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BIO 120: Adaptation and Biodiversity

This guide will assist BIO 120 students, as well as other biology students, when starting to look for and gather research for papers and assignments.

Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters

From the University of Toronto's Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters:

"It shall be an offence for a student knowingly:

(d) to represent as one’s own any idea or expression of an idea or work of another in any academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work, i.e. to commit plagiarism"

Plagiarism Quiz

Do you know what is or is not considered plagiarism? Test yourself with this quiz!

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is defined as "the wrongful appropriation and purloining, and publication as one's own, of the ideas, or the expression of the ideas ... of another." Broadly speaking, plagiarism is failing to give credit for any ideas or expressions of ideas that are not your own.

Plagiarism includes:

  • Direct plagiarism: Copying entire sentences or paragraphs from another source without crediting the source.
  • Mosaic plagiarism: Blending copied words, phrases or ideas in with your own writing without crediting the source.
  • Improper paraphrasing or summarizing: Putting an author's ideas into your own words without crediting the source.

Here are three wrong ways and one right way to use a source:

  • Source paragraph:
    • "No place in the United States is likely to escape a long and deep recession... Some cities and regions will eventually spring back stronger than before. Others may never come back at all. As the crisis deepens, it will permanently and profoundly alter the country’s economic landscape. I believe it marks the end of a chapter in American economic history, and indeed, the end of a whole way of life." (Florida, 2009, para. 4).
    • Florida, R. (2009). "How the crash will reshape America." The Atlantic Monthly, 303(2), 44-56. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/03/how-the-crash-will-reshape-america/7293/.
  • Direct plagiarism:
    • The bursting of the real estate bubble and the subsequent Wall Street meltdown have wreaked economic destruction across the United States.  Some cities and regions will eventually spring back stronger than before.  Others may never come back at all.  As the crisis deepens, it will permanently and profoundly alter the country's economic landscape.
    • In this example, the writer uses half of the source paragraph verbatim without crediting the author, Richard Florida.
  • Mosaic plagiarism:
    • The bursting of the real estate bubble and the subsequent Wall Street meltdown have wreaked economic destruction across the United States, permanently and profounding altering the national economy.
    • In this example, the writer uses Richard Florida's phrasing to describe the effect of the crisis.  "Permanently and profoundly alter" is a strong descriptive phrase, but it is not the writer's own. 
  • Improper paraphrase:
    • The bursting of the real estate bubble and the subsequent Wall Street meltdown have wreaked economic destruction across the United States.  Some regions will probably never recover.
    • In this example, although the writer does not use Richard Florida's words, s/he uses Richard Florida's idea without attribution. 
  • Proper use of source material:
    • The bursting of the real estate bubble and the subsequent Wall Street meltdown have wreaked economic destruction across the United States. Florida predicts that the crisis will reshape America - that it in fact "marks the end of a chapter in American economic history, and indeed, the end of a whole way of life" (2009, para. 4).
    • In this example, the writer introduces Richard Florida's argument, gives credit to Florida for the concept and properly quotes a particularly powerful line from the source paragraph.

Prepared by Laura Anderson and Kathryn Fitzgerald, Rotman School of Management

How to Avoid Plagiarism

For detailed information on how to use sources in your writing, read Appendix D of your BIO 120 Lab Manual.