Academic Integrity Tutorial


What is the Academic Integrity Tutorial?

The Academic Integrity Tutorial is designed to help you learn about issues of academic
integrity. It explores plagiarism and related matters with case examples and positive
strategies you can use to improve your academic efforts and avoid committing an
academic offence as outlined in the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty. York's Policy
and procedures on academic honesty are featured, and the tutorial includes a self-test
allowing you to gauge how well you understand issues related to academic integrity.

What is Academic Integrity?

Academic: adjective. 1 a scholarly; to do with learning. b of or relating to a scholarly
institution. 2 abstract; theoretical.

Integrity: noun. 1 moral uprightness; honesty. 2 wholeness; completeness. 3 soundness;
unimpaired or uncorrupted condition.

Barber, Katherine. The Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Toronto: Oxford University Press Canada, 1998.

Integrity guides choices. As a student, to have academic integrity means that you have
adopted principles or standards that consistently govern how you pursue your school
work. A student with academic integrity earns a degree with honest effort, and knows that
this degree is a true accomplishment reflecting years of hard work and genuine learning.

Furthermore, practising academic integrity requires you to develop essential skills
including research, writing, and documentation.

In a larger sense, academic integrity is the cornerstone of University life and scholarly
communities. Professional academics, as in any profession, depend on each other to work
with integrity in order to continually advance our understanding of the world through the
development and dissemination of knowledge. Every university wants its student body to
display academic integrity so that degrees from that university will be valued by

What does this mean to me?

It is not always easy to know what choices to make in school. There are many questions
with answers that may be unclear to you:

  • When is it okay to use other people's ideas?
  • How can I use other people's ideas without "cheating"?
  • Can I use work I did last year in one of my courses this year?

Many students make poor choices because they do not understand how academic
integrity relates to specific situations, or how to develop skills that support good choices. This tutorial is designed to help you to develop successful academic skills and learn to
credit the author of any ideas you quote, paraphrase, or use as a source of information,
including those from the Internet. Along the way, you may come to better understand the
issues surrounding academic integrity so that you can start to answer some of these
questions for yourself, and learn to recognize situations where you need to ask for

What is Plagiarism?

A. Plagiarism Defined

Plagiarism is representing someone else's ideas, writing or other intellectual
property as your own.

This includes:

  • Presenting al or part of someone else's published work as something you have written
  • Paraphrasing someone else's writing without acknowledgement
  • Representing someone else's artistic or technical work or creation as your own

Any use of the work of others, whether published, unpublished or posted electronically
(e.g., on web sites), attributed or anonymous, must include proper acknowledgement.In other words.

In order to avoid plagiarism, you must acknowledge the original source
whenever you use:

  • Someone else's idea, theory or opinion
  • Music, drawings, designs, dance, photography and other artistic or technical work created by someone else
  • Reproductions of tables, graphs or any other graphic element produced by someone else
  • Facts and information that are not generally known
  • An unusual or distinctive phrase, a specialized term, a computer code, quantitative data
  • A paraphrase or summary of someone else's spoken or written words
  • Contributions of ideas by others with whom you have collaborated

You can find full definitions of plagiarism and other forms of conduct that are regarded
as serious academic offences in York's Senate Policy on Academic Honesty.

B. The Impact of Plagiarism

The offence of plagiarism has an impact on your academic experience in many ways:

  • It hinders your learning of the materials you are studying in the course
  • It also hinders the development of the kinds of academic skills you need to succeed in the work world
  • It is theft of intellectual property ­ stealing someone else's words, ideas or creations without their permission and lying about it by claiming it as your own

More broadly, within the academic community plagiarism and other forms of academic
dishonesty are seen as very serious offences, as illustrated by the fol owing statement:

It would be impossible to think of any greater insult to the integrity of an academic
institution or to an academic community than that of dishonesty whether it is called
intellectual dishonesty or fraud. One can therefore sympathize with the desire to uncover
it and treat it with the condemnation it deserves when it is thought to exist.

