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Avoid plagiarism: Proper use of information ethics


Plagiarism is when a person knowingly contributes someone else’s words or ideas as their own.  This can be when you have not written the document you are turning in as yours, or when ideas that have developed directly from things you have read are not properly cited.  In a knowledge economy, these issues become more important and have resulted in refinement of what is meant by the ethical use of information.  Most universities will have a policy on academic integrity and it is worth your while to look up the one that governs your work as a student. 

To investigate this further there are two reasons to cite information: 1) to give credit where it is due in respect of the fact that other people’s ideas are their intellectual property, to us but not to take, and 2) to provide evidence for your claims.  In both cases the accuracy of how you report their use is necessary.

You are responsible for reporting any claims you make from your data accurately as well.  Within discussions of literature, data, and opposing discourse, each must be represented fairly to the best extent possible.  Making something seem more relevant, significant or interesting in proportion or the reverse implying little interest or less significance is distortion and is unethical (Booth, Colomb, Williams, (2009).



Further Reading

Citing and Referencing:

Information Ethics


Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., & Williams, J. M., (2009).  The craft of research (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL.  USA: The University of Chicago Press.

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