October 26, 2009

From Online Classes comes this article about the Top 10 Plagiarism Scandals of All Time.  While their choices may be debatable, all make for profitable discussion about plagiarism, documentation and interpretation of fair use laws.  Check them out.


October 2, 2009

Much of the content of these pages is now being mirrored on the Gelman Library webiste.  A Writing in the Disciplines Library  Guide has been created to help students enrolled in WID classes through all aspects of the writing process in a variety of disciplines.  Please visit that site for the most up to date content.

What We Are

August 3, 2009

Welcome to  WID Studio: STUDENTS, your connection to the best on the web of writing and research resources.

Content – This  site consists of articles, handouts, and tutorials on researching responsibly and writing  in today’s digital environment. All resources are presented with annotations and a roll-over window to give you a mini snapshot of the resource.

Finding Resources – You can search for resources three ways: 1) tag cloud (the larger the font, the more resources), or 2) search box, or 3) dropdown list of resources (organized by category) .

Interaction – You are invited to comment on the resources in the reply box at the bottom of every page and every resource. The more people add comments, the useful the resources will become to GW students.

ABOUT THE WID STUDIO: The WID Studio is brought to you by the University Writing Program and the Columbia College of Arts & Science at The George Washington University. For more information, contact Professor Katherine Larsen <klarsen@gwu.edu>.

Academic Integrity at GW

February 4, 2008

The GW Code of Academic Integrity was developed by the GW community of students, faculty, librarians, and administrators and initiated in the 1996-1997 academic year.  To administer, promote, and manage the code, an Academic Integrity Office and an Academic Integrity Council were formed.  More information about these bodies can be found at the GW Academic Integrity Web Site http://www.gwu.edu/~ntegrity/

The Preamble of the Code reads:

We, the Students, Faculty, Librarians and Administration of The George Washington University, believing academic honesty to be central to the mission of the University, commit ourselves to its high standards and to the promotion of academic integrity. Commitment to academic honesty upholds the mutual respect and moral integrity that our community values and nurtures. To this end, we have established The George Washington University Code of Academic Integrity.

The code identifies five types of academic dishonesty.  Plagiarism is one of these categories:

  1. Cheating – intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise; copying from another student’s examination; submitting work for an in-class examination that has been prepared in advance; representing material prepared by another as one’s own work; submitting the same work in more than one course without prior permission of both instructors; violating rules governing administration of examinations; violating any rules relating to academic conduct of a course or program.
  2. Fabrication – intentional and unauthorized falsification or invention of any data, information, or citation in an academic exercise.
  3. Plagiarism – intentionally representing the words, ideas, or sequence of ideas of another as one’s own in any academic exercise; failure to attribute any of the following: quotations, paraphrases, or borrowed information.
  4. Falsification and forgery of University academic documents – knowingly making a false statement, concealing material information, or forging a University official’s signature on any University academic document or record. Such academic documents or records may include transcripts, add-drop forms, requests for advanced standing, requests to register for graduate-level courses, etc. (Falsification or forgery of non-academic University documents, such as financial aid forms, shall be considered a violation of the non-academic student disciplinary code.)
  5. Facilitating academic dishonesty – intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.

Sanctions – To learn more about the official procedures should you be accused of plagiarizing, see the Frequently Asked Questions and Procedures sections of the GW Academic Integrity web site. Of particular interest is the part of the Code that discusses Santions (Section 5).  The Code recommends that on the first offense the sanction be failure of the assignment.  The recommended sanction for repeat violations is failure of the course.  Only the official GW Academic Integrity Hearing Panel can request suspension or expulsion of a student for violation of the Code.

The best way to prevent a plagiarism charge is to learn how to properly incorporate the words, ideas, music, images, and so on of others into your research and writing so you don’t accidentally plagiarize or feel the need to intentionally plagiarize.

Understanding Plagiarism

February 3, 2008

GW is an academic community that respects the work and ideas of others. In the academic world, words and ideas are protected by rules and regulations that an institution adopts. At GW, these rules are presented in the GW Code of Academic Integrity which defines plagiarism as:

Intentionally representing the words, ideas, or sequence of ideas of another as one’s own in any academic exercise; failure to attribute any of the following: quotations, paraphrases, or borrowed information.

