What are the various forms of plagiarism and academic dishonesty?
It’s difficult to name every single way to be academically dishonest. This list names a few:
- Hiring an editor for your written assignments without approval from your instructor. Different departments see the role of the editor differently, so it's best to check with your instructor.
- Sending a file you know is corrupt to have more time to hand in an assignment
- Buying a paper on the Internet
- Having someone else write your paper or parts of it
- Using someone else’s writing as your own, even just parts of it
- Patch-writing: using pieces of different articles and joining the pieces with some of your own words
- Using someone else’s idea as your own without citing it
- Intellectual dishonesty, like cheating on a test or sharing your answers
- Having someone extensively revise your paper without prior permission from your instructor
- Failing to properly cite ideas or excerpts from the work of others
- Failing to indicate a paraphrase of someone else’s words
- Copying answers and/or ideas from a classmate
- Self-plagiarism: using something—or even parts of something—that you wrote for one course in another course
Can I use an editor for my writing?
It depends. Some departments and instructors encourage the use of an editor, but others may consider your paper plagiarized if you hire an editor. The best idea is to ask your instructor first.
What kind of “credit” or documentation must be provided in order to avoid plagiarism?
Essential information such as the author’s name, date, and publication information must be included. This allows others to find and read the work that you have referred to.
Is it easy to tell if a paper has been plagiarized?
Again, it depends. It is actually amazing how consistent someone’s writing “style” can be, so instructors can often tell that something has changed just based on this (of course, your writing may have improved from practice or sessions in The Writing Centre). Moreover, many technologies now exist to aid in plagiarism detection; plagiarism isn’t easy to detect, but it is regularly detected nonetheless.
Is it plagiarism if a writer takes a quote out of context?
Yes, because you are making the quote say something that it does not actually say.
How can I avoid plagiarizing?
- The library has lots of useful information regarding plagiarism. For example, there is an overview and a handout that can both help you understand what is—and what isn’t— plagiarism.
- The Writer's Guide also has a section on plagiarism.
- Group work: Clarify with your instructor or TA to what extent you are allowed to work together and what work is to be done individually.
- There’s also an excellent resource written by Margaret Procter at the University of Toronto.
When should I paraphrase?
Always think of the argument that you are making first. If the information you need is worded in a way that is going to make your writing less clear, paraphrasing a quotation is a good way to convey the author’s point without distracting from yours.Just remember: (1) you have to cite your source, even when paraphrasing; and (2) you have to be sure that you are representing the information accurately.
How do I paraphrase correctly?
When paraphrasing, the most important things are to make sure that you are presenting the author’s opinion accurately, and to be very clear about what information is the author’s and what is your own opinion.
When should I summarize?
Summarizing an author’s argument is a great way to create context for an argument that you are making. In general, summaries are useful as an introduction to an author’s thinking; if the article is very important to your argument, you can use a summary to show why it is important. However, when you are at the point in your paper where you are actually talking about the article (for example, if you are disagreeing with the author), it is usually best to quote or paraphrase.
How do I summarize?
When you summarize, you are basically trying to convey the most important point in an article. A good way to do this is to read the entire article and try to put its main point in a single sentence of your own words. Then, double-check by going back to the article and making sure that the author’s thesis statement agrees with what you have written.
When should I quote?
If you are talking about a specific point that an author has made, it is usually appropriate to use a quotation.
How do I quote?
In general, it is a good idea to put a quotation in the middle of a paragraph, with one sentence leading into it (providing context for the quotation) and another leading out (clarifying why the quotation is relevant to the argument that you are making).
How can I find out how to document my sources?
First, consult with your instructor so that you are clear about their expectations. If you require further clarifications, you can consult the UVic Style Guide or ask a reference librarian.
What are some suggestions for avoiding accidental plagiarism?
You’ve already taken an important first step by coming here! The most important thing, though, is to keep well-organized notes: if you copy something from an article or book (whether it is an idea or a quotation), always write the source next to it in your notes. Most accidental plagiarism happens because students forget where they got something from.
How can I find out more about academic integrity?
The UVic policy on academic integrity is available here. There are also these tutorials available:
This link will lead you to quizzes, practice, and more information about avoiding plagiarism.
Are there any interactive quizzes I can try?
I still have questions. Who should I talk to?
Talk to your instructor or teaching assistant. You can also ask about academic integrity at the Learning Skills Program housed within Counselling Services, the Library, and the Writing Centre.
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