Book reviews of The Plagiarism Handbook: Strategies for Preventing, Detecting, and Dealing with Plagiarism, and Using Sources Effectively: Strengthening Your Writing and Avoiding Plagiarism, by Robert A. Harris. Reviewed by Peggy Pittman-Munke.
Reviewed by Peggy Pittman-Munke, BA, MLS, M.Ed., MSW, PhD, Associate Professor of Social Work
Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky
HARRIS, Robert A. (2001). The Plagiarism Handbook: Strategies for Preventing, Detecting, and Dealing With Plagiarism. Los Angeles: Pyrczak Publishing. 208pp., $19.95.
In his first book, Harris explains that plagiarism is a complex issue involving many factors ranging from “changes in ethical values” to “poorly designed asignments” and “perceived lack of consequences. He provides activities to educate both students and educators about plagiarism in order to eliminate plagiarism. The appendices are expecially useful, containing definitions of plagiarism, language for constructing policies, tests and other activities to use with students, teaching resources, Internet search material, term paper mills [this section probably needs to be updated since many more have sprung up], and other useful Web links, and other reference materials.
I found the chapter on dealing with plagiarism especially helpful, since it covers many possible scenarios and provides clear strategies for dealing with the situation, as well as a reminder about the potential legal issues. The format of the book is particularly pleasing. It is easy to use and poses issues in language that is clear enough that even the least sophisticated student can understand the issues. Even more helpful are the strategies to help students avoid both intentional and unintentional plagiarism.
Chapters include: educating yourself about plagiarism, educating your students about plagiarism, constructing assignments to prevent plagiarism, strategies for detecting plagiarism, strategies for dealing with plagiarism, and administrative and institutional issues relating to plagiarism. Appendices include sample definitions of plagiarism and policy language, quizzes and activities, teaching resources, Internet search tools, term paper mills, useful Web links and articles, and teaching ideas through cartoons. This is a relatively inexpensive book that is well worth its price.
Harris, Robert A. (2005). Using Sources Effectively: Strengthening Your Writing and Avoiding Plagiarism, 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Pyrczak Publishing. 115 pp., paper.
This inexpensive book is an ideal book to assign in a research class or indeed in any class in which research papers are a part. Targeting two common problems, unintentional plagiarism and ineffective use of research source material, this book can help students produce better writing on assignments ranging from essays to full scale research papers.
A major strength of this book is its plentiful use of specific examples of proper use of quotations, paraphrase, summary, and citation. The sections on selecting, evaluating, and preparing sources for use will be very helpful for students. Both ALA and MLA citation styles are referenced. Additional student aids include a true/false quiz at the end of each chapter, an appendix on grammar review, and an excellent section on Internet sources. This text also deals with the overuse of tutors in preparing written work, as well as with the benefits of using reference librarians. The overall tone is warm and clear without being condescending. This text covers most of the questions students are likely to ask and many more that they do not know they need to ask.