Though the definition does not provide a laundry list of modes of communication such as audio, video, images, etc., the use of the word “ideas” functions as an umbrella term for today’s multi-modal communication platforms.

Plagiarism is not a legal concept–It is a concept defined by academics as inappropriate professional behavior. However, the ideas adopted in academia about plagiarism derive from the constitutional statute of copyright. Moreover, the concepts underlying the concept of plagiarism and copyright law grew out of Western cultural concepts of intellectual property. Consequently, students from outside the United States may not understand the American concept of plagiarism if their country does not have a similar system of intellectual property rights. For more on these types of cultural issues concerning plagiarism, see Cultural Issues and Plagiarism.

Types of Plagiarism: Intentional and Accidental Plagiarism

Plagiarism can be divided into two types: intentional and accidental.


Intentional plagiarism is when a person knowingly and willfully presents someone else’s work as his/her own whether by buying a paper at an online paper mill or cutting and pasting content directly into a paper without proper attribution. Intentional plagiarism is often detected when an instructor notices an inconsistency in writing such as a change in style, content, or vocabulary. Other times an instructor might suspect plagiarism because something about the content seems familiar to the instructor producing a feeling of “I’ve read that before.”

Why Students Intentionally Plagiarize

There are many reasons why students intentionally plagiarize.

  1. Fear of failure
  2. Poor time management
  3. Disregard for consequences
  4. Disregard for authorship of material accessible online

Intentionally plagiarizing might seem like an inconsequential short-cut at the time, but academic integrity is taken very seriously by professors and the consequences of plagiarism can be grave. The GW Code of Academic Integrity recommends that the minimal sanction on the first offense of plagiarism is that the student fails the assignment. However for more egregious examples, sanctions may range from failure of the course to suspension. For repeat violations, the Code recommends failure of the course, which comes with an automatic notation to the student’s transcript and/or suspension.

Accidental Plagiarism

Accidental plagiarism is when a person does not understand how to properly quote, paraphrase, summarize, or cite the work of others being used in one’s paper, resulting in the content being unintentionally attributed to the compiler and not the original author. Accidental or “unintentional” or “negligent” plagiarism may also occur for other reasons such as carelessness, sloppiness, procrastination or simply by oversight. In such cases, it is difficult to prove one way or another whether the plagiarism was intentional. Students assume responsibility when they sign their names to a work product.

Why Students Accidentally Plagiarize

Sometimes students accidentally plagiarize because of inadequate understanding of the conventions of academic attribution. In other words, a student doesn’t know how to properly incorporate the ideas and words of others into a paper or other type of project.

This web site offers resources to help you learn how to research responsibly in the key areas that are trouble spots for accidental plagiarism

  • Taking careful notes during the research process
  • Knowing how to integrate sources into your work through quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing
  • Knowing how to put together a bibliography in the requested citation style

In addition to the above reasons, sometimes a foreign student accidentally plagiarizes because of unfamiliarity with American academic conventions of attribution. For more discussion on this topic, see the Cultural Issues in Plagiarism section.

In the end, ignorance is not an excuse; all of us at a university are responsible for learning the rules of academic research and writing.

Learn More

Top 3 sites

This handout defines plagiarism, addresses why instructors are concerned about plagiarism, tools for avoiding plagiarism such as proper paraphrasing and citing sources. The handout ends with the moral: “When in doubt, give a citation.”

Intended to be the equivalent of an online textbook, this writing guide from the well respected online Writing Studio at Colorado State University gives a complete overview of how to avoid plagiarizing by going through all the parts of responsible research from gathering information, to incorporating sources, to documenting sources.

From the well-respected Purdue OWL (online writing lab), this e-handout consists of four pages. The first page addresses the challenges facing scholars into today’s global and digital world. The second page explores what is and is not plagiarism by addressing such such questions as when to give credit and how to identifying common knowledge. The third page presents an overview of safe research practices from responsible note-taking, paraphrasing and summarizing, to how to properly integrate quotes. The last page consists of exercises testing one’s understanding of the safe practices for avoiding plagiarism.

