Plagiarism Worksheet for College and University Level Students          

Learning Objective: Identifying correctly and incorrectly cited information; identifying plagiarism

Citation Examples

What is a citation? A citation is giving the name and date of a scientist, researcher or theorist who has published something that you are talking about in your essay. It can be done in different ways, either before or after a quotation, at the end of a paragraph that has discussed a particular theory or as part of a sentence. Every researcher that is cited in the essay should be mentioned in the reference list at the end of the essay, and all references should be cited. You will recognise citations as they usually come with brackets around them.

Examples of citations:

  1. Attachment theory was developed from studies of children’s early relationships which were believed to influence future relationships “from the cradle to the grave” (Bowlby, 1979, p.129).
  1. Bowlby (1979) argued that the first relationship would affect the individual “from the cradle to the grave” (p.129).
  1. Bowlby (1979) believed that children’s early relationships influenced their behaviours in future relationships throughout their whole lives.
  1. The first relationship that the infant develops is referred to as the primary relationship, and will have a profound influence on the child through to adulthood and for the rest of their life (Bowlby, 1979).

Note that there are no brackets around the name when it is used as a part of the sentence, as in examples 2 and 3. Note that a page number is needed for direct quotations but not for paraphrasing, but a date is always needed and always appears in brackets.

Essay Section with Possible Plagiarism

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was a groundbreaking book because it was the first modern science fiction story. It was written at a time when people were worried about scientists playing god and scared of what might happen in the future if science had a free reign without morals. It was also a horror story because it dealt with death and gory details of decaying flesh. The original story was written over one weekend while Mary Shelley was staying with Shelley and Byron and they were challenging each other to write the scariest story.

Why is the above possibly plagiarised? This information must have come from somewhere, either reading from books or the internet. At the very least, the book being discussed should be cited.

Essay Section with Correct Citations

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) was a groundbreaking book because it was the first modern science fiction story (Ordover, 2007). It was written at a time when people were worried about scientists playing god and scared of what might happen in the future if science had a free reign without morals (Morton, 2002). It was also a horror story because it dealt with death and gory details of decaying flesh. The original story was written over one weekend while Mary Shelley was staying with Shelley and Byron and they were challenging each other to write the scariest story (Ordover, 2007).

Remember as well as the citations in the text, there should be a reference list which gives these references in full at the end of the essay. The reference list should match the citations, i.e. there should be no citation in the text that is not referenced in the reference list, and no reference in the list that is not cited in the text. Also note that the citation can be used more than once in the same essay, each time you make a point you should cite the author who influenced your thought process in making this point.

Worksheet Task 1

Put a mark where you think a citation should be in the following sections of essays. There may be more than one correct answer for each section, and we can discuss your choices.

Dickens is famous for writing about poverty and deprivation, for instance in Oliver Twist, but he also wrote some funny scenes, especially in The Pickwick Papers. Dickens was writing at a time when some people were beginning to be concerned about the plight of the poor, but others were not so bothered, and he wanted to raise awareness.

Stanley Milgram conducted some famous psychology experiments in the 1970’s which may be considered unethical today. He asked subjects to electrocute other people if they answered a question wrong. The subjects did not realise that the people were not really being electrocuted but were acting. Milgram wanted to find out how far people would go when obeying figures in authority.

The book Folk Devils and Moral Panics examines the way the media can made a mountain out of a molehill by demonising individuals or particular groups and turning the public against them. Statistically rare events are highlighted and blown out of proportion, inciting fear and hatred among readers of newspapers. It was originally written about the fights between the Mods and the Rockers, but the same ideas can be applied to the modern day with groups such as illegal immigrants, benefits scroungers and gangs.

Topics for discussion:

Why would these essays without citations be considered to be plagiarised?

How can you be sure that you are not plagiarising when you write an essay?

Why is plagiarism considered to be so bad?

What would happen to your qualification if your university/college was known as one that tolerated plagiarism?

Worksheet Task 2

True or false?

  1. It doesn’t matter about putting an author’s name in your essay so long as you’ve mentioned them in the reference list.
  2. The correct form for a citation is name and date in brackets and a page number if it is a quote, e.g. (Bloggs, 1990, p.1).
  3. Plagiarism is a kind of fraud and may be treated very seriously.
  4. Copying another person’s essay is not counted as plagiarism.
  5. Wikepedia is an acceptable reference to use for your essay.
  6. It is ok to use someone else’s work without crediting them so long as you re-write it in your own words.

Which of the following counts as plagiarism?

  1. Working with another student on a piece of group work.
  2. Copying sections of another student’s essay and submitting as your own.
  3. Quoting from a textbook and giving the correct citation.
  4. Rewriting sections of another student’s essay and submitting as your own.
  5. Copying text from the internet and submitting in your essay as your own work.
  6. Paraphrasing from a journal article and giving the correct citation.
  7. Rewriting text from a textbook and submitting in your essay as your own work.
  8. Copying the reference list from a journal article and putting it in your own reference list without looking up the references and reading them yourself.
  9. Looking at the reference list from a journal article and looking up the references, reading them yourself and deciding which ones are relevant to your essay.
  10. Asking someone else to write an essay for you and then submitting it as your own work.

Worksheet Task 3

Multiple Choice

Select the correct form of citation for the following sentences. Insert a letter into the underlined section to correspond with the choices below (note, a citation may be used twice):

  1. Erikson ____ outlined the theory of the Eight Stages of Man, with the childhood stages beginning at Trust vs Mistrust.
  2. The theory of the Eight Stages of Man begins in infanthood with the baby trusting his or her caregiver ­­_____.
  3. “The first demonstration of social trust in the baby is the ease of his feeding, the depth of his sleep, the relaxation of his bowels.” ­­­____
  4. In Erikson’s ­­____ theory of the Eight Stages of Man, he discusses each stage separately but acknowledges a crossover period with many of the stages.
  1. (Erikson, 1998, p.67)        b. (1998)          c. (Erikson, 1998)
  1. Realistic Conflict Theory was developed by Sherif ___ after experiments with groups of adolescent boys on a summer camp.
  2. Until Sherif’s ___ experiments, theories around conflict and aggression tended to be abstract, so he decided to deliberately set up situations where conflict would arise.
  3. One of the interesting factors of Realistic Conflict Theory ____ is the scarcity of resources. The researchers argued that if one group feel that their needs can only be met at the expense of the other group then hostility will develop.
  4.  “It is predicted that contact in itself will not produce marked decrease in the existing state of tension between groups.” ____
  1. (Sherif, 1961, p.159)         e. (1961)          f. (Sherif, 1961)

Worksheet Answers

True or false?

True: 2, 3

False: 1, 4, 5, 6

Which of the following counts as plagiarism?

Yes: 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10

No: 1, 3, 6, 9

Multiple Choice

1. b, 2. c, 3. a, 4. b

5. e, 6. e. 7. f, 8. d