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Information Literacy Instruction

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Types of plagiarism

Plagiarism, a form of academic dishonesty and a violation of the Centre Academic Honesty Policy, is something all students want to avoid, but to do so, it is important to understand what constitutes plagiarism. Here are the definitions of the most common forms of plagiarism:

Direct plagiarism: A type of intentional plagiarism. Copying another person’s entire work and turning it in as your own.

Self-plagiarism: A type of intentional plagiarism. When you turn in the same work to multiple classes or when you republish part/all of one of your own works without citing the original publication.

Sharing work plagiarism: A type of intentional plagiarism. When you allow another person to turn in or publish your work as theirs; or when you turn in or publish work someone else has shared with you as your own.

Purchasing plagiarism: A type of intentional plagiarism. When you pay a business, professional or another student for a finished paper or to write a paper for you.

Copy/paste plagiarism: A type of intentional plagiarism. Copying a phrase, sentence or paragraph(s) from another person’s work and using them, verbatim, in your own work without putting them in quotes and citing them.

Find/replace or mosaic plagiarism: These terms both refer to the most common form of unintentional plagiarism - the practice of copying sentences or paragraphs from another person’s work and then replacing some key words with their synonyms, but keeping the overall structure of the original work. Even if you add a proper citation, this is still plagiarism. To avoid this type of plagiarism, you must properly summarize or paraphrase by restating the original author completely in your own words and then adding the citation.

Improper citing: A type of intention or, sometimes, unintentional plagiarism. When you cite the wrong source. This may be unintentional if you do not carefully track your sources. It may be intentional if you make up fake citations to support your arguments or if you knowingly cite a wrong source because you can’t find/remember where you found evidence used in your paper.

You can avoid plagiarism by:

  1. Carefully tracking your sources as you conduct your research so that you can properly cite them later.
  2. Learning how to properly paraphrase/summarize and integrate your evidence into your papers.
  3. Properly citing your sources.

See the next tabs on this page for more information about how to properly paraphrase, summarize and integrate evidence into your papers. See the "Cite Information" page for guides to properly use MLA, APA, Chicago etc citations.

Quote, Paraphrase, or Summarize?

When writing a research paper, you will be asked to include support or evidence for your arguments using sources, such as data, statistics, books or journal articles. In order to refer to information from these sources, you can (1) quote exact words, (2) paraphrase specific ideas, or (3) summarize parts of or the entire work. These three options for referencing a source can be useful in different situations, depending on the information being used, its length and clarity, and your purpose for incorporating it. Below, the differences between quoting, summarizing, and paraphrasing are described.


Quoting a source means that you directly use a source’s words to convey their point. The quoted text/wording should appear exactly as it does in the source being used, although you may use ellipsis or brackets to indicate any changes you make in order to make your sentence grammatically correct. Remember that you must put quotation marks around all quoted material.

When would you use a quotation? Here are a few very good reasons that you might want to use a quote rather than a paraphrase or summary:    
1. Accuracy: You are unable to paraphrase or summarize the source material without changing the author’s intent.
2. Authority: You may want to use a quote to lend expert authority for your assertion or to provide source material for analysis.
3. Conciseness: Your attempts to paraphrase or summarize are awkward or much longer than the source material.
4. Unforgettable language: You believe that the words of the author are memorable or remarkable because of their effectiveness or historical flavor.  Additionally, the author may have used a unique phrase or sentence, and you want to comment on words or phrases themselves.

(Depending on the length of the materials you quote, your quotation might need to be formatted as a block quote. Be sure to refer to your citation style guide for the guidelines your discipline follows).


In this example, the author quotes the definition of an important term, lending authority to a definition that is central to his entire argument.


Paraphrasing a source means that you use your own words to discuss a specific source’s idea. This is often useful in situations when you can state this idea more clearly, concisely or using an organization that is more suitable for integration into your paper. For paraphrasing, strive for brevity while capturing the idea of a sentence or paragraph’s point (think “smaller picture,” local ideas). Remember: when you paraphrase, you must cite the source you have paraphrased.

When would you paraphrase?

