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Cheating and Plagiarism

Submitted by burnsc on Tue July 22, 2014 - 10:28am

What constitutes cheating?

Cheating includes any attempt on the part of a student to obtain information illegally during an examination or quiz (including the use of electronic devices or notes). It also includes any attempt to falsify or tamper with answers on a graded assignment, quiz or examination with the intent of obtaining a higher grade.

What is Plagiarism?

You are expected to write original papers for all courses at the University of Calgary—all writing that you do must be yours, and yours alone. This does not mean that your writing cannot include the ideas of others, but it must be made clear which ideas are yours and which belong to others. Plagiarism is essentially theft and ranges from obvious examples such as purchasing a paper and submitting it as your own work to paraphrasing portions of a text, journal article or information published on the world-wide web without indicating the source of the ideas. Plagiarism also includes copying all or part of another student's assignment and submitting it as if it were your own work.
There are many different ways that information can be plagiarized and all are considered to be serious offences. Plagiarism includes the following:

  • Copying material word-for-word from a source. This is considered plagiarism even if you cite the source unless the information is in quotation marks. However, be aware that quotations are rarely used in scientific writing (see below).
  • Paraphrasing material without citing the source.
  • Paraphrasing large portions of a paper or text without explaining the information in your own words even if you include a citation.
  • Using the ideas of someone else without giving them credit.

Do Scientists Use Quotations?

Except when quotations are used, it is not permissible to cut and paste text. Quotations are rarely used in scientific papers. Many disciplines use quotations as a way to most clearly represent an author's ideas. In science, quotations are rarely, if ever, used, because there are few instances where paraphrasing would significantly change the meaning of an idea. Quotations can be used if you are quoting a statement that a famous scientist has said; for instance:

“It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot, irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.” (Jacob Bronowski, 2006).

In this case, changing the words would substantially change the meaning and eloquence of the statements. In all other cases, you should be putting the ideas or facts in your own words first, and then cite their source. When used, quotations must be clearly marked as such and the specific source, including page number, must be cited.

Remember, papers and reports, or parts thereof, that were prepared for one class can not be submitted as part of the requirements for another.  The general rules regarding written assignments are:

  • All written work must be in your own words. Even if you work together with another student on an assignment, the final work you submit must be your own. The submission of work that has been copied in whole or in part from another student is considered plagiarism.
  • Make sure you reference all sources of information. Use the format requested by the instructors in your courses. Be aware that different instructors prefer different methods of citation, just as different journal prefer different methods of citation. Failure to cite a reference could be considered as plagiarism.
  • All work submitted for credit must be original work. It cannot be taken from a previous assignment, even if it was your own.

Along with plagiarism, one can easily violate copyright laws. The authors of much of the material on the Web hold copyright. Cutting and pasting figures and tables from the Web will usually violate copyright EVEN IF YOU REFERENCE THE SOURCE. If material is copyrighted, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder before you use the material, and then it must be referenced appropriately as well. Whenever you include figures in a paper, you should either design them yourself or you should discuss with your instructor how they should be correctly used. Tables should not be imported wholesale into your papers. Rather, specific data that directly pertains to your paper must be set in a table that has a structure that fits the nature of your paper. For both figures and tables you must cite the source of your information.