Unlike personal or academic writing, technical and professional writing can be used to evaluate your job performance and can have implications that a writer may or may not have considered. Whether you are writing for colleagues within your workplace or outside vendors or customers, you will want to build a solid, well-earned favorable reputation for yourself with your writing. Your goal is to maintain and enhance your credibility, and that of your organization, at all times.
Credibility can be established through many means: using appropriate professional language, citing highly respected sources, providing reliable evidence, and using sound logic. Make sure as you start your research that you always question the credibility of the information you find. Are the sources popular or scholarly? Are they peer reviewed by experts in the field? Are the methods and arguments used based on solid reasoning and sound evidence? Is the author identifiable and does s/he have appropriate credentials? Be cautious about using sources that are not reviewed by peers or editor, or in which the information seems misleading, biased, or even false. Be a wise information consumer in your own reading and research in order to build your own reputation as an honest, ethical writer.
Quoting the work of others in your writing is fine, provided that you credit the source fully enough that your readers can find it on their own. If you fail to take careful notes, or the sentence is present in your writing but later fails to get accurate attribution, it can have a negative impact on you and your organization. That is why it is important that when you find an element you would like to incorporate in your document, in the same moment as you copy and paste or make a note of it in your research file, you need to note the source in a complete enough form to find it again.
Giving credit where credit is due will build your credibility and enhance your document. Moreover, when your writing is authentically yours, your audience will catch your enthusiasm, and you will feel more confident in the material you produce. Just as you have a responsibility in business to be honest in selling your product of service and avoid cheating your customers, so you have a responsibility in business writing to be honest in presenting your idea, and the ideas of others, and to avoid cheating your readers with plagiarized material.
Source: Hamlin, Annemarie, Chris Rubio, Michele DeSilva, and Eleanor Sumpter-Latham. "Ethics in Technical Writing." Technical Writing. Pressbooks, 2015. Web. 21 Mar. 2017.
Remember that you can use Google to find sources. However, all sources must be creditable and written within the last five years. Make sure that all of the sources included in your paper pass the CAARP Test.
The following is a list of questions to help you evaluate information that you find. Some questions, or criteria, will be more important than others, depending on the project you are working on. If you're not sure how certain criteria apply to your information source, ask a librarian for help!
Key: ** indicates criteria is for Web sources only
Currency: The timeliness of the information.
Authority: The source of the information.
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
Purpose: The reason the information exists.
Evaluating Information – Applying the CAARP Test
created by: Meriam Library, California State University, Chico
Many students wait until they finish writing their paper before citing their sources. They may find themselves “on a roll,” and will not want to stop to check or to cite their sources, thinking they will add their citations later. It is a better idea to cite your sources as you find them and use them. Use these tips to help ensure that documenting your sources is quick and easy!
The best way to make sure you do not forget to cite the sources you use - cite while you write!
You will primarily be citing your sources in MLA format. We have a lot of tools that can help with this. If you need to create original citations, refer to the library's Style Citation, MLA handout or stop by the library or the Writing Center for help.
Most of the library databases will create an MLA citation for you. Look around for the Cite or Cite This link on the article page. If you email the article to yourself, the email window usually asks which citation style you need. If you have any trouble finding this, please contact the library.
If you are using your own MLA Style book, make sure it is the 8th edition!
Other Citation Resources
Provided below are guides to help you with MLA style Citation
1. MLA 8th ed, Handout - is a works cited documentation.
2. Visual Guide to MLA 8th ed., with MS Word Help- is a sample paper that includes MS Word tool tips to make formatting your paper and works cited easier.
3. MLA Style Guide 8th ed. - is a guide based on the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook published in 2016.
Strive to find information that is:
Clear: You want information that is easy to understand. Do not want you or others to misinterpret it.
At Tarrant County College, scholastic dishonesty is unacceptable and is not tolerated. Any person who is a party to scholastic dishonesty as defined below will be disciplined as prescribed in this document.
SCHOLASTIC DISHONESTY is defined as misconduct including, but not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, and collusion.
PLAGIARISM is defined as presenting as one’s own the ideas or writings of another without acknowledging or documenting the source(s).
Students are guilty of plagiarism when they do any of the following in an essay or presentation:
Intended or unintended plagiarism will cause you to fail an assignment and possibly this class. If you are not sure ask, go to the Writing Center, or Library. NO EXCUSES!
Plagiarism.org - good resource for understanding what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.
Turnitin Writecycle - this tool is used by TCC students to check their papers for plagiarism prior to submitting them for a grade. See your instructor for sign up instructions.
TCCD Plagiarism Tutorial - this tutorial contains a flash video detailing what plagiarism is and also includes a post test.