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Plagiarism Detection & Revision Skills: Types of Plagiarism: Self-Plagiarism

Last updated 5/6/2020

 

Visual: Screen opens to a background image with a person typing on a laptop and a notebook and pencil, along with the Walden University Writing Center logo. The title Walden University Writing Center and tagline “Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears on the screen. The screen changes to show the series title “Plagiarism Detection & Revision Skills” and the video title “Types of Plagiarism: Self-Plagiarism.”

Audio: Guitar music

 

Visual: The screen changes to show a slide with the following title and content: Types of Plagiarism

  • Overt Plagiarism [scissors icon]
  • Passive Plagiarism [book icon]
  • Self-Plagiarism [pencil icon]
    • Misuse of a writer’s own past writing

Audio: We have organized plagiarism into three categories or ways plagiarism can manifest in writing: overt plagiarism, passive plagiarism, and self-plagiarism. In this video, we are focusing on self-plagiarism, which can also be referred to as misuse of a writer’s own past writing.

 

Visual: The screen changes to show a slide with the following title and content: Self-Plagiarism

  • Reusing your own work from a previous class or assignment
    • Applies to sentences, paragraphs, and entire papers you’ve submitted in the past.
    • Does not apply to writing that purposefully builds on itself (e.g., doctoral capstones).

Audio: Self-plagiarism occurs when writers are reusing their own work from a previous class or assignment. This can include reusing sentences, paragraphs, or entire papers submitted in the past. For example, if a student wrote a paper on a similar topic in a previous course, they might consider reusing portions of the assignment in a current course. However, for the most part, students should approach each assignment with a new and different perspective, resulting in new and different writing.

 

Visual: The screen changes to show a slide with the following title and content: Self-Plagiarism

  • Reusing your own work from a previous class or assignment
    • Differentiated instruction in
      • A diversity in education class
      • An education technology class

Audio: For example, a paper about differentiated instruction in my diversity in education class may have a slightly different focus—maybe on how diversity and differentiated instruction interact—than the same topic in a class on education technology, where the focus might be technology’s effect on differentiated instruction.

 

Visual: The screen changes to show a slide with the following title and content: Self-Plagiarism

  • Reusing your own work from a previous class or assignment
    • Applies to sentences, paragraphs, and entire papers you’ve submitted in the past.
    • Does not apply to writing that purposefully builds on itself (e.g., doctoral capstones).

Consult the Student Handbook

Audio: Note that this concept of self-plagiarism is not meant to apply to writing that purposefully builds on itself. A good example of this is a doctoral capstone, like a dissertation or project study. Students purposefully write and build elements of these studies across weeks and within different classes, so self-plagiarism doesn’t apply in the same way here.

Self-plagiarism may seem counterintuitive at first since the writing originated with you; however, in the Walden University system, students should focus on writing about ideas in new ways and approaching assignments with new understanding, unless they are working on specific assignments (like doctoral capstones) or have faculty approval. You can also find more information about self-plagiarism in Walden University’s Student Handbook under “students’ misuse of their own scholarly work.”

 

Visual: The screen changes to show a slide with the following title and content: Self-Plagiarism

Citing Yourself

  • Briggs (2012) asserted that previous literature on the psychology of tightrope walkers was faulty in that it "presumed that risk-taking behaviors align neatly with certain personality traits or disorders" (p. 4).

Briggs, M. (2012). An analysis of personality theory [Unpublished manuscript]. College of Management and Technology, Walden University.

  1. Ask your faculty for permission
  2. Cite previous writing as an unpublished manuscript

Audio: If you do want to use past writing in your current assignment, you should follow this process: First, ask your faculty for permission, making sure that using past portions of your own writing is appropriate for this assignment and in this course. Second, cite your previous writing as an unpublished manuscript. This means you will be listed as the author in the reference list, with the title of your paper in italics, followed by the words “Unpublished manuscript” in brackets. The entry is completed with the publication element, which should consist of your college and your university, Walden University. Within the body of your paper, you’ll cite yourself with citations.

 

Visual: The screen changes to show a slide with the following title and content: Avoiding Self-Plagiarism

  • Ask Your Faculty
  • APA Citation Rules
  • Bring a New Perspective
  • Apply New Knowledge

Ask for our support!

Audio: Now you know what self-plagiarism is, what self-plagiarism can look like, and how to cite yourself, let’s think about strategies to help you avoid self-plagiarism or misuse of your own past writing.

First, be sure to always ask your faculty when you’d like to use past writing and when you have questions. Your faculty can best guide you on what is appropriate in your current assignment and course.

Second, if you do decide to use past writing, cite yourself using APA’s self-citing format and rules.

Third, rather than using your past writing, bring a new perspective to your current assignment. Even if you’re writing about the same topic, you can bring a new perspective, exploring new aspects or application of the ideas. This will help you not only avoid self-plagiarism, but also help you critically engage with your learning.

Finally, you should also apply your new knowledge. Your Walden program is purposefully structured to help you build and apply new knowledge from course to course. With that in mind, when you’re writing about similar topics you wrote about before, you should also apply the new knowledge you’ve gained since the last time you wrote; doing so will help you continue to improve your understanding.

And of course, reach out to us in the Writing Center for our support. Send us an email or visit us at our Live Chat hours to talk through your plagiarism questions; we’re here to support you throughout your Walden program.

 

Visual: The screen changes to an ending slide with a background image with a person typing on a laptop and a notebook and pencil, along with the Walden University Writing Center logo. The email address writingsupport@waldenu.edu appears on the screen.