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Reusing Portions of Earlier Papers
As strange as it may seem, you are committing self-plagiarism if you reuse your work from previous classes or degrees without appropriate citation. If you have made a point or conducted research in one paper that you would like to build on in a later paper, you must cite yourself, just as you would cite the work of others.
See below for Walden's policy on this issue and some examples of how to cite accurately. For another perspective on self-citation, see Matt's blog post, "The Northwest Passage, or Why You Should Cite Yourself Only Sparingly."
Walden's Policy on Reusing Work
For guidance on when citing yourself might be appropriate, consult your instructor and the policy below from the Walden University Student Handbook (2012):
During their studies at Walden, students might find themselves writing for a second, third, or fourth time on the same topic; regardless, their writing is expected to reflect new approaches and insights into that topic to demonstrate their intellectual growth.
Walden recognizes that there might be some overlap between the requirements, assignments, and inquiry for different courses and KAM demonstrations. In general, students may use only small portions of documents as background or foundational material for additional development in a subsequent assignment or research project. Students may not merely copy and paste substantial sections from one paper or KAM to another. Any use of prior work is at the discretion of the instructor: Students must receive prior approval from their instructor, who may request a copy of the previous work. Fair use laws must be respected for published documents.
When using their own scholarly work in subsequent research, students should cite themselves as a primary author and their previous coursework or KAM demonstrations as unpublished papers, as shown in The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. (Code of Conduct section, section 4)
In other words, reuse previous work sparingly, use it only with good reason and your instructor's permission, and cite it using APA format. See below for help with the latter.
How to Cite Yourself
If you cite or quote your previous work, treat yourself as the author and your own previous course work as an unpublished paper, as shown in the APA publication manual. For example, if Marie Briggs wanted to cite a paper she wrote at Walden in 2012, her in-text citation might look like this:
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).
And in the reference list:
Briggs, M. (2012). An analysis of personality theory. Unpublished
manuscript, Walden University.
If your original work contained citations from other sources, you will need to include those same citations in the new work as well, per APA. If Marie Briggs's earlier paper had cited Presley and Johnson, for example, it would look like this:
According to Briggs (2012), recent psychologists such as "Presley and Johnson (2009) too quickly attributed risk-taking to genetic factors, ignoring the social family issues that often influence the decision to explore pursuits such as tightrope walking" (p. 5).
APA Style FAQ
In addition to the information provided here, refer to page 186 in the APA Manual (Sixth Edition) for how to cite and reference nonroutine information and titles.
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You may also find our table on citation variations useful to download and print!