Krever, J. in Hajee v. York University, 11 OAC 72, 1985

And so it follows that any violation of academic honesty can result in serious
consequences, ranging from a written disciplinary warning to expulsion from the
university, depending on the extent and nature of the offence.

C. When Do Instructors Suspect Plagiarism?

  • There are many situations that may lead faculty and TAs to suspect plagiarism in assignments, especially since instructors are very familiar with their field and with what's been produced by other students in the course over time. Often a sentence or segment of text will prompt an instructor to look more closely at the assignment, particularly if it differs in style, expression and sentence structure from the rest of the submitted work.
  • Sometimes a paper or a portion of the paper might remind the instructor of something he or she has read previously on the Internet, newsgroups, library databases and CD­ROMs relevant to the assignment.
  • As students progress through the course, their instructors will become familiar with each student's writing abilities based on the work they produce in class, and will likely notice if there is a sudden, unexplained change in a student's writing style or quality of work.
  • Instructors are aware of the ready availability of essay services, both on-line and locally, that offer free and custom paper writing services (essay mills), and may have already looked at papers relevant to the assignment.
  • Some kinds of information are just too specific to be common knowledge, and the instructor will know that the student must have read it somewhere, at some time, even if it is presented in his or her own words. A source must be provided for that information. When in doubt about whether a certain course of action might constitute plagiarism, talk to your instructor first.

D. How Can Instructors Prove Plagiarism?

There are many different approaches faculty members can use when they suspect
plagiarism. They can:

  • Ask the student questions about the content, main points, research strategies, and sources used in the paper.
  • Ask the student to submit the paper through, a plagiarism detection site that can quickly compare a student's paper with material that can be accessed on public web sites, academic journals, papers purchased from essay mills, and essays and assignments concurrently or previously submitted to
  • Run the paper through other plagiarism or copy-detection software, such as Copyfind or the Glatt Plagiarism Screening Program.
  • Use Internet search engines – as few as 4 to 8 words can be traced back to the original source using Google or other search engines.
  • Search library databases.

Ultimately, if you weigh the risks and costs involved in submitting a plagiarized paper, you might consider it a far better strategy to work on improving your research and writing skills to produce honest work. Why not take advantage of the many resources
available on campus and on the Internet to help you improve your academic skills?

E. What About Other Forms of Cheating?

In addition to plagiarism, there are several other kinds of actions that are also considered
offences against the standards of academic honesty. Among these are cheating,
impersonation, and aiding and abetting, defined as follows:


Cheating is the attempt to gain an improper advantage in an academic evaluation. Some forms of cheating include obtaining a copy of an exam or learning an exam
question before it is officially available; copying another person's answer to an exam
question; consulting an unauthorized source during an exam; submitting the work one has
done for one class or project to a second class; submitting work prepared in collaboration
with other members of a class without authorization from the instructor; submitting work
prepared in whole or in part by another person and representing that work as one's own.


It is a breach of academic honesty to have someone impersonate one's self in class, in a
test or examination, or in connection with any other type of assignment in a course. Both
the impersonator and the individual impersonated may be charged.

Aiding and Abetting

It is academic misconduct to encourage, enable or cause others to commit a breach of
academic honesty. Anyone who aids and abets another in cheating, impersonation, plagiarism, or any other breach of academic honesty is his or herself subject to the
penalties outlined in York's policy.

For further details on these and other forms of cheating, consult the Summary of
Offences Against the Standards of Academic Honesty in the Senate Policy on Academic

3. Case Studies

What are the Case Studies?

In the fol owing pages, we will present three case studies of student writing. In each case,
we will present the original source, and some writing samples using this source. Your
task will be to identify which writing samples display academic integrity, which do not, and why. The correct answers are also available at the end of this document.

What Should I Look For?

Look for these clues to tell you if a writing sample displays academic integrity ( good)
or not (bad!):

Good: Use of a direct quotation to indicate that the words quoted were taken from
another source.

Good: Use of a paraphrase that is clearly acknowledged. A paraphrase uses your own
words to explain someone else's idea or information obtained from another
source. (It is often preferable to paraphrase rather than quote directly in order to
emphasize the points that are particularly relevant for your argument.)

