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Plagiarism and Documentation Policies

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism means offering the words or ideas of another person as one's own. The material copied or paraphrased may consist of a few phrases or sentences, or an entire passage or paper. Whatever its form and extent, plagiarism constitutes two kinds of failure: 1) Failure to perform the basic tasks expected in any paper -- original mental effort and expression; 2) Pot­entially, the moral failure of academic dishonesty. Plagiar­ism may be deliberate (as in the submission of a paper written in whole or part by another student, purchased from an essay bank, or cut and pasted from web sites) or the result of carelessness through failure to provide proper documentation.

All directly copied or quoted material must be enclosed in quotation marks and the source must be clearly identified in a footnote. The source of any paraphrased material or ideas must also be properly documented. Failure to do so is plagiarism.

The procedure for handling cases of suspected plagiarism at Memorial University is set out in the University Calendar. All cases of suspected plagiarism must be reported to the Department Head in accordance with the University Calendar General Regulations. Depending on the circumstances and the degree of plagiarism involved, the Depart­ment of Political Science normally handles first offenders in accordance with the Procedures for Informal Resolution. The Department maintains a list of students who have been found guilty of plagiarism, and in the case of a second offence or in particularly serious cases of plagiarism, the Procedures for Formal Resolution will be followed. The penalty in these cases may be probation, suspen­sion or expulsion in addition to the grade of 0 for the work concerned.

If in any doubt about what plagiarism consists of, consult with your instructor or refer to any standard work on writing essays and research papers. The Faculty of Arts Writing Centre (SN2053) can also provide relevant information. The notes on proper documentation below may be of assistance.

Notes on Proper Documentation

A good political science paper contains a logical argument built on solid evidence. While the evidence may be that of first-hand observation and study, evidence for most student papers will come from books, journals, newspapers, and govern­ment documents. Documentation in the form of footnotes, endnotes, or in-text references (with page numbers) must be provided for all facts, ideas, or interpretations which are not considered to be common knowledge. An acceptable rule of thumb for determining whether an item is one of common knowledge would be if the information is readily available in a number of different sources. An example may help.

It is common knowledge that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a black civil rights activist who was jailed in Alabama for leading a march against segregation in the early 1960s. No footnote would be required for such a fact.
A footnote would, however, be required for a statement such as: Martin Luther King, Jr. ex­pressed disappoint­ment that southern religious leaders urged people to comply with desegre­gation not because it was morally right but because it was the law.

In the latter case, the reader might want to check that Rev. King actually did express those views. A good guideline to follow is to ask yourself where your understanding of the thoughts, beliefs, or ideas of an individual or a group came from. If you don't know, are you sure that your understanding is accurate? If it isn't, then don't use it. If you do know, then state the source.

A common misperception is that footnotes only have to be given for direct quotations. This is not correct: footnotes must be provided in all cases where an idea, belief, action, or thought is attributed to an individual or group.

A footnote would be required for the following quotation from page 14 of the province's Strategic Economic Plan. "The private sector must be the engine of growth. While it is the role of government to create an economic and social environment that promotes competitiveness, it is the enter­prising spirit of the private sector that will stimulate lasting economic growth."
A footnote would also be required for the following state­ment. The Strategic Economic Plan argues that the private sector must be the basis of economic growth in the province.

Similarly, a footnote must be provided whenever you "borrow" a particular idea, interpretation, or argument from a known source.

Footnote and Documentation Style Guide

Canadian political scientists employ a variety of citation styles in their work. Examples of proper organization and citation style may be found in any volume of the Canadian Journal of Political Science (CJPS) (available online and in print in the Queen Elizabeth II Library). The CJPS currently requires authors to submit their work using in-text citations. Students may avail of the CJPS Editorial Style Guidelines or our Political Science Style Guide which outline an acceptable usage of in-text citations for assignments submitted to Department of Political Science classes. Please note that some professors may require students to use an alternative citation style when submitting their assignments. Students should verify the citation style requirements with their professors before writing their assignment in order to avoid confusion and disappointment.

Canadian Journal of Political Science - Editorial Style Guidelines.

4. In-text, Parenthetical or Author-Date Citations:

The Journal employs embedded in-text (parenthetical or author-date) citations, with a list of references at the end of the article (section 6) following endnotes (see section 7).

References to direct quotations, statistics, paraphrases or ideas borrowed from published work immediately follow the borrowed item: generally, the author's last name, the year of publication and the relevant page number(s), depending on what information precedes the reference in the text. When citing page numbers from 100 and up, it is not necessary to repeat the first numeral in the last page referenced if it is the same as the first-page numeral cited; that is, 100-23, rather than 100-123.

If the author's name is in the text, it is omitted in the reference. If the reference is to a complete work, page numbers are not required. For example:

According to Alan Cairns, "the electoral system has been an important factor in the evolution of the Canadian party system" (1968: 78).
Alan C. Cairns's study of the impact of the electoral system on political parties (1968) concludes....
Electoral systems are not neutral (Cairns, 1968).

If a reference involves two authors, both names should be included. For example,

" cannot deny that Canada's political parties are facing serious challenges to their presumed monopoly on the linkage function" (Tanguay and Gagnon, 1996: 3).

If a reference has more than two authors, the first author's last name should be followed by "et al." For example,

The effect of identification with governing parties on feelings of efficacy and trust has received attention (Lambert et al., 1986).

If there is more than one reference in the manuscript to the same author(s) and the same year of publication, insert a, b, c, and so forth following the year. For example,

... (Lambert et al., 1986a). ...(Lambert et al., 1986b).

