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 Guidelines To Avoid Plagiarism

From Dr. Paula Goolkasian

Plagiarism is a serious matter. It is an annoyance to your professor, unfair to your classmates, and destructive of the process of university education. Most students believe they know what plagiarism is. Some of them are wrong.

Guideline 1

ANY PART OF YOUR PAPER WHICH CONTAINS THE EXACT WORDS OF AN AUTHOR MUST APPEAR IN QUOTATION MARKS, WITH THE AUTHOR'S NAME,AND THE DATE OF PUBLICATION AND PAGE NUMBER OF THE SOURCE ATTACHED.

Examples:
According to Smith (1977), "The child may be father to the man but the man is also father to the child" (p. 43).

Bower (1949) has stated that "Life is for the living" (p. 53).

It is as true today as 100 years ago that "Psychology is no science; it is only the hope of a science" (James, 1892, p. 311).

However, a quotation of more than 40 words is reproduced in an indented paragraph without quotation marks but with the necessary identifying information.

Use quotations only in special cases, such as when the information is particularly concise or striking in its original form. Excessive use of quotations suggests that the student does not understand the material sufficiently well to provide an effective paraphrase (as in Guideline 3), or is simply attempting to use up space in the paper.

Guideline 2

MATERIAL SHOULD NOT BE ADAPTED WITH ONLY MINOR CHANGES, SUCH AS COMBINING SENTENCES, OMITTING PHRASES, CHANGING A FEW WORDS, OR INVERTING SENTENCE ORDER.

It is a common but serious student error to submit a paper which consists of a pieced-together collection of writings from various sources, in which sentence structure and a few words here and there have been altered, and in which the source author's name has been inserted at irregular intervals. EVEN THOUGH THE AUTHOR HAS BEEN CREDITED, THIS IS STILL PLAGIARISM, because there is nothing to indicate to the reader that the style and phrasing are those of the source author and not the student.


Example:
(original version):

When he is both awake and contented the young infant's
main preoccupation is looking--either in exploring the
environment or in examining particular parts of it more
carefully. No reinforcement is needed for this response
other than the presence of sufficiently interesting sights.

(plagiarized version):

The young infant's main preoccupation, when both awake
and contented is looking. He explores the environment or
examines particular parts of it more carefully. The only
reinforcement needed for this response is the presence of
sufficiently interesting sights (Fantz, 1969, p. 48).

The second version is too close to the original to be considered your own summary. In this case, you should use the author's exact words set in quotation marks.

(acceptable version):

According to Fantz (1969, p.48) an awake and content
infant is primarily concerned with examining his
environment. Fantz argues that this response is maintained
solely by the reinforcement provided by the interesting
sight itself.

This version is acceptable because it is a true summary in the student's own words rather than the thinly disguised words of the author. The student is also careful to remind the reader that the
ideas are those of Fantz ("according to Fantz"; "Fantz argues").

Guideline 3

IF WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY IS SUBSTANTIALLY YOUR OWN WORDS, BUT THE FACTS OR IDEAS ARE TAKEN FROM A PARTICULAR AUTHOR, THEN OMIT THE QUOTATION MARKS AND REFERENCE WITH A BRACKETED CITATION, SUCH AS (Jones, 1949).

Examples:

Skinner (1945) states that...

According to Melzack and Brown (1965, p. 44)...

Babies have an innate preference for the human face (Fantz & Ryerson, 1970).

Piaget (1952) opened our eyes to the fact that...

It can be argued (Lorenz, 1943, ch. 3) that...

How we construe ourselves, as Kelly (1955) puts it, is...


The page or chapter number is given whenever it may be difficult to locate the passage in the source. In practice, page numbers are always provided for citations to books, but usually not for journal articles (but always for direct quotations).

Guideline 4

ALWAYS ACKNOWLEDGE "SECONDARY SOURCES".

A "secondary source" differs from a "primary source" in that the information comes from one author writing about what another author said, rather than directly from the original author.

A student will sometimes try to create the impression of having read widely by citing a large number of papers, none of which have actually been read. Instead, the citations are obtained from a review article or a textbook, and it is the review author's statements about these studies that are the source of the information. In order to avoid plagiarism, the secondary source that was used must be cited in your paper. Moreover, simply reading the article over in the original does not then give you the right to borrow comments about it from a secondary source unless that secondary source is fully acknowledged in your paper.

Examples:

Melzack (1973) has reviewed the work of Livingston (1943) and Geldard
(1960) and concludes...

According to Skinner (1975), the approach used by Maslow (1957)...

Babies have an innate preference for the human face (Fantz, 1970; as cited in Scarr, 1973).

