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Exercise 6

Plagiarism exercise

Are the situations below acceptable? Tick 'yes' or 'no' to find out.

1. You quote from a source without using quote marks, but you give a reference.

yes no 

No. Plagiarism. Even if you give a reference, you must still use quotation marks around a quotation. Your lecturer might not be very angry, but they would tell you to do it again properly and you could be in trouble if you don't get it right next time.

2. You agree with a source, so that makes it your own idea and you don't need to give a reference.

yes no 

No. Plagiarism. Even if you agree with an idea, you must still give the source where you found it.

3. You have an idea which happens to be the same as an idea in a book, but you haven't read the book.

yes no 

Yes. Sometimes you might have the same idea as someone else. However, it is always good to support your ideas by including references to other scholars, so you might need to do more research to support your idea.

4. You read about an idea, but can't remember where you read it so you don't give a reference.

yes no 

No. Plagiarism. Sorry – you will have to look for the source of that idea. If you can't find the original, you may have to use a secondary reference, like this: Smith (2000, in Jones 2014). This means that you read about Smith's idea in a journal article or book by Jones. The work by Jones is what goes in your reference list, because you don't actually have access to Smith's article itself.

5. You work with friends in a laboratory session and share the material to make your own notes.

yes no 

Yes. It is ok to work with others as long as what you submit is your own work (i.e. you wrote it by yourself, even if you did an experiment together).

6. Your friend is sick and you let them copy your assignment.

yes no 

No. Collusion. Never let anyone copy your work. You will both be in trouble. Instead, help your friend to find relevant references if necessary and show them where to get support at the university. In Australia, you can get an extension if you are sick, meaning you have extra time to write your essay.

7. Your friend cannot find any references, so you help them to use the library website.

yes no 

Yes. It is ok to help people, as long as your reference lists are not identical. For example, if you are writing the same essay you might have two references which are the same and eight which are different. There is no fixed number for this, but it is normal that there will be some leading researchers that everyone will refer to.

8. You work with two people in a practical session and all hand up the same report under individual names.

yes no 

No. Collusion. If it is a group report (i.e. a single report with all your names on) it is ok to submit it together. Otherwise, you should each write your own report, even if the facts are the same.

9. You paraphrase a sentence by changing some words and include a reference. e.g. 'The Aztecs introduced cocoa to the Spaniards, who took it back to Europe in the 16th century' (Kraft Foods Australia Pty Ltd, 2011, n.p.) → The Aztecs showed cocoa to the Spanish, who introduced it to Europe in the 16th century (Kraft Foods Australia Pty Ltd, 2011). (NB The abbreviation n.p. means 'no page'. This quotation was from a website, so there were no page numbers. You do not need to include page numbers for paraphrases in APA referencing style, so the paraphrased version does not say n.p.

yes no 

No. Plagiarism. Paraphrasing involves more than just changing a small number of words. To paraphrase, you should restructure the sentence and rewrite the words as far as possible. For example, you could say: The Spanish introduced cocoa to the Europeans in the 1500s, having learned about it from the Aztecs (Kraft Foods Australia Pty Ltd, 2011). There are some words, like Aztec, that you cannot change.

10. You refer to someone's ideas throughout a paragraph and give a reference to the source at the end of the paragraph and in the reference list.

yes no 

No. You are obviously not trying to deceive your reader, but unfortunately this could be seen as plagiarism because it is not clear which ideas belong to the source and which ideas are your own. Where you have several ideas from one source in a paragraph, you need to repeat the source wherever necessary.


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