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PSYD33: Current Topics in Clinical Psychology

Sumemer 2018

Basics

Test Yourself

Do you know what counts as plagiarism?  Take this online quiz to find out.

What is Plagiarism?

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.

 

Thank you to the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Crime and Punishment

Under U of T's Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, plagiarism is a serious offense. Even if you didn't know you were plagiarizing, you will be found guilty if you should have known - you can't plead ignorance on this issue.

The University takes allegations of plagiarism very seriously. Students found guilty of committing plagiarism face sanctions up to and including suspension or expulsion.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can't I avoid problems just by listing every source in the bibliography? No!

  2. If I put the ideas into my own words, do I still have to clog up my pages with all those names and numbers? Yes!

  3. But I didn't know anything about the subject until I started this paper. Do I have to give an acknowledgement for every point I make? You're safer to over-reference than to skimp.

  4. How can I tell what's my own idea and what has come from somebody else? Careful record-keeping helps. Always write down the author, title and publication information (including the specific identifying information for online publications) so you can attach names and dates to specific ideas.

For detailed answers to all these questions, please visit the "How Not to Plagiarize" page from the University Writing Centre.