Citing Electronic Sources (ranked choices)

February 2, 2008

Researching today happens online where sources are found and examined in their electronic format.  The resources below explain how to cite electronic sources from YouTube videos to blogs as well as how to cite sources found online through electronic databases or web sites.

#1-  Documenting Electronic Sources, The OWL at Purdue

Purdue’s OWL (Online Writing Lab) was one of the first such online services and remains one of the most respected.  Electronic sources are some of the most confusing types of sources to cite because the changing and expanding nature of new media means it often does not fit neatly into the traditional citation format structure.  This resource is really a conduit to links to specific resources on documenting electronic sources and is made up of three sections.  The first section is an overview of the issues concerning online sources.  The second section links to resources that examine the issues and intricacies of electronic sources in MLA, APA, and discipline-specific styles from Chicago Manual of Style to Biology/CBE style.  The final section is a list of links to online guides to citing electronic sources.

#2 – Columbia Guide to Online Style (2nd ed.), Janice R. Walker and Todd Taylor

This is the companion web site for the book The Columbia Guide to Online Style and provides samples from the book on how to cite electronically accessed sources in MLA, Chicago, APA and CBE.

#3 – Online! A Reference Guide to Using Internet Sources
Andrew Harnack and Eugene Kleppinger

This companion web site includes a section on how to cite electronic sources from web sites to email messages in MLA, APA, Chicago, CBE, and other styles.  The book was published in 2003 and the website has not been updated since then making some of the most recent electronic source types such as blogs absent from the list.

#4- How to Cite Electronic Sources, The Library of Congress Learning Page

The Library of Congress has a “Learning Page” that explains how to cite sources accessed electronically such as cartoons, films, maps, photographs, sound recordings, presentations, texts, legal documents, and newspapers.

Researching with Web 2.0 Tools

February 2, 2008

The resources presented below take the perspective that the merging of technology, writing, and research has brought new opportunities for involvement, collaboration, and distribution as well as new challenges for conducting responsible research.  These challenges require one to understand what is happening online where vast amounts of information are not only accessible, but the space between users, audience, and authors has merged and blurred and content is shared and mashed-up.  Consequently, this wiki embraces the ideas and technologies of Web 2.0 as we present responsible research resources for the GW community. To get a better understanding of what Web 2.0 means, watch this informative video titled “Web 2.0, The Machine is Us/ing Us,” by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University.

The tools presented below assist the researcher in taking advantage of the collaborative and socially connected nature of online information gathering and sharing in a Web 2.0 environment.


Tabbed, extension-rich browsers offer features and client-side applications that make a browser more than a screen to online content. These browsers help the user interact in customizable ways with the content.  Here are links to three such advanced browsers

  1. Firefox – Mozilla’s Firefox 2 is an open source browser that offers a fully customizable experience for surfing the web with tabbed browsing, spell checking in the browser, RSS feeds, integrated search, live bookmarks, built-in accessibility and access to over 1,000 add-ons. Firefox is installed on most GW computers. You can locate the browser in the Browser folder under Programs.
  2. Flock Flock calls itself the “Social Web Browser” because it facilitates easy sharing of photos and content as well as a search feature than anticipates your search by pulling up search results before you finish typing.
  3. Opera– The Opera browser is available for desktops, mobile phones, and other devices. It offers features that allow the user to customize everything from features to make surfing faster and more efficient to security and privacy issues as well as customizing the browser itself.

Chat, IM, and Voice Chat

  1. Chatzy – A free private chat serve
  2. Meebo  – Allows user to see instant messages from AIM, Yahoo, MSN, and Google Talk all in one window
  3. Skype – Voice chat service with the ability to make calls to regular telephone numbers anywhere in the world.

Wiki and Content Collaboration

  1. PBwiki – This is the wiki service behind the GW Plagiarism Project wiki. The name implies that making a wiki using pbwiki is as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich.
  2. Vyew   – An online collaboration tool that allows a group to author new content or collaborate on PowerPoint, Word, Excel, pdf files, audio, and video.
  3. Wikispaces – Popular wiki tool for making web pages that groups can edit together.