1. To change the organization of ideas for emphasis. You may have to change the organization of ideas in source material so that you can emphasize the points that are most related to your paper.  You should remember to be faithful to the meaning of the source.
2. To simplify the material. You may have to simplify complex arguments, sentences, or vocabulary.
3. To clarify the material. You may have to clarify technical passages or specialized information into language that is appropriate for your audience.

6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing

  1. Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.

  2. Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card.

  3. Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material. At the top of the note card, write a key word or phrase to indicate the subject of your paraphrase.

  4. Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form. Do not leave out central ideas if they contradict your arguments. Your paraphrase must remain true to the entire work you're paraphrasing.

  5. Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.

  6. Record the source (including the page) on your note card so that you can credit it easily if you decide to incorporate the material into your paper.

(6 Steps from the Purdue Owl)


In this example, the author paraphrases the entire literature review of one of his sources. He includes all the major points and subpoints from the literature, restating them in a more concise manner and in the order he intends to include them in his own analysis.


Summarizing a source means that you capture the overall point or main idea of an entire source. For example, you might summarize an entire movie’s plot or a book’s major theme. Summarizing is particularly useful for condensing “big picture” ideas into a discussion of the work in general and in its entirety. Remember: when you summarize, you must cite the source you have summarized.


In this example, the author summarizes the overall point of 5 entire articles in 3 sentences.

What's the difference between a summary and paraphrase?

Simply put, a summary is is written in your own words and includes only the key points of the writing. A summary is much shorter than the original source. You can summarize an entire article in a single sentence, for example.

A paraphrase is similar to a summary because you are rewriting the source in your own words, but the paraphrase will include both key points and subpoints or details. Because a paraphrase includes detailed information it can sometimes be as long (if not longer) than the original source.

All examples in this section taken from: Jungera, M., Montoyab, L., Overinka, F.J. (2017). Priming and warnings are not effective to prevent social engineering attacks. Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 75-87. Retrieved from

What does "integrating evidence" mean?

When you use evidence from a book or journal to support your arguments in your papers, you want to add the quote, summary or paraphrase into your writing in a way that seems smooth and natural. Properly integrating evidence is important because:

  • Readers can better understand the relevance of smoothly integrated quotations.
  • Readers can clearly see the connection between an integrated quotation and what it is trying to prove or illustrate.
  • Readers can be better convinced by evidence presented in smoothly integrated quotations.
  • Readers don’t experience being lost or frustrated by quotations that appear unrelated, inappropriate, or off topic.

How to integrate evidence

The best integration of quotations can be described as a quote sandwich. You introduce the quote. Quote. And then interpret the quote. Here are more details:

Introduce the quote: The top part of the sandwich is the introduction to the quote.  Lead into the quote with context that tells how the quote connects to your discussion.  You’ll follow this introductory phrase with a comma or a colon and then the quote.

The Quote: Follow the introductory phrase with the “meat” of the sandwich, which is the quote. After the quote, cite the source.

Interpretation of the quote: The bottom part of the sandwich, holding it all up, is your own reasoning and analysis explaining the relevance and significance of the quote and its connection to your discussion.

Quote Sandwich Example:

(Top bread/Introduction) Computer antivirus software is an important business investment that protects companies from loss due to downtime, corrupted data and liability. (Meat/Quote) In Five Reasons Why Businesses Should Not Skimp on Antivirus Software, Eric Thompson, a leading computer security expert with Microsoft Systems, states, "In 2013, American companies spent 25.8 million dollars recovering from computer hacking, most of which could have been prevented if the hackers had not discovered easy 'back doors' in the form of unprotected computers." (Bottom bread/analysis) Hackers can use trojans, rootkits and keyloggers, installed on unprotected computers, to gain access to company computers. These unauthorized pieces of software can wipe a computer's hard drive, change data or steal data, like customer identity or credit card information.

What is synthesis?

Synthesis refers to combining multiple sources and ideas. As a scholarly writer, you will use information from multiple scholarly articles combined with your own interpretation and analysis to create new ideas. That is synthesis. Watch the brief video and look at the examples below for more information.

An example of synthesis

Strategies to help you synthesize

As you read your various sources for your paper, record their citations and themes in a synthesis matrix.


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Crystal Ellis
Crystal Ellis
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Karoline Manny
Karoline Manny
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