Note:
a) Your reference list should contain only the secondary sources. In the above example, these would be Melzack (1973), Skinner(1975), and Scarr (1973).

b) Secondary sources, when properly acknowledged, are "legal". However, it is recommended that you use primary sources whenever possible. Even if you successfully convert a review into your own words, it will still be someone else's analysis of a particular problem, not your own, and therefore unoriginal. Moreover, interesting insights are more likely to come from studying the original work rather than a second-hand account of it. Rather than citing secondary sources such as review articles, instead use them to obtain references to the primary literature, which are then consulted directly. This will demonstrate your ability to critically review and organize scholarly material, not someone else's.


Guideline 5

EVERY STATEMENT OF FACT, AND EVERY IDEA OR OPINION NOT YOUR OWN MUST BE REFERENCED UNLESS THE ITEM IS PART OF COMMON KNOWLEDGE.

Some judgment must be used in deciding whether an item requires a reference. When you are uncertain, either check with your professor or err on the side of excessive acknowledgement.


Examples:

Psychologists study human behavior. (No reference required.)

Psychology is the study of behaving man in a stimulating environment (Black, 1979).

A person can be considered a type of machine. (No reference required.)

A person can be considered a type of holographic microcomputer (Jones, 1977).

Guideline 6

DO NOT HAND IN FOR CREDIT A PAPER WHICH IS THE SAME OR SIMILAR TO ONE YOU HAVE HANDED IN ELSEWHERE.

It is dishonest to claim course credit more than once for essentially the same work. In addition, it deprives you of the opportunity of researching and gaining knowledge on different topics, one of the aims of a university education. It also goes without saying that you must not submit (wholly, or in part) the work of another student as your own, or purchase papers for submission.

Guideline 7

IT IS PERMISSIBLE TO ASK SOMEONE TO CRITICIZE A COMPLETED PAPER BEFORE YOU SUBMIT IT, AND TO BRING TO YOUR ATTENTION ERRORS IN LOGIC, GRAMMAR, PUNCTUATION, SPELLING, AND EXPRESSION. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT PERMISSIBLE TO HAVE ANOTHER PERSON RE-WRITE ANY PORTION OF YOUR PAPER,OR TO HAVE ANOTHER PERSON TRANSLATE INTO ENGLISH FOR YOU A PAPER WHICH YOU HAVE WRITTEN IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE.

Students whose first language is not English, or who have a history of difficulties in writing are particularly encouraged to seek help from other students. However, any paper can benefit from the comments of another reader before the work is submitted. Nevertheless, the student should ensure that this process of critical review does not go beyond generally-acceptable limits to the point where an unacknowledged individual makes a significant contribution to your work. "Ghost-writing" is not tolerated in scholarly work.

 

Guidelines To Avoid Plagiarism

From Dr. Paula Goolkasian

Plagiarism is a serious matter. It is an annoyance to your professor, unfair to your classmates, and destructive of the process of university education. Most students believe they know what plagiarism is. Some of them are wrong.

Guideline 1

ANY PART OF YOUR PAPER WHICH CONTAINS THE EXACT WORDS OF AN AUTHOR MUST APPEAR IN QUOTATION MARKS, WITH THE AUTHOR'S NAME,AND THE DATE OF PUBLICATION AND PAGE NUMBER OF THE SOURCE ATTACHED.

Examples:
According to Smith (1977), "The child may be father to the man but the man is also father to the child" (p. 43).

Bower (1949) has stated that "Life is for the living" (p. 53).

It is as true today as 100 years ago that "Psychology is no science; it is only the hope of a science" (James, 1892, p. 311).

However, a quotation of more than 40 words is reproduced in an indented paragraph without quotation marks but with the necessary identifying information.

Use quotations only in special cases, such as when the information is particularly concise or striking in its original form. Excessive use of quotations suggests that the student does not understand the material sufficiently well to provide an effective paraphrase (as in Guideline 3), or is simply attempting to use up space in the paper.

Guideline 2

MATERIAL SHOULD NOT BE ADAPTED WITH ONLY MINOR CHANGES, SUCH AS COMBINING SENTENCES, OMITTING PHRASES, CHANGING A FEW WORDS, OR INVERTING SENTENCE ORDER.

It is a common but serious student error to submit a paper which consists of a pieced-together collection of writings from various sources, in which sentence structure and a few words here and there have been altered, and in which the source author's name has been inserted at irregular intervals. EVEN THOUGH THE AUTHOR HAS BEEN CREDITED, THIS IS STILL PLAGIARISM, because there is nothing to indicate to the reader that the style and phrasing are those of the source author and not the student.


Example:
(original version):

When he is both awake and contented the young infant's
main preoccupation is looking--either in exploring the
environment or in examining particular parts of it more
carefully. No reinforcement is needed for this response
other than the presence of sufficiently interesting sights.

(plagiarized version):

The young infant's main preoccupation, when both awake
and contented is looking. He explores the environment or
examines particular parts of it more carefully. The only
reinforcement needed for this response is the presence of
sufficiently interesting sights (Fantz, 1969, p. 48).

The second version is too close to the original to be considered your own summary. In this case, you should use the author's exact words set in quotation marks.

