Issue For May 2, 2007
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Writing Question of the Week
This is usually a question submitted by an OWL user to the OWL Tutors. If you have a question you need answered quickly, ask one of our OWL Tutors or call the Writing Lab's Grammar Hotline at 765-494-3723. And remember, both services are free for everyone!
Currently as part of a basic college level English class we are working on the topic of plagiarism.
1. Prior to the Internet I can remember going in to the library and making good use of the reference librarian relying on them to help me find the materials that I needed. Is that actually still the best course of action given the vast amount of information available on the Internet?
2. What online resources are available to people to make sure that they are not plagiarizing? Is there such a thing as a check and balance system, kind of like the spelling and grammar check that is common on document programs?
3. How do I as a student and/or writer protect myself from plagiarism?
You will not be plagiarizing as long as you cite all your sources properly, regardless of whether they are print sources or online sources.
You can still use online sources as long as they are reliable and credible. You can get more help with your concerns from our website -- please follow the links below.
Avoiding plagiarism: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/01/
Evaluating sources of information: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/553/01/
Searching the world wide web: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/558/01/
The OWL Help Nest
Each week we publish Purdue OWL News readers' requests for advice or information and the responses from other Purdue OWL News readers.
There was a sign on a restroom door that read "Closed floor flooded." A floor can not 'flood' if you use the reasoning that a river can flood because it comes out of its banks....thus the river flooded is correct. The bathroom floor did not come out of its 'banks'...so should the sign have read toilet flooded? --Elliw, Wyoming
Yes, the floor, any floor, may be described as 'flooded' if there is a large amount of water on it. In the case of the bathroom, the pipe may be broken or the drainage system may be bad. Either of these situations may lead to flooding of not only the bathroom but also the whole floor of the building.
--Henry, Whitesands School, Lekki Lagos, Nigeria
First, signs often don't follow grammatical rules. Second, you propose a narrow definition of the word flood to prove your point. Using the reasoning that an excess amount of water on the floor is a flood, then the sign is correct and provides the warning needed. The source of the flood is not important, the hazard (flooded floor) is important to the warning.
--G. Prater, engineer
What is the underlying meaning of using of bibliographies and citations? --Shahzar khan wazir, Gujranwala Cantt
I like to explain the purpose of citations this way:
1. Citations benefit the reader. When you cite all your sources, you make it possible for your readers to locate the same information and do further research.
2. Citations benefit the original authors. The authors you use or quote in your research deserve recognition for their original work (their intellectual property), so you should give them proper credit through citations and bibliographies.
3. Citations benefit you, the writer, by building your credibility as a researcher. When you cite others' research, you're showing that you're familiar with the relevant scholarship and can therefore be trusted to draw valid conclusions. You increase your authority on that subject and join the "discourse community."
--Maradee Kern, University of Houston-Clear Lake
Citations and bibliographies underscore the amount and quality of research that a writer has done on a topic.
--John Riley, U. of Arkansas
The underlying meaning of using of bibliographies and citations is to give credit to the people of which you got your information from. Even if you put the information in your own words, you still have to cite where you got the information from to give credit to that person. If you don't cite your sources, then you are considered to be plagiarizing the work. The use of bibliographies ties your citations to the original work of which you got your information from. If someone wanted to read further into a particular topic of your work they could get sources from your bibliography to do so. The citations in your paper would give the person an idea of what the sources in your bibliography are about.
--Amanda Cline, Jamestown Community College, Olean NY
I would like to know the contextual difference between the prepositions 'at' and 'in' and the use of definite article in the following situations: 'I visited him in/at (the) hospital'; 'Peace restored at/in (the)school'; I met him at/in (the) railway station. Thank you, --Thomas Jacob, Thiruvananthapuram
"At" refers to the address or location and could include inside the location.
"In" implies inside, only.
"The" is necessary when you refer to a particular object - "the hospital," "the railway station," "the school." If you are using "school" as a generality, the you do not need the article.
--Marlene Clark, Middletown
Next Week's Questions
What's Your Question?
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What's Happening on the OWL at Purdue
- OWL Eye On...Remote Testing Survey. The Purdue OWL has been doing extensive usability testing on our new site. We invite our users from around the world to take our remote usability survey: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/survey/
- OWL Eye On...New Powerpoint added to the the Purdue OWL! The Purdue OWL is pleased to announce a new powerpoint addition to our tutoring writing section: "The Writing Conference: Meeting One-on-One with Students". Take a look: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/663/01/
What's Happening in the Writing Lab
- OWL Eye On...End of Semester Schedule. The last day of tutoring for the Spring Semester will be on April 27th, 2007. We suggest that you call in early and make an appointment--our last few weeks fill up quickly!
- OWL Eye On...Summer Schedule. We will begin our summer tutoring hours from May 14th to August 3rd. Tutoring hours for the summer will be Mon-Thurs 9-4; Friday 9-1.
- OWL Eye On...OWL Mail. Because of our break between the spring semester and our summer hours, individuals submitting questions to OWLmail may experience delays in getting a response. We apologize for the inconvenience!
This week's OWL News was edited by Dana Lynn Driscoll, OWL Coordinator.