Social Bookmarking, Tagging & Web Archiving

  1. del.icio.us – This is a social bookmarking service allowing you to store your bookmarks online for access from any computer. With del.icio.us, you organize your bookmarks through a keyword system called tags that are more flexible than folders. You can also use del.icio.us to see other people’s bookmarks
  2. Furl.net – Furl.net allows you to bookmark any site and share your bookmarks with others. You can also annotate the bookmarks and more.
  3. WebCiteAn archiving system for web references (cited web pages and web sites), which can be used by authors, editors, and publishers of scholarly papers and books, to ensure that cited web material will remain available to readers in the future.

Social Note-Taking

  1. BackPackIt – A web-based service that allows you to make pages with to-do lists, notes, files, and images. Backpack also features a Calendar and Reminders that can be sent via email or to your cell phone at predefined times.
  2. Carmun – Carmum makes building a bibliography a social act. The service allows you to bookmark URLs and save citations you find online and create bibliographies. An interesting feature is the ability to rate and review sources.
  3. Diigo – This is a social annotation service that allows you to highlight or put an online sticky-note annotation on any webpage and share your notes with others.
  4. Google Docs & Spreadsheets – A web-based word processing and spreadsheet program that facilitates sharing documents as well as live editing and revision by multiple users simultaneously.
  5. Google Notebook – A web-based tools that allows you to clip and collect online information such as text, images and links as well as take notes as you browse.
  6. StickisAllows you to put virtual sticky notes with comments on web pages and others Stickis users can read your comments and you can read theirs.


  1. GW on ITunes University – You can listen to podcasts of select GW courses.


  1. Google Video – An online video marketplace where you can search for TV shows, movies, music, videos, documentaries, and personal productions.
  2. YouTube – The premier destination for watching and sharing original videos.


  1. Flickr – A photo management and sharing service with millions of creative commons licensed photographs.

Specialty Search Sites

  1. Google specialty search sites include Scholar, U.S. Government, News, Books, and Blogs
  2. Quintra is an innovative search site that represents the possibilities of the semantic web by using natural associative search principles through a visual mapping web of text.

Tracking and Delivering Information

  1. Bloglines – Online service that allows you to make a personalized news paper with information you choose from news feed, blogs, web sites. You also can share your bloglines.
  2. Google Alerts – Notifies user on new Google results based on query or topic. Good for monitoring a developing news story or any topic.
  3. Google Reader – Monitors all your favorite web sites and blogs and then aggregates the new content into one reader page. This page can be shared with other users.
  4. Pipes – Interactive feed aggregator.
  5. Suprglu – Allows you to gather content from del.icio.us, flickr, blogger, typepad to one place.

Community Driven Content:

  1. Digg – A user-driven social content website where community members submit content and if the more popular the content with the community, the more prominently displaced the content
  2. Technorati – This service searches and organizes blogs, blog links, and other forms of independent, user-generated content (photos, videos, etc.)
  3. Wikipedia – The online social networking encyclopedia.  Wikipedia has sparked much controversy with its user-generated content approach to information gathering. Below are links to examples of the challenges presented with user-generated and free access content.

APA (American Psychological Association)

February 2, 2008

The citation style associated with the social sciences is APA (American Psychology Association).  This style places the date of the publication immediately after the author. Other distinguishing features of this style include only using initials for first names and placing titles in lower case.

APA Style Guide, The OWL at Purdue

Purdue’s OWL (Online Writing Lab) was one of the first such online services and remains one of the most respected for its online handouts. This resource covers APA (American Psychological Association) style for citing sources used within the social sciences and is updated for the 5th edition of the APA manual.  The resource includes explanation and examples of how to do in-text citations and the reference page.

APA Style Guide for Electronic Resources 

This cite is maintained by the American Psychological Association (APA) and is where APA annouces the most recent changes to APA style that have to do with electronic sources.  Specific sections of the cite include: Electronic media and URLs, Electronic media spelling guide, General forms for electronic references, Reference examples for electronic source materials, and Citations in text of electronic material.

APA Style: The Social Sciences
Diana Hacker Resources

Examples of bibliographic and in-text citations using APA in the social sciences.

Research Management Tools

February 2, 2008

This page provides annotated links to a collection of web-based services and software that will assist you in maintaining a personal database of bibliographic sources, whether books, articles, web sites, audio files, videos, or more. These tools will allow you to easily change the formatting style of the bibliography from one style to the next (for example, MLA to APA) as well as directly incorporate the in-text citations as you compose using word processing software.