Good: Use of a signal phrase to cue the reader that the idea or information to fol ow was
obtained from another source (example: "In his book Bird Bath Blues, Dr. Patterson claims. ."). When you quote, it is clear to the reader that you are shifting
to someone else's words; when you paraphrase, that transition is not obvious, so
you must include a signal phrase with every paraphrase.

Good: Use of citations within the text to accompany each and every use of another
source, whether directly quoted or paraphrased, including sources from the
internet. Every citation matches a full reference in the Bibliography or Works
Cited page included with your paper, al owing your readers to easily find the
original source.

Bad: Copying (quoting in whole or in part without citing a reference). Anything that
includes most of the words or phrases in a passage can be considered copying,
even if some of the original words are omitted or changed.

Bad: Paraphrasing without acknowledgement. Failing to acknowledge a paraphrase
implies that the writing represents your own original idea.

Bad: Using an idea without acknowledgement. Be careful of situations where you use another person's idea without directly quoting or paraphrasing a specific passage of their writing. It is still necessary to acknowledge that idea, or it will appear that you are misrepresenting it as your own.

Case Study 1: Modern Retail Trends

The Original Material:

During the 1990's, Canada began a major transformation from a predominantly young to a
predominantly middle ­aged society. For that reason, retailing in Canada entered a new
era of quality and service. In the years to come, stores that compete on the basis of
quality and service will have a much better chance of success than stores that compete
solely on the basis of price.

Source: Foot, David K., with Daniel Stoffman. Boom, Bust & Echo 2000: Profiting from
the Demographic Shift in the New Millennium. Toronto: MacFarlane Walter & Ross, 1998. 109­110.

Writing Sample 1:

Over the past decade, Canada has started to change dramatically from a mainly young
society to one that's middle ­aged. As a result, Canadian retail has entered a new age of
quality and service. In the years to come, stores that compete on the basis of quality and
service will fare better than those based on lower prices.

Does this writing sample display academic integrity? Yes or No

Writing Sample 2:

In his book, Boom, Bust & Echo 2000 (1998), David Foot observes that Canadian society
is changing dramatically from a mainly young society to one that's middle aged. He
predicts that this shift will alter the nature of retail as consumers are becoming more
interested in dealing with stores that offer quality products and service rather than those
offering lower prices (109­110).

Does this writing sample display academic integrity? Yes or No

Writing Sample 3:

Experts have been forecasting shifts in the Canadian retail market for some time now.
David K. Foot, for example, predicted in 1998 that at the beginning of the new
millennium bargain basement retailers are going to have a tougher time competing for
their market share than those that offer quality products. In his book, Boom, Bust and Echo, Professor Foot attributes this shift to the fact that Canada is changing to a  "predominantly middle aged society" where the majority of consumers will favour
quality and service over price (109­110).

Does this writing sample display academic integrity? Yes or No

Case Study 2: Characterization in the Films of Bil y Wilder

The Original Material:

Most of [Wilder's] characters are obsessive personalities. Indeed, some are pushed to the
edge of caricature, and a few are almost gargoyle like in their grotesqueness. For example,
Sunset Boulevard centers on a former silent movie queen (Gloria Swanson) whose career
was destroyed by the advent of sound. She is so steeped in vanity and self-delusion that
she scarcely deigns to acknowledge the world Since Then­­ the talkie revolution. When
the protagonist (William Holden) stumbles accidentally into her private world, he
suddenly realizes who she is. "You're Norma Desmond. You used to be big," he
grudgingly admits. "I am big," she hisses, "it's the pictures that got small." Though such
characters are individualized to an indelible degree, they can also be viewed as
personifications of such vices as pride, hypocrisy, and lust.
Source: Giannetti, Louis. Masters of the American Cinema. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:
Prentice­Hal, Inc., 1981. 324­325.

Note that some of the information in this passage can be taken as "common knowledge". For example, that Gloria Swanson played the character of Norma Desmond in the movie
Sunset Boulevard, directed by Billy Wilder, is common knowledge. Simply viewing the
movie will tell you this fact, so it would not be necessary to cite Giannetti if that were the
only information you were using.

