Research Help

Plagiarism & Academic Honesty:
Using the Plagiarism Tutorial in Psychology:
Case Studies


Analysis and evaluation of cases in psychology provide opportunity to apply knowledge of a topic to a real life situation. Using the Plagiarism Video and Quiz together with cases in an undergraduate psychology class facilitates a deeper understanding of what plagiarism is, who it hurts, and subsequent consequences.
Students will:

Case 1: One assignment in an undergraduate psychology course is to locate, summarize, and critique a research article.  Marco’s critique is well-written and includes a reference page. During the summary, he was careful to paraphrase the original article, but did not include in-text citations for specific information from the article.   Marco’s professor has called him into her office and said that his work was an example of plagiarism.
Read the case independently and work in small groups of three to discuss and answer the following:

  1. Why did the professor accuse Marco of plagiarism? Explain.

(Possible answer: Marco claimed somebody else’s idea. Students must cite all material that isn’t original thought.)

  1. What do you imagine Marco might have told his instructor?

(Possible answers: I didn’t read this in the “M” book. I included a reference page, I didn’t know this was an example of plagiarism. I’m not that kind of person I waited too long and ran out of time. My friend did the same thing and said it was OK.)

  1. Who was “hurt” by these actions? Explain fully for each party involved.

(Marco faced disciplinary action; the author was not properly credited for his/her idea; the department and university community can lose credibility)

  1. What should Marco have done to avoid this conflict?

(Allow more time to do a more thorough job. Consult with a librarian, the Writing Center or his professor. Most importantly, make sure to include in-text citations for paraphrased or quoted materials)

  1. What actions do you believe the professor should take? Explain.

(Marco should sign and date a statement to admit and explain his offense. He should have to rewrite the article review, using appropriate in-text citations and receive, at the highest, the minimum passing score. The professor should explain to Marco that the next time he plagiarizes, the penalty will be more severe and that he may face university disciplinary action)

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