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Importance of properly citing sources for scholarship and accurracy

 Evaluating your sources

Example Article - Scholary original research in the field of psychology

Plagiarism: Its Impact and Importance for College Students and the Scholarly Process

Defining Plagiarism

According to the MLA Handbook, Seventh Ed (p 52):

"Plagiarism involves two kind of wrongs. Using another person's ideas, information, or expressions without acknowledging that person's work constitutes intellectual theft. Passing off another person's ideas, information, or expressions as your own to get a better grade or gain some advantage constitutes fraud."

Incidence of Plagiarism - Is it Increasing?

  • Rate of plagiarism for college and high school students is difficult to access.
    - Anywhere from 9% – 95% has been reported in different studies. (Scanlon 2003)
    - 24.5 % of the 698 undergraduates on nine campuses reported having "sometimes," "very frequently," or "often" cut and pasted from the Internet into a paper without citation;
    - 90 % thought their peers had done so "often," "very frequently," or "sometimes."
    Survey by Scanlon and Neumann (2002)
  • Incidence for plagiarizing from print materials is slightly higher than for plagiarizing Internet sources (McCabe 2005)
  • At schools with Honor Codes, incidence of self-reported plagiarism is less
    (McCabe 1993)
  • Using online tools to complete assignements is associated with plagiarism
    (Roberts 2012)
  • Self reporting of cheating is just as high for good students versus poor students
    (McCabe 2010)

McCabe (2005)- Cheating on Written Assignments


Ellison, Jerome. "American Disgrace: COLLEGE CHEATING." Saturday Evening Post 232.28 (????) -
- Any idea when the following was published?

Saturday Evening Post

Cheating is Widespread in College, but Why? - NPR Talk of the Nation

Plagiarism Infractions

Image Biden. Click image to expand.

Scale of Infractions – Rate the following for seriousness of the Infraction

Minor 1 .. ……………………………………………………………>>>> 10 Major

Paper Mill _____

Paraphrase but don’t cite source _____

(Self-plagiarism) Borrower borrows from their own previous work ______

Using information from Wikipedia but not citing the source as it is "common knowledge"_____

Copying and pasting from the web (and not citing) _______

Getting confused, can’t find the source and cites incorrectly ______

Student mentions writer’s name, but doesn’t give specifics of the source ________

Copying and pasting from a web site’s frequently asked questions page about homelessness and not citing the source because no author was given _______

Putting an ad on Craigslist for someone to write your paper _______

Working with others on an assignment when asked for individual work __________

Question to Consider 

  • Despite the Internet and ease of use copying and pasting, it can not be documented that incidence of plagiarism has increased or escalated over time – What reasons might plagiarism not have increased?
  • The perception is that plagiarism is increasing. What is driving this perception?
  • Is plagiarism a “victimless” offense? Does the perception that others peers are doing so have an affect among students?
  • Is not being taught how to cite sources by professors an excuse for having plagiarized?
  • Why are print sources plagiarized more than Internet sources?
  • Is the inclination to plagiarize indicative of future lapses of ethical behavior?
  • Is plagiarism culturally neutral? How do other cultures view plagiarism?


McCabe, Donald L. “Cheating among college and university students: A North American perspective.” International Journal for Educational Integrity, 1.1( 2005): 15 Oct. 2008 http://www.ojs.unisa.edu.au/index.php/IJEI/article/view/14

McCabe, Donald L. Interview. Cheating In College Is Widespread — But Why? Talk of the Nation  NPR 19 Jul. 2010. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5205929

McCabe, D.L. and L.K. Tevino. Honor Codes and other Contextual Influences. Journal of Higher Education 1993 64 (5): 522-38

Lovett-Hooper, Gwena, et al. "Is Plagiarism a Forerunner of Other Deviance? Imagined Futures of Academically Dishonest Students." Ethics & Behavior 17.3 (2007): 323-336. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 8 Oct. 2009.

Roberts, Jeffrey, and David Wasieleski. "Moral Reasoning In Computer-Based Task Environments: Exploring The Interplay Between Cognitive And Technological Factors On Individuals' Propensity To Break Rules." Journal Of Business Ethics 110.3 (2012): 355-376. Business Source Complete. Web. 25 Oct. 2012.

Scanlon, Patrick M. "Student Online Plagiarism." College Teaching 51.4 (2003): 161-165. Academic Search Premier. 5 October 2006. http://search.ebscohost.com.

Scanlon Patrick M, Neumann David R. "Internet plagiarism among
college students." Journal of College Student Development 43.3 (2002): 374. ProQuest Education Journals. ProQuest. 5 Oct. 2006 http://www.proquest.com/

Saint Michael's College Academic Integrity Policy

Plagiarism and the Web: Myths and Realities 2011 Turnitin Study

Citing Sources

MLA Handbook is "recently" revised to a new Seventh Edition

1. Give publication medium: Print, Web, Microfilm, Radio, Television, DVD, Film, and more!

2. Urls are no longer given

3. No longer have to underline titles, instead italicize

Example Citations Below: New York Times article:


“Guilty of Plagiarism" New York Times 8 Mar. 1889: 1. Print.

 Web - From a database

 “Guilty of Plagiarism" New York Times 8 Mar. 1889: 1. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2004). Web. 4 Oct. 2007 <http://www.proquest.com/>


 “Guilty of Plagiarism" New York Times 8 Mar. 1889: 1. Microfilm.

Other Citation Styles: APA, Chicago, Other discipline specific (Chemistry, Biology, Jounalism) 

RefWorks allows you to import references from online databases, organize your references into folders, and then create bibliographies. You can select from a variety of style forms (eg APA, MLA). RefWorks is free to the SMC community and available from any computer with Internet access.

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