PC132 Plagiarism alert
Date Posted: April 21, 2015


The Wilfrid Laurier University calendar says: "plagiarism ... is the unacknowledged presentation, in whole or in part, of the work of others as one's own, whether in written, oral or other form, in an examination, report, assignment, thesis or dissertation". (Academic and research misconduct, Laurier Undergraduate Calendar)

What various departments say about plagiarism :

A search of the university web site for the word "plagiarism" turns up several things, among them the following:

  • "Some people seem to think that if they use someone else's work, but make slight changes in wording, then all they need to do is make reference to the "other" work in the standard way, i.e., (Smith, 1985), and there is no plagiarism involved. This is not true. You must either use direct quotes (with full references, including page numbers) or completely rephrase things in your own words (and even here you must fully reference the original source of the idea(s))." (Avoiding Plagiarism: Psychology General Information, quote from Making sense in psychology and the life sciences: A student's guide to writing and style, by Margot Northey and Brian Timney (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1986, pp. 32-33) 2001.)
How to avoid plagiarism :

Plagiarism is a serious offence, and will be treated that way, but often students are unclear about what it is. The above quotes should help, but here are some more guidelines:

  • If you use the same data as anyone else, this should be clearly documented in your report, whether the data is yours or theirs.
  • If you copy any file, even if you modify it, it is plagiarism unless you clearly document it. (This does not mean you can copy whatever you like as long as it's documented; you still are expected to do your own work. However at least you're not plagiarising if you document your sources properly.)
  • You are responsible for anything in your report. If you answer a question about your report with, "I don't know, my partner did that part", you are guilty of plagiarism, because you are passing of your partner's work as your own.
  • The purpose for working together is to help each other learn. If collaboration is done in order for one or more people to avoid having to learn and/or work, then it is very likely going to involve plagiarism, (and is a no-no for pedagogical reasons anyway.)
  • If you give your data, files, etc. to anyone else and they plagiarise it, you are in trouble as well, because you are aiding their attempt to cheat. Do not give out data, files or anything else without express permission from the lab supervisor. This includes giving others your work to "look at"; if you give it to them, for whatever reason, and they copy it, you have a problem.
  • If you want to talk over ideas with others, do not write while you are discussing; if everyone is on their own when they write up their reports, then the group discussion should not be a problem. However, as in a previous point, do not use group consensus as justification for what you write; discussion with anyone else should be to help you sort out your thoughts, not to get the "right answers" for you to parrot.

Look at the following from the Writing Centre, How to use sources and avoid plagiarism. Also, the former Assistant Dean of Science provides some comments on his web page including a reference to Plagiarism: what it is and how to recognize and avoid it

Consequences:

Sanctions and Procedures for investigation and discipline in cases of allegations of academic or research misconduct by undergraduate students are clearly laid out in the Laurier Undergraduate Calendar.


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