This handout aims to help you avoid plagiarizing, particularly in your written work.
Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of somebody else's work and/or ideas. Please note
that Mount Allison University has academic regulations pertaining to academic
dishonesty. This handout will detail those regulations, illustrate what constitutes
plagiarism and finally provide some strategies for avoiding plagiarism.
“Academic Dishonesty” regulation from the Mount Allison University Academic Calendar
2005-2006 (page 23):
“All students at Mount Allison are expected to conduct themselves in an ethical manner in
their academic work. It is the policy of the University that academic dishonesty will not
be tolerated. The following offences constitute major instances of academic dishonesty,
and are subject to discipline:
• plagiarism or the misrepresentation of another's work, whether ideas, or
words, or creative works, published or unpublished, as one's own;
• submission of any work for credit for which credit has previously been
obtained or is being sought in another course, without the prior express
written consent of the appropriate instructor."
• The Sociology Department’s policy is that any work involving plagiarism will be given a
grade of zero.
• Please see the Citation Guide for the Department of Sociology for the citation style
required by the Department.
The Oxford English Dictionary (1999) defines ‘plagiarize’ as “to take and use as one’s
own the thoughts, writings, or inventions of another.”
This section will show you different examples of what constitutes plagiarism.
The original source:
“ In research writing, sources are cited for two reasons: to alert readers to the
sources of your information and to give credit to the writers from whom you have
borrowed words and ideas” (Hacker 1995:260).
Student writes:
In research writing, sources are
cited to alert readers to the
sources of your information and
to give credit to the writers from
whom you have borrowed words
and ideas.
(same words, no
quotation marks
and no citation)
The student has used the author's
exact words, leaving out only a
phrase, without quotation marks
or a citation.
In research writing, sources are
cited to alert readers to the
sources of your information and
to give credit to the writers from
whom you have borrowed words
and ideas (Hacker 1995:260).
(same words, no
quotation marks
but a citation)
The student has used the author’s
exact words, leaving out a phrase,
without quotation marks but with
a citation. Without quotation
marks, the reader thinks that the
words are the student’s own and
that he/she has paraphrased
Hacker’s sentence when in fact
they are the author’s exact words.
In research writing, we cite
sources for a couple of reasons:
to notify readers of our
information sources and give
credit to those from whom we
have borrowed (Hacker).
paraphrase and
The student has made only slight
changes, substituting words such
as "a couple of" for "two",
"notify" for "alert", and
"our"/"we" for "your"/"you,"
leaving out a few words, and
giving an incomplete citation.
A researcher cites her sources to
ensure her audience knows where
she got her information, and to
recognize and credit the original
work (Hacker, 1995:260).
The student has paraphrased in
her own words, while accurately
reflecting and citing the author's
In her book A Writer's Reference,
Hacker (1995:260) notes, "In
research writing, sources are
cited for two reasons: to alert
readers to the sources of your
information and to give credit to
the writers from whom you have
borrowed words and ideas."
(quotation with
By introducing his source, the
student signals that the following
material is from that source. All
verbatim words are in quotation
marks, and the source of the quote
is cited with a page number.
Adapted from “Avoiding Plagiarism
Need to cite:
when using someone else's direct words, including any phrases
when referring to someone else’s ideas
when using information gained through interviewing someone
when using ideas or information gained in personal communication, such as through
in- person conversations, lectures/seminars, classroom discussions, letters, telephone
conversations, email, web blogs, chat rooms
• when using any diagrams, illustrations, charts, graphs, pictures
• when referring to statistics
No need to cite:
• when writing on your own experiences, observations, insights, thoughts, conclusions
• when using common knowledge. Material is probably common knowledge if at least
five other sources present the same information in an undocumented format
• when writing up your own experimental findings or research results
Citing paraphrased material:
• When you use information from a source but express it in your own words, this is
called paraphrasing.
• Paraphrased material must be cited in the same way you would for a direct quotation.
• You must use page numbers in sources whenever the idea, the argument, the finding,
the result, etc. is in a particular part of the source.
• If you are summarizing a theme, idea or argument of the whole source, then you may
cite without page numbers.
Academic writing is difficult. It involves being influenced and referring to earlier writers
but also making one’s argument one’s own. There are tensions in academic writing, as
detailed below, but these tensions cannot be solved by plagiarism.
Show you have done your research
---BUT--- Write something new and original
Appeal to experts and authorities
Use academic vocabulary by
mimicking what you hear and read
---BUT--- Use your own words, your own voice
Give credit where credit is due
---BUT--- Make your own significant contribution
Improve upon or disagree with experts
and authorities
Adapted from "Avoiding Plagiarism"
Actions during the writing
• Mark everything that is someone
else’s words with a big Q (for
quote) or with big quotation marks
• Indicate in your notes which ideas
are taken from sources (S) and
which are your own insights (ME)
• Keep the right hand side of the
notebook for research notes, and
the left hand side for your own
Appearance in Paper
• Proofread and check your
notes (or photocopies of
sources) to make sure
that anything taken from
your notes is
acknowledged in some
combination of the
following ways:
• quotation marks
• indirect quotations
• in-text citation
• bibliography
• Record all of the relevant citation in
your notes
When quoting
• First, write your paraphrase and
summary without looking at the
original text, so you rely only on
your memory
• Begin your summary with
the statement giving
credit to the source
• Ex. According to…
• Next, check your version with the
original for content, accuracy, and
any direct phrases
• Put any unique words
or phrases that you
cannot change or do not
want to change in
quotation marks
• Keep the person’s name and the
page number near the quote in
your notes
• Mention the person’s
name at the beginning,
middle, or end of the
• Select those direct quotes that
make the most impact in your
paper - use direct quotes to further
your argument as they are your
• Put quotation marks
around the text that you
are quoting. Put the
page number in the intext citation
• Indicate added phrases in
square brackets ([ ]) and
omitted text with ellipses
The following chart is adapted from “Avoiding Plagiarism”