Would anyone pay you for this skill?

The 5 Good Habits for Evidence are essential to figuring things out, problem solving, and to critical thinking. They are listed in the left column below and they are covered with the Evidence Quiz.


Frequently, students who have been rewarded for their actions in the past have incorrect assumptions about what bosses and professors expect. They seem to reevaluate their assumptions only when I ask “If you got really good at doing this, would any business or group want to pay you to do this?”


5 Good Habits for Evidence

Would a Company Want to Pay You for These Skills?

1 Reliable Sources Only


No one would ask you to "Google this for me and copy anything you like from the Internet" and no one would pay you for doing it.


What’s a reliable source? What your boss or your professor thinks is a reliable source.

2 Factual Accuracy That You Verify with the Reliable Source Before You Write

No one would pay you if you cannot figure out:

·        the question asked

·        the right facts carefully read and selected for that question

·        the meaning of the facts carefully read as a whole


Example: if your boss asked you to explain why the Dallas plant is failing and instead you investigated the plant in San Antonio, you better have a very good story.

3 Factual Accuracy That Is Verifiable for Every Statement You Make

No one would pay you:

·        if you don’t know exactly where (including the source and the specific page) where you found your evidence

·        if someone has to check your work all of the time.


4 No “Half-Copy” Plagiarism or “Patchwriting”[1]

No one would pay you—at least not well—to copy another’s words and move them around. No one will want you around if you present yourself as the author of work that another person did.[2]


If you think STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) are just about memorizing, remember these disciplines

·        may require you to be able to repeat terminology accurately,

·        but they always require you to be able to apply knowledge accurately.


Also see Why I Make a Big Deal About "Half-Copy" Plagiarism and "Patchwriting." The reasons may surprise you.

5 Quotation Changes Revealed Clearly


No one would pay you (or want you around) if you are so careless that you:

·        Make others look like they can’t write a correct sentence.

·        Change the meaning of what others say and write



Copyright C. J. Bibus, Ed.D. 2003-2020



WCJC Department:

History – Dr. Bibus

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[1] The quoted terms are explained on page 746 in the ninth edition of The Bedford Handbook by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers.

[2] Page 746 and 747 also provide examples that show that listing a page number in an endnote is not enough. You are claiming that you created all the words:

·        If you copy another’s words without using quotation marks (“”) to distinguish your words from the author’s words

·        If you take another person’s sentence structure and just swap out what you think are synonyms