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FYS100T -- Science in Pop Culture -- Fall 2023: Avoiding Plagiarism

Avoiding Plagiarism

When it is time to gather all of your notes and start writing the paper, avoid the most common mistake - plagiarism. Plagiarism is not only taking large parts of someone else's work and not attributing credit to that author; paraphrasing sections of a work, even using synonyms and citing the work, is also plagiarism.

  • Use direct quotations to support the paper's thesis.
  • Rethink and rewrite the author's original idea and express it in a new way.

Even if the ideas are rewritten, the source of the idea must be cited and the author given credit.

For more information about how to avoid plagiarism, see this video at our Research Den.



Why should I cite?

There are several reasons you need to cite your sources:

  • Giving credit to the original authors helps you avoid plagiarism.
  • Citations allow your readers to find your sources and verify that you know what you ar talking about.
  • Citations add credibility to your argument.
  • Citing your sources is expected by your professors as part of standard academic discourse.

Citation Styles

 Online documents make it very easy to cut and paste information without thinking and without giving proper credit. Make sure you understand how to cite your sources. There are a variety of citation styles and tools to help you cite properly. For this class you will be using MLA style.The Online Writing Center at Purdue University (Purdue OWL) is an excellent online resource to help you cite properly. Click here to link to Purdue Owl's section on MLA style. There are also some free tools available to help. See our Citation Tool Guide.


Unconventional Sources

It is possible (and necessary) to cite even non-print sources. Here are some samples taken from the Purdue OWL to show you how to cite TV shows and films.

Films or Movies

List films by their title. Include the name of the director, the film studio or distributor, and the release year. If relevant, list performer names after the director's name.

The Usual Suspects. Directed by Bryan Singer, performances by Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz

Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin, and Benecio del Toro, Polygram, 1995.

To emphasize specific performers or directors, begin the citation with the name of the desired performer or director, followed by the appropriate title for that person.

Lucas, George, director. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Twentieth Century Fox, 1977.

Television Shows

Recorded Television Episodes

Cite recorded television episodes like films (see above). Begin with the episode name in quotation marks. Follow with the series name in italics. When the title of the collection of recordings is different than the original series (e.g., the show Friends is in DVD release under the title Friends: The Complete Sixth Season), list the title that would help researchers to locate the recording. Give the distributor name followed by the date of distribution.

"The One Where Chandler Can't Cry." Friends: The Complete Sixth Season, written by Andrew Reich

and Ted Cohen, directed by Kevin Bright, Warner Brothers, 2004.

Broadcast TV or Radio Program

Begin with the title of the episode in quotation marks. Provide the name of the series or program in italics. Also include the network name, call letters of the station followed by the date of broadcast and city.

"The Blessing Way." The X-Files. Fox, WXIA, Atlanta, 19 Jul. 1998.