Practicing Plagiarism

by Professor Mira Debs (who adopted this exercise fromJack Dougherty who adopted it from Professor Zayde Antrim, who adopted it from Professor Kathleen Archer, and so on. . . )

Objective: In order to avoid plagiarism, one must first learn how to plagiarize, and then how to paraphrase properly. This exercise requires students to demonstrate the differences in five steps.

Read the “Plagiarism” section of the Wesleyan Student Handbook which give examples of how a student can plagiarize using different forms of poor paraphrasing (mosaic, paraphrase of small phrases and the uncited use of “apt phrase”)

Compare the examples of improper paraphrasing (which follows the structure of the original source too closely, regardless of a citation) versus proper paraphrasing (which restates the original source in one’s own diction and style, with a citation).

Write responses to each of the five steps listed below, based on this original text. Copy and paste any content into your computer, and then include it as part of your class memo assignment

Original text: “Race and income are closely correlated.  As a result, racial segregation concentrates students of color in very-high-poverty schools…Despite the massive displacement that Hurricane Katrina caused in 2005, the racial demographics of the New Orleans metropolitan area in 2009 (2009-2009 school year) looked only slightly different from those of 2004 (2003-2004 school year).  The non-white share of students in the region was 65 percent in 2004 and 61 percent in 2009.  Most schools in the city had shares of students of color greater than 90 percent in both years.”

Source: Gumus-Dawes, Baris, Thomas Luce, and Myron Orfield. 2013. “The State of Public Schools in Post-Katrina New Orleans.” in Educational Delusions? Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair, edited by Gary Orfield and Erica Frankenberg. Berkeley: University of California Press, 160.

Step 1: Plagiarize any portion of the original text by copying portions of it word-for-word.

Step 2: Plagiarize any portion of the original text by paraphrasing its structure too closely (what Wesleyan’s handbook calls “the mosaic”, without copying it word-for-word.

Step 3: Plagiarize any portion of the original text by paraphrasing its structure too closely and citing an “apt phrase”, with a citation the original source (using any academic citation style). Remember, even if you include a citation, paraphrasing too closely is still plagiarism.

Step 4: Correctly paraphrase any portion of the original text by restating the author’s ideas in your own diction and style, and include a citation to the original source.

Step 5: Correctly paraphrase any portion of the original text by restating the author’s ideas in your own diction and style, supplemented with a direct quotation of a key phrase, and include a citation to the original source.

Clearly label each of your five responses in your new document. You may use any academic citation style for this assignment (such as ASA, or Chicago-style full notes, or MLA/APA in-line citations with a bibliography). Remember to include a full reference to the source in the appropriate place in your document.

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