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Library Lessons: Plagiarism & How to Avoid It

What is Plagiarism? An Overview from Scribbr

1. Plagiarism - Definition and Word Origin


The practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own.

Early 17th century: from Latin plagiarius ‘kidnapper’ (from plagium ‘a kidnapping’, from Greek plagion) + -ism.

Oxford English Dictionary

2. Academic Dishonesty - Cheating or Plagiarism

Sutherland Code of Conduct

Staff who suspect students of cheating on assessments or handing in assignments completed by other individuals without appropriate acknowledgement, or of otherwise being academically dishonest, will inform the grade administrator and the incident will be investigated. 

Potential Consequences for 1st INCIDENCE of Academic Dishonesty:

  • not being given credit for the test or assignment (receiving 0 credit)
  • other classroom level consequences may be designated by the classroom teacher
  • grade counsellor and parent/guardian contact
  • conduct entry on student information system
  • other teachers of student made aware of student  behaviour
  • deemed ineligible for recognition, awards, and/or scholarships
  • declined request for reference letters

A subsequent incident in any course could result in:

  • all of the above consequences
  • a letter in the student's permanent file
  • a failing grade and/or removal from the course

p. 23 - Agenda Book

3. Google Search

Search Plagiarism in Google

Write down the number of results retrieved.


EBSCO Research Databases

Search Plagiarism in EBSCO

Write down the number of results retrieved.

6. Melanie Trump and Michelle Obama side-by-side comparison

from CNN

7. You Quote It, You Note It!

You Quote it, You Note it!

Do the Plagiarism Tutorial from Acadia University. Click on the above link.

Write down your character

Write down your score

8. Paraphrasing - Why Paraphrase?

Paraphrasing is putting someone else's words into your own words.   

It shows an understanding of the subject and academic honesty. 

Read carefully because you cannot paraphrase something you do not understand.

What is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is putting something into your own words the ideas or thoughts of someone else.   Restatement of a piece of text giving the meaning. (A summary is a brief review of content  which provides the reader with the main ideas but does not expand on any of the content).

Why do we need to paraphrase?

  • To better understand something you have read.
  • When writing, we include source material as evidence to support our argument(s).  OR we may believe the evidence to be invalid and want to argue against it.  Ideas that are not our own must be represented accurately and clearly. 
  • Using another author's exact words when not directly quoted is plagiarism or academic dishonesty.

Characteristics of a good paraphrase:

  • Includes only the author's ideas.
  • Is accurate and fair.
  • Is entirely in your own words.
  • Is properly cited.

9. How to Paraphrase

Read and Understand

  • Read the source material carefully so that you understand it. 
  • Identify the main ideas/claims and pieces of evidence.
  • When taking notes from a source, write them in your own words - this helps avoid plagiarism later.
  • Make sure you cite the source.

Strategies for Paraphrasing

  • Do not paraphrase more than a paragraph at a time.
  • Reword - replace vocabulary with synonyms when you can - a thesaurus is good for this.  Names, titles and dates etc., cannot be replaced.
  • Rearrange words to make a new sentence. Change the order of ideas presented in a paragraph if it makes sense.
  • If the ideas are complex break them down into smaller pieces.
  • Read the text - look away and pretend you are explaining this to someone who doesn't know anything about it.  Put into your own words using your writing style.
  • Paraphrase only what is key to your purpose.
  • Make sure you represent the author clearly.
  • Recheck to ensure that your paraphrase has the same meaning as the author.
  • Indicate that the ideas presented are attributed to the author.

10. Paraphrasing 4 R's

Rearrange: Can you move some words or phrases around?

Reword: Can you replace any words with synonyms?

Realize: Some information (names, dates, titles, etc.) cannot be changed.

Recheck: Did you include the important information? Does it make sense?

11. Watch: Citation: A (Very) Brief Introduction

12. Citing Sources - APA Citation: Reference List

13. Citing Sources - MLA Style

14. Plagiarism Rap (Cite Your Sources)

from the University of Alberta

15. Academic Integrity Policies - Post Secondary

Academic Integrity Policies from Post Secondary Institutions

CAPU - Academic Integrity

SFU   - Avoiding Plagiarism

UBC  - Avoiding Plagiarism

UBC  - Plagiarism Fail Degree

Plagiarism - from SNL