“Society needs citizens who have respect for others and who understand their responsibilities in participating in a safe and lawful society. Issues such as plagiarism, privacy, intellectual property, copyright, bias, stereotyping and gender all require deep understanding, as well as reasoned acceptance or rejection. With today’s nearly unlimited amount of information available and vast amounts of unfettered content to be shared, these considerations have become even more sensitive and significant” (Together for Learning 29).

Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, a revised plagiarism and cheating policy is in place across the WRDSB. As a result of this it is as important as ever that students understand what plagiarism is, and how to avoid committing this academic offense in completing assignments.

The Ontario Ministry of Education document Growing Success states:

“Students must understand that the tests/exams they complete and the assignments they submit for evaluation must be their own work and that cheating and plagiarism will not be condoned” (Growing Success 42).

Within the WRDSB, the newly released Assessment, Evaluation, and Reporting Handbook states:

“Students are responsible for being academically honest in all aspects of their schoolwork” (Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting Handbook 21).

What Is Plagiarism?

The site www.plagiarism.org offers a comprehensive definition and explanation of exactly what constitues plagiarism–click here and read all about it.

The organization also offers a summary of the most common types of plagiarism seen in the academic world. They rank them from the most serious, deliberate and egregious offense, which they call “Cloning” all the way down to cited material that is not paraphrased thouroughly enough. Read about the different types of plagiarism here. Have you committed any of these offenses?

What does all this mean for you, the student?

Here is the official word on plagiarism:

“Students at Southwood will be responsible and only hand in assignments that are of their own work/creation to demonstrate that they have met the curriculum expectations. They will responsibly use sources when completing assignments, reports, and essays, and give credit to all sources. To cheat or plagiarize is to be dishonest with your teachers, peers, and sources, and yourself.

In the event that cheating or plagiarism occurs, the following consequences may be implemented, in consultation with administration:

•The student will redo all or part of the assignment or assessment; or

•The student will complete an alternate assignment or assessment; or

•The student’s work will be treated as a missed assignment.

•Additionally, the student may face disciplinary action (e.g., suspension, detention) and loss of access to academic awards and scholarship opportunities.

•Parents/guardians will be informed about the infraction and the consequences.”

As you can see, plagiarism is a serious offense, and carries serious consequences. This means that you need to understand what it is, and how to complete your assignments with academic and personal integrity.


Why Do Students Plagiarize?

These are the most common reasons reported in plagiarism cases when offenders have been asked why the offense happened:

1.They are used to a collaborative model of knowledge production.

2.They are learning and do not understand how to effectively paraphrase yet.

3.They do not understand that they need citations for facts, figures, ideas, and images, as well as direct quotations.

4.They are sloppy or careless. Neglect during the notetaking process leaves them unable to source accurately.

5.They do not understand why sources are important.

6.They do not know how to integrate source material into their own argument

7.They are providing facts, “the truth” or an answer that they consider static knowledge belonging to everyone.

8.They lack confidence in their own thinking.

9.They panic due to time management or other anxiety issues.

10.They are lazy and looking for a short cut.

From : http://academicintegrity.depaul.edu/Top10.pdf


Essential Skills

What is Plagiarism? Students will be able to:

• define plagiarism

• identify types of plagiarism

• identify real world and potential consequences of plagiarism

How do students avoid Plagiarizing?

Students will be able to:

• paraphrase

• use note taking templates

• accurately document and cite sources – e.g. source logs and citation guides for each type of resource (book, Virtual Library resource, web site, image, etc.)

Can You Identify Plagiarism?

Please right click this link to open and view the attached powerpoint on plagiarism and paraphrasing.

When you are done reading this material play the review game Goblin Threat .

How Do You Avoid Plagiarizing?

We have wonderful resources in this library, and in the WRDSB Learning Commons to help you do things right. Advice on Note-taking. The Plagiarism.org site also has a very thorough section on citing correctly that is a terrific, clearly explained resource. Citation on Plagiarism.org .

Here at Southwood, you also have easy access to research templates and source logs where you can record your research notes, and the source information. These forms can be found in the plexi display units sitting on the counter beside the computer area in the library. There is a different colour form for each source type.

As well, you can access these forms digitally through the Learning Commons: Notetaking Templates

Students can also access a digital version of the Southwood Source Log and a number of Citation Guides through the Student Resources page maintained by our library.

You can come back to these resources to double check that you are paraphrasing and citing correctly when doing your assignments. Do not assume you are doing it right–confirm it!


Let’s Practise

Now that you know what plagiarisim and paraphrasing, and citations and Works Cited/Bibliographies, are let’s do some work on applying those skills. Here is a sample of two sources of information a student found while doing research on fairy tales for a research project in English.

Sample Source One

Monsters and Mythical Creatures: Elves and Fairies, by Kris Hirschmann. Published by ReferencePoint Press, Inc in San Diego, in 2013. Passage found on p.19

“Fairy magic goes much further than a few makeover tricks. Just as they can change their own appearance, fairies can also alter the looks of objects, places, and living beings. They are notorious, for instance, for handing out rocks and leaves disguised as gold coins. They can make a barren cave or a weed-filled meadow seem like a luxurious palace. They can even transform people. Legends tell of fairies making ugly people beautiful – or, sometimesthe reverse. More than one young, attractive person is said to have become old and hideous at an angry fairy’s hands.”


Sample Source Two

“Chapter V: The Magic Motif.” From the book American Young Adult Novels & Their European Fairy-Tale Motifs. Written by Lucia Huang. Published by Peter Lang Publishing Inc. in 1999. Found on Pages 83-95. Accessed online through Literary Reference Centre Plus on February 3, 2014. URL of article: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lkh&AN=19348908&site=lrc-plus

“Magic is one characteristic that distinguishes the fairy tale from other literary genres. In fairy tales, there are magic figures: a cannibalistic giant, a friendly dwarf, a wicked witch. There are magic objects: a bird that lays golden eggs, magic water that can restore one’s life, a cloak that can make whoever wears it invisible. Magic power dominates many fairy tales: a handsome prince is transformed into a frog by an evil power, a cat can be omniscient, a magic kiss from a prince can disenchant a beautiful princess who has slept for one hundred years. These magic events appear repeatedly in the fairy tale.”


Select the appropriate research template for each source from the display holders, and record point-form paraphrased notes (ie summarize the important main ideas IN YOUR OWN WORDS) for the important details, as well as source information.

Then use the source log (yellow form) samples and information to construct a correctly formatted bibliographic entry for each and make a Works Cited page. Remember that sources listed on a Works Cited are listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, or if no author, by the first main word in the title (not The, A, or An).

When you have completed this activity, show your notes and Works Cited to the librarian or your teacher for feedback on how you did, and then make corrections if necessary.

Tell Us How You Think You Did

Now that you have completed the activities, follow this link to a survey about your lesson on plagiarism, complete it and submit it!