Here are some helpful guidelines on avoiding plagiarism — and the accompanying disciplinary penalties — from J. Raymond Hendrickson's book The Research Paper (Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1957).
- When writing a paper try to use your own words the majority of the time.
- When you do use another person's words, use quotation marks and give credit to the source, either within the text or in a footnote.
- Don't make slight variations in the language and then fail to give credit to the source. If the expression is essentially the same, the author still deserves credit.
- Even if you aren't directly quoting the material, you should still document information and ideas that you use in your paper whenever they are new to you (i.e., something that you discovered in your research).
- If you're unsure, add the footnote or citation. It is better to be extra cautious than not give credit when you should.
Further Reading (available at McGill University Libraries)
Barrass, R. (2005). Students must write: A guide to better writing in coursework and examinations [electronic version].
Hacker, D. (2008). A Canadian writer's reference (4th ed.). Boston Bedford/St. Martins. Library location: PE1408 H33 2008 [In Library Use] Humanities and Social Sciences Reference [McLennan Bldg, Main floor]
Lipson, C. (2006). Cite Right: A quick guide to citation styles - MLA, APA, Chicago, the sciences, professions, and more. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Library location: PN171 F56 L55 2006 [Regular Loan] Humanities and Social Sciences [McLennan Bldg]
Lipson, C. (2008). Doing honest work in college: How to prepare citations, avoid plagiarism, and achieve real academic success (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Library locations: PN171 F56 L56 2008 [3 hour Reserve loan] Marvin Duchow Music Reserves, PN171 F56 L56 2008 [In Library Use] Schulich Science & Engineering Reference, PN171 F56 L56 2008 [3 hour Reserve loan] Humanities and Social Sciences Reserves [Redpath Library Bldg, Main floor]
McMahan, E., Funk, R., & Way, B. T. W. (2005). Print preview: A guide to academic writing success (Canadian ed.). Toronto: Pearson Longman. Library location: PE1408 M343 2005 [Regular Loan] Humanities and Social Sciences McLennan Bldg
Nelville, C. (2007). The complete guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism. Maidenhead: Open University Press. Library location: PN171 F56 N48 2007 [In Library Use] Humanities and Social Sciences Reference [McLennan Bldg, Main floor]
Troyka, L. Q., & Strom, C. (2004). Quick access: Simon & Schuster reference for writers (2nd Canadian ed.). Toronto: Pearson Prentice Hall. Library location: PE1408 T75 2004 [In Library Use] Education Reference