Questions and Answers




  1. Original work vs. copied 3rd party content: how much is too much?

Original work vs. copied 3rd party content: how much is too much?

When writing papers or other assignments, it is OK to include limited 3rd- party content (e.g., quotes) as long as the source is properly referenced in the back of your paper. But copying blocks or pages of text from 3rd- party sources (e.g., Internet) directly into your paper will reduce your grade even when properly referenced. When the need to copy limited text into a student's paper is  compelling, 3rd party content should be identified as such with references and block text font such as the following:

"Here is an example of material that is copied directly into a paper." -- source. 

When grading papers (particularly individual assignments), I look for the following:

  1. Original content. The text should come from you, the writer, not a 3rd party source. This is particularly true for graduate courses.
  2. Demonstrated understanding. This  only comes from spending time researching and reading prior to writing your paper. There is no shortcut here.
  3. Research with references. This is the basis of items 1 and 2 above.

In summary, read first, then write your own material, then document the references. When you do these three steps, the results will shine through on your papers.

Back to Top