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Scholarly Research Resources

This guide describes the various services available to students participating on one of Texas Tech's law journals.


It’s bad. Don’t do it. The end. 

To be more specific, plagiarism is using or pulling ideas, language, or any other information from someone else without properly citing or crediting the source. The hard rule is that taking credit for someone else's work is unacceptable whether you do it intentionally or by accident.

Texas Tech University School of Law Honor Code's Plagiarism Policy

  1. Cite sources for all direct quotations;
  2. Cite sources from which language, facts, or ideas have been paraphrased or summarized;
  3. Cite sources for any idea or information that could be regarded as common knowledge, but
    1. was not known to the writer before encountering it in a particular source or
    2. might be unfamiliar to the reader;
  4. Cite sources that add relevant information to the particular topic or argument propounded; and
  5. Cite sources relied upon for authority to support any legal proposition or rule.

There are several forms of plagiarism:

  • Verbatim: copying the exact wording of another, without using quotations. Additionally, improperly citing or not citing quoted material is a form of plagiarism. Know where the words came from and what the author actually said.
  • Mosaic: piecing together words for several sources, or several parts of one source, without adequately citing or referencing the authors. Even using portions of another’s work or ideas and interlaying them with your own language is considered mosaic plagiarism.
  • Inadequate Paraphrasing: not adequately distilling your own original point or idea. This often occurs when you fail to restate an idea of the article in your own words, or use words that are too similar to the authors.
  • Uncited Paraphrasing: using your own language to describe someone else's idea. The idea belongs to the original author, and you need to cite the source, even if you have changed the wording significantly.
  • Misunderstanding the Common Knowledge Exception: you don’t have to cite a fact that is considered common knowledge. However, you must understand the difference between a widely known fact or opinions and a factual idea or interpretation. Some ideas and interpretations can be so widely held that they are common knowledge, but there is a fine line that must be recognized and when in doubt cite the source.

The final take away from all of this is. . . When in doubt, cite your source!

Avoiding Plagiarism

These steps can help you avoid plagiarism:

  • Keep track of your sources during the entire research process.

  • Avoid coping and pasting information; correctly cite any information you plan on using.

  • Separate the resources you use from the writing, notes, and drafts you produce.

  • Don’t wait to properly cite your resources, continually update your sources using proper formatting.

  • Don’t short cite notes or drafts, use full cites until your final copy is turned in.

  • Keep a separate source document that includes the pertinent information and a summary of how each source is helpful (an Excel spreadsheet is great for this).

  • Give yourself time to research; the research process is time consuming and you are more likely to accidentally plagiarize if you are pressed for time.

Detecting Plagiarism

Plagiarism issues go beyond just your own work and writing. As a journal member, you are in charge of detecting possible plagiarism and ensuring your Journal’s reputation is upheld. When editing a paper for grammatical errors and flow, pay close attention to the author's language and the sources. Remember, plagiarism can be done inadvertently and includes authors reusing their own words and ideas that have been previously published in other works.

Texas Tech has several resources that can help you avoid plagiarism:

  • iThenticate
  • SafeAssign
    • available through Blackboard
    • contact a reference librarian if you would like to run a paper through SafeAssign
  • TurnItIn
    • instructor created course that allows you to submit your paper to an "originality report"
    • report will inform you if text matches any material in its database
    • contact a reference librarian if you are interested in using TurnItIn

There are several free or cheap websites that can be used to help detect plagiarism: