This brief guide will help you avoid plagiarism during the research and writing process.
What is Plagiarism?
The SAIT Academic Calendar states that plagiarism exists "when a student presents work in a course or program of study as if it was the student's own work when, in fact, it is not." Penalties range from a zero grade for the assignment to expulsion from SAIT.
Plagiarism may be accidental or intentional. It includes:
- presenting other persons ideas as your own,
- not using proper citation for quotes and paraphrases,
- not listing information used during research,
- presenting to an instructor work done for another class,
- works which consist largely of quotations, even if properly referenced,
- assignments purchased from a paper mill,
- or works written or substantially revised by someone other than the student.
For the full official policy, go to SAIT.ca and read section "AC3.4.1: Student Code of Conduct".
Tips on Avoiding Plagiarism
Take notes rather than copying blocks of text into your assignment. This is especially important with online resources such as articles, e-journals, e-books and websites. Only copy from the source when recording exact quotes. Taking good notes is the most effective way to avoid accidental plagiarism.
There are three types of note taking used in research:
- summaries reduce source information to its key elements,
- paraphrases use your own words to restate the source material,
- and quotations copy the exact words used in the source information.
Before writing the summary or paraphrase, review the source material a couple of times to make sure you understand what is being said. Then write the summary or paraphrase without looking at the source. This will lessen the chances of accidental plagiarism.
Record Sources of Information
Record all the sources of information consulted during your research, even if you do not expect to include that material in the project or have not taken notes from that source. This includes:
- publication date,
- type of source,
- access date (for online sources such as e-journal articles, e-books, websites, etc.),
- page numbers,
- and any other information which will help you identify the source later on.
Sources include but are not limited to books, articles, e-books, e-journals, government publications and websites.
When writing the assignment use proper citation for paraphrases and quotations. Include a complete works cited list or bibliography. Use citation consistently throughout the assignment.
Our Get Help page has more information on citing sources and doing ethical research.
Consult with your instructor or one of the resources listed below if you are unsure whether a citation is required. When in doubt, cite!
"Common Knowledge" in Academic Writing
A brief discussion of common knowledge and the need for citation in academic writing and research.
Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It
The University of Indiana website provides tips on avoiding plagiarism, including examples of paraphrasing.