embracing originality: avoiding plagiarism

Embracing Originality
Avoiding Plagiarism
The Queens University Honor Code, assumes that students: a) are truthful at all times,
b) respect the property of others, and c) are honest in tests, examinations, term papers,
and all other academic assignments.
When you turn in an assignment with your name on it, you are asserting — on your
honor — that it is your own work. Unless you have demonstrated, with proper
documentation, that you are incorporating someone else's ideas or words, you are
asserting the ideas and words are yours and yours alone.
To do otherwise, in any of the work you do for class (be it homework, in-class
writing, essays or research papers), is to plagiarize. Committing plagiarism can get you
This can be intentional or UNINTENTIONAL.
Infractions include: Failing to cite and document sources, using false citations of
sources, claiming papers that have been written by others as your own, using
unintentional incorrect citations and documentation.
Take careful notes. Use your notes as a way to dialogue with what you are reading,
rather than simply copy and restate it.
Summarizing, paraphrasing and quoting are the three main ways in which you will
incorporate your readings, or what you learn in class, or other research you do into what
you write.
A summary can be as little as a sentence capturing the essence of a paragraph or a
paragraph outlining the gist of a page or even chapter. If you take phrases from the
original you need to put quotations around them.
Paraphrasing has you putting the author’s words into your own words. This is NOT
simply taking out a few words or rearranging the order of a paragraph. Even the
paraphrase needs to be cited.
A direct quote is copying THE EXACT WORDS from the source material. Direct
quotes should go in quotation marks EVEN IN YOUR NOTES.
• Don’t look directly at source material as you take your notes. This way you can’t
copy it. You have to remember it and recast it. (But keep the source material close
by so that you can check it afterwards).
• Conservatively define plagiarism for yourself. When in doubt, cite it.
But don’t go overboard. You don’t need to provide citations for general ideas. E.g.
Plagiarism should be avoided is a general idea. To determine if something is a general
idea, or what might be termed “common knowledge,” ask yourself, “Have I encountered
this idea before? Is this information or an idea that came from my own thoughts?”
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