However, the passage also includes Giannetti's interpretation of the character of Norma
Desmond, which he uses as a specific illustration of his theory about characterization in
Wilder's movies. If you incorporate any ideas that belong to Giannetti, you must cite the
specific source.

Writing Sample 1:

Many of Billy Wilder's characters can be seen as personifications of their own vices. In
Sunset Boulevard, former silent movie star Norma Desmond (played by Gloria Swanson)
lives in self-delusion, hardly condescending to acknowledge the outside world since the
talking picture revolution that ended her career. While she remains a strongly defined
individual, her obsession and vanity ("I am big," she says, "it's the pictures that got
small ") push her characterization to the edge of grotesque caricature.

Does this writing sample display academic integrity? Yes or No

Writing Sample 2:

Louis Giannetti (1981) suggests that many of Billy Wilder's characters represent
personification of such vices as pride, hypocrisy, and lust. Norma Desmond, the reclusive
former silent movie queen of Sunset Boulevard, is so steeped in vanity and self-delusion
that she is "almost gargoyle like in [her] grotesqueness" (324). Nevertheless (as Giannetti
briefly suggests), she remains a strongly individualized character. This can be seen in her
vulnerability and developing attachment to the protagonist. She is not merely a caricature
but a victim of her own vices, and we feel pity for her reclusive situation and fragile
mental state.

Does this writing sample display academic integrity? Yes or No

Case Study 3: The Canadian Family

The Original Material:


  • The proportion of "traditional" families continues to decline
  • Same-­sex common-law couples: Male couples outnumber female couples
  • Common-law relationships in Quebec: Proportion reaches similar level as in Sweden
  • Canadian household size declining and living alone on the rise
  • More seniors living with a spouse, more living alone and fewer living in health care institutions
  • More children living with common-law parents
  • More young adults living with their parents

Source: Canada. Statistics Canada. "Profile of Canadian families and households:
Diversification continues." 2001 Census Analysis Series. 22 October 2002. Accessed 22
October 2002.

Writing Sample 1:

Canadian families are becoming more diverse and the number of "traditional" families is
decreasing. Households today are smaller and those in them are increasingly people
living by themselves, seniors living with their partners, children living with common-­law
couples, and parents living with young adults.

Does this writing sample display academic integrity? Yes or No

Writing Sample 2:

A recent report from the 2001 Census Analysis Series observes that Canadian families are
becoming more diverse. The report shows that households today are smaller and those in
them are increasingly people living by themselves, seniors living with their partners,
children living with common­-law couples, and parents living with young adults. At the
same time, "the proportion of 'traditional' families continues to decline" (Canada 2002).
Does this writing sample display academic integrity? Yes or No

4. York’s Policy

A. The Key Points

York's Senate Policy on Academic Honesty affirms and clarifies the general obligation
for al members of the University to maintain the highest standards of academic honesty.
In particular, the policy:

  • Recognizes the general responsibility of al faculty members to foster acceptable standards of academic conduct and of students to be mindful of and abide by such standards;
  • Defines the types of conduct that are regarded as offences against the standards of academic honesty, including plagiarism, cheating, impersonation, and other forms of academic misconduct;
  • Defines the penalties that can be imposed on a student who is found to have committed plagiarism or any other form of academic misconduct;
  • Outlines the procedures for dealing with students who are accused of violating the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty.

Did you click on the links in the key points above to get more information? You
might be tested on this material at the end of the tutorial!

Types of academic misconduct

The types of conduct that are regarded as offences against standards of academic honesty

  • Cheating
  • Impersonation
  • Plagiarism
  • Improper research practices
  • Dishonesty in publication
  • Dissemination of information without permission
  • Abuse of confidentiality
  • Falsification or unauthorized modification of an academic document or record
  • Obstruction of the academic activities of another· Aiding and abetting another person in committing a breach of academic honesty

For definitions of these academic offences, please see York's Senate Policy on Academic

Range of Penalties for Plagiarism

When verified, violations of academic honesty may lead to the fol owing penalties –
imposed singly or in combination depending on the severity of the offence:

  • Written disciplinary warning or reprimand
  • Required completion of an academic honesty assignment · Make-­up assignment, examination or rewriting a work, subject to a lowered grade
  • Lower grade on the assignment, examination or work
  • Lower grade in the course
  • Failure in the course
  • Permanent grade of record
  • Notation on transcript · Suspension from the University
  • Expulsion from the University
  • Withholding or rescinding a York degree, diploma or certificate

If the offence is a second or subsequent one for the student, or is in combination with
another offence, the Senate Policy recommends consideration of a severe penalty.

