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Oral Communication Center

Planning a Presentation

Using Citations and Avoiding Plagiarism
in Oral Presentations  

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"Any form of academic dishonesty is a serious offense in an academic community."1  In giving a speech, oral group report, poster session and/or when publishing/posting a speech manuscript, the following parts of the Hamilton College Honor Code are most pertinent and your responsibility:

Sub-section 1. Plagiarism: Failure to acknowledge ideas or phrases used in any paper, exercise or project submitted in a course but gained from another person. Guidelines for proper documentation are available from many sources, including the "Essentials of Writing," provided to all students and available at the Writing Center.

Sub-section 3. Self-plagiarism: the submission of one piece of work in more than one course without the explicit permission of the instructors involved.

Sub-section 4. Cooperative or collaborative effort in coursework without acknowledgment or the explicit permission of the instructor. This is not meant to inhibit discussion and debate of academic subjects either inside or outside the classroom.

Sub-section 6. The submission of work as one's own that has been prepared by another person.

Sub-section 7. Forgery or falsification of academic documents. The chair of the Honor Court, after consultation with the dean of students, may remand such cases to the Judicial Board.2 In giving an oral presentation, you can avoid plagiarism by following the same rigor of citing sources described in the Writing Center handout Avoiding Plagiarism: "Put simply,
you plagiarize if you present other writer's words and ideas as your own.  You do not plagiarize if you `provide citations for all direct quotations and paraphrases, for borrowed ideas, and for facts that do not belong to general knowledge.' "3

How do you cite material in oral presentations?

The form of the oral citation will differ from the written citation in a variety of ways.  Decisions on form should take into consideration rhetorical style and effectiveness, the speaking context and its standing principles and practices, and audience expectations. First and foremost, "Be especially clear about what is yours and what is not.  Give credit not only for direct quotations, but also for ideas that you paraphrase.  Avoid the slightest hint of plagiarism."


Citing a quotation in a speech

Consider first the options a speaker has for indicating direct quotations.  Some speakers like to precede a quotation with "quote" and follow it with "unquote" or "close quote."  But that may sound stilted to some listeners.  Here is another approach: 

In her 1998 owner's guide, Airedale Terriers, trainer Dorothy Miner says the following about the origins of the Airedale Terrier:

Citing a paraphrase in a speech

The responsibility of a speaker when paraphrasing the work and/or ideas of others is the same as in citing direct quotations minus references to the beginning and end of the quotation.  Again, concern for attribution as well as style is necessary. Here is an appropriate citing of a paraphrase that blends the general flow of ideas and language with attribution:

In her 1998 owner's guide, Airedale Terriers, trainer Dorothy Miner says that the Airedale Terrier originated in Yorkshire England's Aire River Valley.

Other Stylistic Devices and Citing

There are stylistic devices employed in speeches that may not require citation of their sources.  These devices include sayings/cliche?s, maxims, proverbs, catch phrases, allusions, and other constructions that gather their rhetorical force from the fact that audience and speaker know of their authorship or that they are understood as anonymous or unknown in their origins.  Nevertheless, caution is advised in the use of these devices. A thorough audience, context, and expectations analysis will guide you in deciding whether it will be mutually understood that citation is not required or expected when using these forms. Yet, to minimize risk, cite sources or draw attention to the fact that the "one-liner" is not your invention, even if you believe the audience knows the source.

  • Citing an anonymous saying/cliche, maxim, or proverb in a speech: 
It has often been said, "Silence is golden"...
  • Citing a saying/cliche, maxim, proverb or humorous one-liner in a speech where authorship is known:
As Yogi Berra reminds us, "It's not over till it's over."

Citing, Copyright Permission and Media Use

When using media (overheads, handouts, sound clips, i-Movie, Power Point, etc.) that include the work and ideas of others (video, images, text, film, audio clips, etc.), a full citation is required.  This may be accomplished by printing the citation on the object or in a written credit at the end of the presentation.  In all cases it must be cited.  In addition, you may need to seek permission to use the material from Hamilton's Copyright Compliance Officer, Sharon Britton (x4485).  You may also seek advice at the library's Reference Desk, Multimedia Presentation Center, or from the HILLgroup about your specific ethical and legal obligations.

  • In oral presentations, the spoken citation will generally be abbreviated to include the author, publication date, and title of the material.  The spoken citation will generally be minus the details of page numbers, publisher information, volume number, etc.  When useful for advancing your argument or to lend credibility to the speaker, the journal, press, or publisher may also be noted. 
  • Speech manuscripts that are distributed in any form (print or electronically), must acknowledge sources using the standards for written documents.  

                                               
1 Hamilton College Student Handbook 2001-02, Honor Code: Section II.
2 Hamilton College Student Handbook 2001-02, Honor Code: Section II.
3 Williams, S., Avoiding Plagiarism. http://hamilton.edu/academics/resource/wc/AvoidingPlagiarism.html (September 27, 2002). In this citation Williams quotes Crews, F. & VanSant, A.J. (1984). The Random House Handbook (4th ed.). NY: Random House. p. 407.
4 Sprague, J. & Stuart, D. (1996).  The Speaker's Handbook (4th ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace & Co. p. 68.