The first group of research management tools are free to GW students and faculty. Because researchers often have different needs, an additional list of fee-based options is included at the end.

CAVEAT – Please keep in mind when working with these tools that as the writer and researcher, you are responsible for the accuracy of the results. Review the bibliography and in-text citations generated to make sure they accurately adhere to the desired formatting style.



This research management tool is now free for all GW students and faculty. RefWorks is designed to aid in gathering, managing, storing and publishing information. Users can generate personal databases for research projects and format bibliographies and manuscripts instantly. It easily imports references from databases and with the add on of Ref Grab It, allows you to capture data from webpages.   An additional add on for Word – Write N’ Cite – allows you to easily place citations into your papers.  For more information on using RefWorks at GW, go to http://www.gwu.edu/gelman/service/refworks/


Zotero is a free, browser-based research platform under development at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. A Firefox 2.0 Add-on (this means it only works with Firefox, not IE or any other browser), Zotero provides users the means to seamlessly capture, read, annotate, organize, aggregate, share, analyze, build upon, and cite their sources (whether bibliography or full-text articles). Designed as a scholarly workbench for the new networked information landscape, it combines features from existing reference management systems with the open knowledge communities increasingly characteristic of Web 2.0. To get started with Zotero, watch the demo video http://www.zotero.org/videos/tour/zotero_tour.htm


  • Automatic capture of citation information from web pages, library catalogs, online databases, and digital archives
  • Storage of PDFs, files, images, links, and whole web pages
  • Ability to annotate and highlight archived web pages
  • Flexible notetaking with autosave
  • Fast, as-you-type search through your materials
  • Playlist-like library organization, including saved searches and tags
  • Citation formatting and bibliography creation
  • Integration with Microsoft Word and other applications and web tools
  • Free and open source

Bedford Bibliographer [WEB-BASED APPLICATION]

This is a FREE and simple-to-use web-based application for generating bibliographies. The service does require registration to set up a password, but registration only requires filling out a few fields and providing a password. The tool’s design makes it intuitive to use, but there is a help feature and user tutorials for added instruction. Though free and well designed, it offers only a select group of citation formats: Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), Council of Science Editors (CSE), and two forms of Chicago (Notes-and-Bibliography and Author-Date). Also, it only generates a bibliography and does not assist in incorporating the corresponding in-text citations.

Fee-based tools


EndNote software is bibliographic management software that aids in building, maintaining, and publishing bibliographies. It allows you to search bibliographic databases and drag and drop the references directly into the software. Includes “cite while you write” functionality with 2,300 bibliographic styles and built-in manuscript templates.

Price: $99.95 with student discount at academicsuperstore.com

NOTE: Gelman has online EndNote tutorials available at http://www.gwu.edu/gelman/guides/endnote/

Noodlebib [WEB-BASED APPLICATION]http://www.noodletools.com

This online bibliography making tools is popular with secondary schools (i.e. middle and high schools) because of its ease of use and free MLA-only option. To get access to APA, one needs to subscribe.

Price: Individual subscription is $8 per year.

Chicago Manual of Style (CMS)

February 2, 2008

Developed by Chicago Press, this citation style is distinguished by its use of footnotes or endnotes.  This style is used in many disciplines from the humanities to the social sciences.

Chicago Manual of Style Online

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) is one of the standard styles of the publishing world.  In 2006 CMS  finally produced an online version.  Full access to the manual requires a yearly subscription. 

Because the online service is new, they are offering an introductory subscription price for a single user of $25 per year.  There is also a 30-day free trial.

The site does include some noteworthy free services. The Quick Guide section offers an overview of the Chicago Manual of Style and includes electronic source examples. The  Q&A section is a cornucopia of tidbits about CMS and could be very helpful to students because the questions are common issues and the answers are practical and applicable.  The only drawback to this section is that it is organized by the month the question was submitted and not by topic.

Citation Guide – Chicago Manual of Style
The University of Arizona Library

Easy to read and navigate examples of bibliographic entries using the Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition).

Chicago Style: History
Diana Hacker Resources

Examples of bibliographic, in-text and footnote entries of Chicago Style used in the discipline of History.