In today’s copy-and-paste world, it’s all too easy to use someone else’s words. But using someone else’s words and ideas without attribution is stealing. In high-profile cases, when people are caught out, they justify it by saying that they made a mistake, or a clerical error. This is unacceptable, and it’s a career killer.
plagiarize, transitive verb : to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : use (another’s production) without crediting the source
intransitive verb : to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
It’s vital that you have processes in place which ensure that you never use someone else’s words and ideas, or if you do, then you use them only with correct attribution, and for a specific purpose.
Here are the processes I use – create your own, or adapt mine
* I keep my own words and my research separate, not only in different documents, but also in different folders on my hard drive, and in different paper folders;
* When I take manual notes, I keep separate notebooks for research, and for my own observations;
* I don’t copy and paste into my own documents from research notes;
* I summarize research documents, usually with a mind map, and note from whom I got an idea, or whether the idea is my own.
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[tags]plagiarism, freelance writing, writing processes[/tags]
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