For further information on the penalties for academic misconduct, please see York's
Senate Policy on Academic Honesty.

Procedures Governing Breach of Academic Honesty

A student who is charged with a breach of academic honesty shall be presumed innocent
until, based on clear and compelling evidence, it is determined that the student has
violated the academic standards of the University. Suspected breaches of academic
honesty are handled by a Committee within the Faculty offering the course, and may
include the fol owing steps:

  1. an exploratory meeting
  2. a formal hearing
  3. an appeal

This is simply a quick outline of the procedures regarding these hearings. For further
clarification you are advised to contact the appropriate Faculty office, and consult the full
York Senate Policy on Academic Honesty, and the Senate Appeals Committee

1. Exploratory meeting at the unit level

An exploratory meeting will be arranged at the unit level to determine whether or not
there are reasonable and probable grounds to proceed with a charge of breach of
academic honesty. Written notice of the meeting and a brief description of the reason for
the meeting shall be provided at least seven days prior to the meeting. The student and
the faculty member may each have another person present at this meeting, and the
meeting may proceed without the student present.

The exploratory meeting may result in one of the following:

  • Agreement is reached that no breach of honesty occurred.
  • If the student admits to a breach of academic honesty, a signed statement summarizing the situation and the agreed upon penalty is submitted to the Faculty Committee.
  • If the student admits to a breach of academic honesty, but no agreement is reached on the penalty, a document that includes the admission and summary of the mater, along with individual submissions by the student and faculty member as to penalty, is submitted to the Faculty Committee, which will arrange a hearing of the matter.
  • If the student elects not to attend the meeting, and if those present find sufficient grounds to proceed with a charge of breach of academic honesty, a summary of the mater will be forwarded to the Faculty Committee, which will arrange a hearing of the matter.
  • If it is decided that sufficient grounds exist to proceed with a charge and the student does not admit to this alleged breach, a formal charge containing a full, concise statement of the facts accompanied by al available supporting evidence is submitted to the Faculty Committee.

2. Formal hearing at the Faculty level

A hearing is arranged by Faculty Committee to allow a full and fair opportunity for the
parties to present their evidence and to respond to the evidence presented against them. At the hearing, the Faculty Committee will consider the facts and circumstances of the
case and determine whether there has been a breach of academic honesty. Procedures for
setting up and proceeding with a hearing are outlined in detail in the Senate Policy.

If a finding of academic misconduct is determined, the Committee will hear submissions
as to suitable penalties and then decide the penalties. In determining the penalties, the
following factors can be considered:

  • The extent or severity of the violation
  • The level of the student's academic experience
  • Extenuating circumstances that might help explain why a certain course of action was taken
  • Whether the student admits guilt, accepts responsibility for their action, and is amenable to educative remedies
  • Whether the student has committed prior academic offences

3. Appeal

An appeal of the decision of the committee may be made to the Senate Appeals
Committee on the grounds of new evidence (i.e., evidence which could not be considered
at the Faculty level) or on procedural grounds.

B. Avoiding an Offence

In order to avoid the possibility of violating York's Senate Policy on Academic Honesty, you should ensure that you:

1. Know about and understand the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty. (In fact, a
lack of familiarity with the Senate Policy cannot be used as a defence by those
accused of academic misconduct)

2. Produce honest academic work

3. Consult your instructor in instances where you are not sure whether a certain
course of action would result in academic misconduct

4. Discourage others from violating standards of academic integrity
The best way to cope with the pressure of your student responsibilities is to develop
strong academic skills. York offers resources to help you to develop your writing and
academic skills.

