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Plagiarism: FAQs

What is Plagiarism?

How Common is Plagiarism?

  • In a 2002-2003 survey of Canadian undergraduate students, 37% reported plagiarizing at least once during the past year (Christensen Hughes and McCabe).
  • In a 2011 survey of Canadian undergraduate students, 30% reported plagiarizing at least once since starting university (Jurdi et al.).

How do You Avoid Plagiarizing?

  • Use quotation marks or block indents to indicate when you quote another person's words.
  • Your paraphrases should not closely resemble the sentences you are paraphrasing. See six steps to effective paraphrasing.
  • Cite the source you are quoting or paraphrasing.
  • For further information please see these books or ask a librarian.


"How can you make sure that you are paraphrasing and not plagiarizing? First of all, a paraphrase is generally much shorter than the original. But there are cases in which the author of a sentence or fairly short paragraph says very juicy things. In this case, your paraphrase should be very long, probably longer than the original passage. . . . The most reassuring test of your paraphrases will come when you are able to paraphrase the text without looking at it. This will mean not only that you have avoided plagiarism, but also that you have understood the text you are paraphrasing" (Eco 165).

Plagiarism is Unprofessional

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Works Cited

Christensen Hughes, Julia M., and Donald L. McCabe. "Academic Misconduct within Higher Education in Canada." Canadian Journal of Higher Education, vol. 36, no. 2, 2006, pp. 1-21,

Eco, Umberto. How to Write a Thesis. MIT P, 2015.

Jurdi, Rozzet, et al. "Academic Dishonesty in the Canadian Classroom: Behaviours of a Sample of University Students." Canadian Journal of Higher Education, vol. 41, no. 3, 2011, pp. 1-35,

Storey, William Kelleher. Writing History: A Guide for Students. 5th ed. Oxford UP, 2016.