(acceptable version):

According to Fantz (1969, p.48) an awake and content
infant is primarily concerned with examining his
environment. Fantz argues that this response is maintained
solely by the reinforcement provided by the interesting
sight itself.

This version is acceptable because it is a true summary in the student's own words rather than the thinly disguised words of the author. The student is also careful to remind the reader that the
ideas are those of Fantz ("according to Fantz"; "Fantz argues").

Guideline 3

IF WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY IS SUBSTANTIALLY YOUR OWN WORDS, BUT THE FACTS OR IDEAS ARE TAKEN FROM A PARTICULAR AUTHOR, THEN OMIT THE QUOTATION MARKS AND REFERENCE WITH A BRACKETED CITATION, SUCH AS (Jones, 1949).

Examples:

Skinner (1945) states that...

According to Melzack and Brown (1965, p. 44)...

Babies have an innate preference for the human face (Fantz & Ryerson, 1970).

Piaget (1952) opened our eyes to the fact that...

It can be argued (Lorenz, 1943, ch. 3) that...

How we construe ourselves, as Kelly (1955) puts it, is...


The page or chapter number is given whenever it may be difficult to locate the passage in the source. In practice, page numbers are always provided for citations to books, but usually not for journal articles (but always for direct quotations).

Guideline 4

ALWAYS ACKNOWLEDGE "SECONDARY SOURCES".

A "secondary source" differs from a "primary source" in that the information comes from one author writing about what another author said, rather than directly from the original author.

A student will sometimes try to create the impression of having read widely by citing a large number of papers, none of which have actually been read. Instead, the citations are obtained from a review article or a textbook, and it is the review author's statements about these studies that are the source of the information. In order to avoid plagiarism, the secondary source that was used must be cited in your paper. Moreover, simply reading the article over in the original does not then give you the right to borrow comments about it from a secondary source unless that secondary source is fully acknowledged in your paper.

Examples:

Melzack (1973) has reviewed the work of Livingston (1943) and Geldard
(1960) and concludes...

According to Skinner (1975), the approach used by Maslow (1957)...

Babies have an innate preference for the human face (Fantz, 1970; as cited in Scarr, 1973).

Note:
a) Your reference list should contain only the secondary sources. In the above example, these would be Melzack (1973), Skinner(1975), and Scarr (1973).

b) Secondary sources, when properly acknowledged, are "legal". However, it is recommended that you use primary sources whenever possible. Even if you successfully convert a review into your own words, it will still be someone else's analysis of a particular problem, not your own, and therefore unoriginal. Moreover, interesting insights are more likely to come from studying the original work rather than a second-hand account of it. Rather than citing secondary sources such as review articles, instead use them to obtain references to the primary literature, which are then consulted directly. This will demonstrate your ability to critically review and organize scholarly material, not someone else's.


Guideline 5

EVERY STATEMENT OF FACT, AND EVERY IDEA OR OPINION NOT YOUR OWN MUST BE REFERENCED UNLESS THE ITEM IS PART OF COMMON KNOWLEDGE.

Some judgment must be used in deciding whether an item requires a reference. When you are uncertain, either check with your professor or err on the side of excessive acknowledgement.


Examples:

Psychologists study human behavior. (No reference required.)

Psychology is the study of behaving man in a stimulating environment (Black, 1979).

A person can be considered a type of machine. (No reference required.)

A person can be considered a type of holographic microcomputer (Jones, 1977).

Guideline 6

DO NOT HAND IN FOR CREDIT A PAPER WHICH IS THE SAME OR SIMILAR TO ONE YOU HAVE HANDED IN ELSEWHERE.

It is dishonest to claim course credit more than once for essentially the same work. In addition, it deprives you of the opportunity of researching and gaining knowledge on different topics, one of the aims of a university education. It also goes without saying that you must not submit (wholly, or in part) the work of another student as your own, or purchase papers for submission.

Guideline 7

IT IS PERMISSIBLE TO ASK SOMEONE TO CRITICIZE A COMPLETED PAPER BEFORE YOU SUBMIT IT, AND TO BRING TO YOUR ATTENTION ERRORS IN LOGIC, GRAMMAR, PUNCTUATION, SPELLING, AND EXPRESSION. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT PERMISSIBLE TO HAVE ANOTHER PERSON RE-WRITE ANY PORTION OF YOUR PAPER,OR TO HAVE ANOTHER PERSON TRANSLATE INTO ENGLISH FOR YOU A PAPER WHICH YOU HAVE WRITTEN IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE.

Students whose first language is not English, or who have a history of difficulties in writing are particularly encouraged to seek help from other students. However, any paper can benefit from the comments of another reader before the work is submitted. Nevertheless, the student should ensure that this process of critical review does not go beyond generally-acceptable limits to the point where an unacknowledged individual makes a significant contribution to your work. "Ghost-writing" is not tolerated in scholarly work.

Return to Opening Page PSYC 4650