When more than one source is to be included in a single citation, they are listed preferably in alphabetical order, separated by semi-colons. If the list is not exhaustive, but representative of the literature, the list of names and dates should be preceded by the phrase "for example."

Though the number of scholars who have addressed the question is small, the evidence is compelling (for example, Irvine, 1974; Irvine and Gold, 1980; Johnston, 1985; Meisel, 1967, 1975).

Also, a brief phrase might be inserted within the parentheses, such as

... (but see Lambert et al., 1986a).

The citation of an institution should precede the information itself. Also, references that lack an author's name require the name of the institution that sponsored the reference. For an example of each,

Municipal data (City of St. Catharines, 1982: 2) indicate that property tax rates....

References to court cases should contain sufficient information within the text to connect the reader with the item in the list of references at the end of the manuscript. For example,

The Supreme Court of Canada has also rejected the limitations of a "political question" doctrine that would put executive decisions in foreign policy and defence matters largely beyond judicial review (Operation Dismantle v. The Queen, 1985).
Of particular note is Justice Thurgood Marshall's argument against capital punishment (U.S. Supreme Court, Gregg v. Georgia, 1976).

References to sources on the Internet should approximate as much as possible conventional formats regarding printed sources, indicating when the site was last revised or when you last accessed the site. For example,

The survey employed by the election study team of 2000 (Blais, André et al. ces.html, July 20, 2001) included these questions.

5. Reference List at the End of the Manuscript

Only references cited in the text are to be included in the list titled "References" at the end of the manuscript.

  • The list should be in alphabetical order (Treat Mc as Mac. Surnames containing, for example, De, de la, or Von, should be listed under D or V.)
  • Names should be in upper and lower case.
  • When several references have the same author(s), the name should be repeated each time and the list should be in chronological order. If the list includes several references by the same author in the same year, distinguishing between or among them by adding a letter to the date of publication (for example, 2002a, 2002b, and so forth).
  • In co-authored references, all authors' full names must be included as they appear in the work being referenced.
  • Generational references in names, such as Jr or II, should be listed following the given name and a comma. For example,
Rockefeller, John D., III, [the rest of the reference].

Here are some examples of how to cite different types of material. Titles of publications should be italicized rather than underlined.


Archer, Keith, Roger Gibbins, Rainer Knopff and Leslie Pal. 1995. Parameters of Power: Canada's Political Institutions. Scarborough: Nelson.

Atkinson, Michael M., ed. Governing Canada : Institutions and Public Policy.1993. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Canada.

Locke, John. 1965. The Reasonableness of Christianity, ed. George W. Ewing. Chicago: Regnery.

Macpherson C. B.. 1962. The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Chapter in an edited book

Bennett, Colin J. and Robin Bayley. 1999. "The New Public administration of Information: Canadian Approaches to Access and Privacy." In Public Administration and Policy: Governing in Challenging Times, ed. Martin W. Westmacott and Hugh P. Mellon. Scarborough: Prentice-Hall.

Journal article

Salazar, Debra J. and Donald K. Alper. 2002. "Reconciling Environmentalism and the Left: Perspectives on Democracy and Social Justice in British Columbia's Environmental Movement." Canadian Journal of Political Science 35: 527-66.

Conference paper

Nesbitt-Larking, Paul. 1994. "The 1992 Referendum and the 1993 Federal Election in Canada: Patterns of Protest." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association, Calgary.

Occasional paper series

Panayiotis, C. Afxentiou. 1999. "Convergence across Canadian Provinces." Discussion paper series. No. 99-03. Department of Economics. University of Calgary.

Thesis or dissertation

Barr, C. W. 2000. "Evaluations of Political Leaders in Canada, Britain and the United States."

Doctoral dissertation. York University, Toronto, Ontario.

Government documents

Canada. Parliament. 1992. Report of the Special Joint Committee on a Renewed Canada [Beaudoin-Dobbie Committee]. Ottawa: Supply and Services.

Canada. Privy Council Office. 1996. Discussion Paper on Values and Ethics in the Public Service. Ottawa: Privy Council Office.

Alcock, Reg. 2001. Canada. House of Commons Debates. November 27, 7576.

Court reports

Supreme Court of Canada. Morgentaler v. The Queen, [1976] 1 S.C.R. 616.

Dickson, C.J. Morgentaler v. The Queen, [1976] 1 S.C.R. 616, at 672.

Supreme Court of Canada. Simmons v. The Queen, (1988) 55 D.L.R. (4th) 673.

U.S. Supreme Court. Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

Magazine or newspaper articles

Johnson, A. D. 1998. "Measuring Excellence." Maclean's, November 23, 30-33.

"Spending Limits Irk Cabinet." 1997. The Globe and Mail (Toronto), December 3, A1.

Sources on the Internet

Cite sources on the Internet as closely as possible to conventional formats noted above. For example, consult the printed version, that would be referenced as:

Walker, Janice R. and Todd Taylor. 1988. The Columbia Guide to Online Style. New York: Columbia University Press.

Or consult the electronic version, that would be referenced as:

Walker, Janice R. and Todd Taylor. 1988. The Columbia Guide to Online Style. (April 23, 2001).

Note that in the reference to the electronic document, the date of the print version of the source and the date of an author's access to the electronic source are both listed in reference to the electronic version. If an Internet-based source lacks an author (institutional or human), a publisher or a date of printed publication, use the file name, the date the site was last revised or the date you accessed the site. For the latter case,

Canada Election Study. 2001. (July 20, 2001).

6. Endnotes

If any at all, manuscripts should contain only brief and necessary explanatory endnotes listed as "Endnotes" following the text and preceding the list of references.