rampant. But it’s also easy to avoid.
Put it in your own words—not just their words in a different order or swapped out with synonyms.
In high school, we all attempted to master the fine art of the thesaurus. “Rewording” something already published does not simply mean changing “nice” to “kind.” It means you must fully comprehend what you’ve read and explain or restate it in your own way, completely. If you can’t do that (because sometimes you’re tasked with having to explain something you generally don’t understand—I know, I used to have to write about vasectomies) then you’ll want to use this next method.
Cite and quote.
This is the easiest way to ensure the message comes across exactly the way you read it in the first place, because you’re literally sharing what you read in the first place. Limit this to only a couple sentences and inform the reader where those sentences came from with a proper attribution. Don’t simply repost an entire article. If the whole article is what you want to share, well…
Just share the article.
Link your readers to the source itself with a brief introduction. You’ll ensure they get the info the need and save yourself from plagiarism. In fact, I’ll do it right now! The Purdue OWL has some great info on how to avoid plagiarism. Check it out.