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A Social Sciences Guide to Research

Academic Integrity

The main purpose of a university is to encourage and facilitate the pursuit of knowledge and scholarship. The attainment of this purpose requires the individual integrity of all members of the University community, including all graduate and undergraduate students. Scholars at McMaster demonstrate integrity in many ways:

  • Scholars practice intellectual honesty in the process of acquiring and extending knowledge. They do this by improving scholarly competence, and by exercising critical thinking and self-discipline.
  • Scholars show respect for and courtesy to others in free discussions on academic topics and recognize the right to free inquiry and opinion.
  • Scholars adhere to ethical requirements in their research.
  • Scholars acknowledge fully the work of others by providing appropriate references in papers, essays and the like and declaring the contributions of co-workers. Scholars do not take credit that is not earned.
  • Scholars strive to ensure that others are not put at a disadvantage in their pursuit of knowledge. They do not withhold material that should rightly be available to all.

The University states unequivocally that it demands scholarly integrity from all of its members. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive to the values of the University; furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to those students who pursue their studies honestly.

source: https://www.mcmaster.ca/policy/Students-AcademicStudies/AcademicIntegrity.pdf

Scholarship as Communication: Citation as a Component of Communication

Proper citation is about more than just avoiding plagiarism.

Academic scholarship is a conversation in which proper citation shows our reader where we got our information. We give credit to the writers who put a lot of time and sometimes money into producing the materials we use in our research. Further we facilitate the experience for our readers by showing them the important works that are part of this ongoing conversation so that they can further develop on the topic in the same way that we did.

Citation Styles

Confused about how to cite? This video explains the fundamentals of APA citations. (2:49)

Transcript (PDF) | Transcript (.doc)

In this video you’ll learn how to write basic in-text citations and a Works Cited list in MLA. (3:38)

Transcript (PDF) | Transcript (.doc)

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