5. Test Yourself


In this tutorial, we:

  • Defined "academic integrity" as an essential quality of intellectual honesty in scholarly work, whether as a student or professional academic.
  • Defined and discussed plagiarism as an activity that is not only dishonest, but also damaging to the University community, with potentially disastrous consequences for you as a student.
  • Examined several case studies to show clearly what plagiarism is, and how it can be avoided.
  • Investigated York's Senate Policy on Academic Honesty, to understand its key points and how you can avoid an offense. Thank you for taking the tutorial, and good luck on the Quiz!.

Quiz Instructions

You can go to the links below to take the Academic Integrity Quiz. One wil ask you to
log in with your Passport York ID before taking you to the quiz page, while the other wil
take you directly to the quiz without logging in.

(No Login Required)

Should I Log In or Not?

You should log in if you are taking the quiz as part of a class assignment. Logging
in will record your participation in the quiz, and display your name on the results

If you do not yet have a Passport York ID, you can activate one on-line using
Manage My Services.

You don't have to log in if you are taking the quiz out of your own interest.
Taking the Quiz

1. Select an answer for every question. Unanswered questions will be scored as

2. There are three possible question types:

Multiple Choice: click the radio button to indicate your choice. Currently, only one answer can be selected for a multiple choice question.

True/False: click the radio button to indicate your choice.

Matching Answers: select a match from the pop­-up list below each item.

If you use a wheel button mouse, take care not to accidently change your
answers. Sometimes scrolling the wheel will rotate through the answers in
a selection list, when you might have meant simply to scroll farther down
in the quiz window.

3. Click on the Submit button at the bottom of the page to have your answers

4. You will be shown your results, including your score and any feedback offered by
the author of the quiz. You might wish to print this page for your own records. At
this stage, you might be able to check your answers: see below.

5. If you want to try to get a better score, click the Try Again button at the bottom
of the results page. You can try the quiz as many times as you like.

6. If you are completing the quiz as part of a class assignment, use the Print
command from your web browser to print the results page for your instructor, and
for your own records.

Checking Your Answers

1. Depending on how the quiz is configured, you might be al owed to check your

2. Click on the Check Answers button at the bottom of the results page. A new browser window will open. (If you do not see the "Check Answers" button, it means that you are not al owed to check your answers for that quiz.)

3. Each question is preceded by the word "correct" or "incorrect", and the answer
you gave is shown.

4. The author of the quiz may have helpful comments for each question. Be sure to check for this feedback.

5. Close this browser window when you are done checking your answers.

6. Resources

York's Resources for Students on Writing and Academic Skill's

Citation Style Guides and Writers' Manuals

Faculty of Arts Centre for Academic Writing

Atkinson's Essay Tutoring Centre

Glendon College Counselling and Career Centre

Bethune Col ege Writing Centre

Environmental Studies Writing Program

CDC Learning Skills Program

ESL Open Learning Centre

York Libraries On-line Help with Research

7. Case Studies Correct Answers

Case Study 1: Modern Retail Trends

Writing Sample 1:

The answer is No.

This example is a poor attempt at using Professor Foot's original passage without
acknowledgement. In it, several words and phrases are substituted by others—however,
much of the original phrasing and organization remains the same, as shown below. As
it stands, the text appears to represent the writer's ideas rather than those of Professor
Foot's and therefore is plagiarism.

Over the past decade, Canada has started to change dramatically from a mainly young
society to one that's middle aged. As a result, Canadian retail has entered a new age of
quality and service. In the years to come, stores that compete on the basis of quality and
service will fare better than those based on lower prices (no citation!).

Writing Sample 2:

The answer is Yes.

In this example it is clear that the main idea and line of reasoning came from Professor
Foot's research, and not the writer's. The passage begins with a signal phrase to indicate
that someone else's idea is being used, and ends with a citation so that the reader can
easily locate the original source of the information. In addition, the full reference of the
source will be included in the bibliography.

