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Health Research Basics

Your intro to research resources & techniques for using the library catalogue, evaluating resources you find, avoiding plagiarism, searching medical databases & referencing



What is plagiarism?

It is a specific form of cheating and is defined as presenting someone else’s work or ideas or images in any form, (i.e., print or electronic) as your own.

Source: Pears, R. and Shields, G.(2019) Cite them write: the essential referencing guide. 11th edn. London: Red Globe Press.

Image attribution: Nina Paley , CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Types of plagiarism include...

  •  Copy pasting text or images from the internet
  •  Copying from or using a lab report or written assignment from student who has taken your course before
  •  Failing to cite original source of an idea when  summarizing or paraphrasing  or quoting in your assignment
  •  Changing words or phrases but copying the sentence structure of the source and not crediting source   
  •  Citing sources that you did not yourself read or use in the assignment
  •  Plagiarizing yourself, i.e., using but not citing your own previously published work or re-using your own  work from a previous assignment without permission.

Tips for avoiding plagiarism

  • Manage your time and plan
  • Make notes from what you read in your own words, save them & any printouts, electronic files etc., until you have your final grade
  • With internet material, note the source, author etc., and record date that you accessed the page
  • Paraphrase or summarize the ideas of an author by rewriting them in your own words.  Always cite and reference them as well
  • When rewriting, don’t make minor cosmetic changes to the sentence structure by, for example, changing only adjectives (eg. robust for strong) yet keeping the rest of the sentence  
  • Use words of others (quotations) only to support or reinforce your own argument. Always cite the quotation source
  • Before submitting your paper, run it through an  originality checking software, such as Turnitin. This is an instructional support tool  which will highlight areas in your work where rewriting to avoid plagiarism is necessary. 

Other types of academic dishonesty include...

  • Altering experiment  findings to provide a more favourable or "correct" result in a lab report
  • Copying answers from another student's paper during an assignment, e.g., a prelab, quiz, test, or exam 
  • Divulging answers or otherwise giving or taking improper aid from another student during a quiz, test or exam
  • Giving out or receiving confidential information about the contents of a quiz, test or exam, including OSCEs
  • Using a cheat sheet during a quiz, test, or exam
  • Collaborating improperly with other students during a take home or open book quiz, test,exam or lab report.