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Copyright, Plagiarism and Academic Honesty


Almost anything that can be published – a book, a newspaper article, a website, a work of art – is protected under copyright law. Copyright Infringement is the copying or use of a work without authorization from its creator. There are limited exceptions for educational research but in all of theses cases the creator of the work needs to be acknowledged. Plagiarism is a form of copyright infringement. It occurs when you use a phrase, quote or idea, without properly acknowledging the source and try to pass the work off as your own. Academic Honesty is an understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and acting ethically and honestly to avoid it.

Plagiarism comes in numerous forms. It may be words or sentences where you did not use quotations to reference them. It may be someone else’s ideas that you paraphrased, in our own words, but did not acknowledge the source of the information. These omissions leave you open to suspicion.

Here are some tips to avoid plagiarism when doing research:

  • Make jot notes when reading for research
  • Use skimming and scanning techniques
  • Use graphic organizers
  • Use your own words and ideas to answer your questions
  • Create a list of sources used
  • Use quotations if quotes or exact words have been used
  • Give credit where credit is due
  • When in doubt, acknowledge the source of your information

Using the numerous tools in your Research Toolkit should ensure that the work you produce is your own. If you have gone through the process of note-making and have been careful not to copy directly from a text, then it is unlikely that you will be suspected of plagiarism.

For more information on Copyright, check the Library and Archives Canada web page on Copyright for Students.

RESEARCH TIPSNEXT Using Primary and Secondary Sources

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