In his book, Boom, Bust & Echo 2000 (1998), David Foot observes that Canadian
society is changing dramatically from a mainly young society to one that's middle aged.
He predicts that this shift will alter the nature of retail as consumers are becoming more
interested in dealing with stores that offer quality products and service rather than those
offering lower prices (109­110).

Writing Sample 3:

The answer is Yes.

In this example, Professor Foot's ideas are used to illustrate a larger theme. The author
and the source of the information are provided as a context for the idea being discussed,
and the reader can easily locate the original material. Quotation marks are used around  "predominantly middle aged society," a phrase drawn directly from the original text. In
this example, as in the one above, the full citation will be included in the reference page
at the end of the paper.Experts have been forecasting shifts in the Canadian retail market for some time now.

David K. Foot, for example, predicted in 1998 that at the beginning of the new
millennium bargain basement retailers are going to have a tougher time competing for
their market share than those that offer quality products. In his book, Boom, Bust and
Echo, Professor Foot atributes this shift to the fact that Canada is changing to a
"predominantly middle­aged society" where the majority of consumers will favour
quality and service over price (109­110).

Case Study 2: Characterization in the Films of Billy Wilder

Writing Sample 1:

The answer is No.

The passage, while rewritten, contains significant elements of Gianneti's interpretation
of the character of Norma Desmond, as well as the larger theory about Billy Wilder's
characters that it illustrates. There are no citations to acknowledge the original source.

Without citation, this sample appears to represent the student's own original thinking.
Yet, on close examination, we find that there is no original thought in this passage at al !
Everything belongs to Giannetti.

Writing Sample 2:

The answer is Yes.

Ideas that are taken from the original passage are clearly noted with in­-text citations as
well as with a signal phrase ("Louis Giannetti suggests…"). A direct quotation and
specific page reference is used for the unusual phrase "almost gargoyle like in [her]
grotesqueness". ("Her" is in square brackets here because the writer changed this one
word to suit her purpose.) A full reference will appear in the bibliography to al ow the
reader to locate the original source.

Louis Giannetti (1981) suggests that many of Billy Wilder's characters represent
personification of such vices as pride, hypocrisy, and lust. Norma Desmond, the reclusive
former silent movie queen of Sunset Boulevard, is so steeped in vanity and self-delusion
that she is "almost gargoyle like in [her] grotesqueness" (324). Nevertheless (as
Giannetti briefly suggests), she remains a strongly individualized character. This can be
seen in her vulnerability and developing attachment to the protagonist. She is not
merely a caricature but a victim of her own vices, and we feel pity for her reclusive
situation and fragile mental state.

Furthermore, the writer has not only used Gianneti's ideas, but has extended them with
her own interpretation by building on Giannetti's brief reference to character

Some students are anxious about using too many sources: "but then everything would be in quotations!" Good students do not merely cite and acknowledge ideas from other sources, but work to develop the skills of analysing and integrating these ideas into their own argument or interpretation. Here's a good, simple strategy: whenever you use a source, add your own comments about how and why this passage relates to your essay question. This way, you will always show your own thinking, not merely repeat others.

Case Study 3: The Canadian Family

Writing Sample 1:

The answer is No.

This passage contains both direct borrowings and information lifted from the original
source. Although the information appears to be "factual" (not, for instance, an opinion or
theory), it cannot be taken as "common knowledge" because it represents findings of
specific research, namely the Canadian Census. Claims such as "the proportion of
'traditional' families continues to decline" must be supported by a specific source.
Although the second sentence compresses the Census findings from the Statistics Canada
report, it appears as if the information is the writer's own material.

Writing Sample 2:

The answer is Yes.

This passage is similar to Sample 1 except that writer has acknowledged that the
information presented comes from a Census report. This is achieved by using a signal
phrase at the beginning of the text and a citation at the end. In addition, a direct
quotation is used in the final sentence.

A recent report from the 2001 Census Analysis Series observes that Canadian families
are becoming more diverse. The report shows that households today are smaller and those
in them are increasingly people living by themselves, seniors living with their partners,
children living with common-law couples, and parents living with young adults. At the
same time, "the proportion of 'traditional' families continues to decline" (Canada