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Psychology/APA style, research methods and plagiarism


I decided to ask you a question given that you are a psychologist with experience in research methods.

I found a syllabus in the internet on research methods in which the professor  wrote:
"Having too many direct quotes and statements also counts as academic dishonesty even if they are properly quoted and cited."

Is that a general practice in the field of psychological research?
As far as I know, APA style and research methods do not consider properly quoted texts to be plagiarism. What is your opinion on this professor's statement?

Notice that the wording is "having TOO MANY direct quotes.....".   This is an issue in all academic writing, not just in the field of psychology.  I agree with this professor.

What the professor is saying is that if most of your paper is quotes then you have not put in enough of your own words, thoughts, ideas or interpretations.  You are simply taking the author's ideas and repeating them.   I see this in some of the classes that I teach.  For example, students are given an assignment to find a primary research article in a scholarly journal, read it and write a one page summary that describes the purpose of the study, the methods, the results and the application of the findings.  If the student writes "According to the authors, "the purpose of the study is to examine the effect of sleep deprivation on academic performance" (p. 62)." --  the student has not used his own words to explain the purpose of the study.  I have no way of knowing if he truly understands the purpose of the study or is just cutting and pasting.

I hope that makes sense to you.


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Katherine ONeill


I can answer academic questions about psychology. I am not a clinician (therapist), I am a research psychologist with expertise in biopsychology, general psychology, cognitive psychology, research methods and psychopharmacology.


I have 25 years experience as a researcher in health behavior, biopsychology and psychopharmacology.

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Applications of Market Research for Small Business UMBC Activate Program, March 2008 HIV/AIDS: An assessment of Need in the Continuum of Care. Optum Health Education., 12/2008 Maximizing the online medium for market research: Best practices. Market Research for Pharmaceuticals Conference, 12/06/2006 O誰eill, K.A. APD, ADD, ADHD and AD/HD: Personal and scientific reflections. Audiology Online, 6/6/2005. O誰eill, K.A. et al, Hyperactivity induced by NMDA injections into the nucleus accumbens. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 34(4), Dec 1989, 739-745. O誰eill, K.A. and Liebman, J.M. Unique behavioral effects of the NMDA antagonist, CPP, upon injection into the medial prefrontal cortex of rats. Brain Research, 435(1-2), Dec 1987, 371-376. O誰eill, K.A. and Gertner, S.B. Effects of centally administered H2 antagonists on motor activity. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. 264, 1987, 683-686. O誰eill, K.A. and Gertner, S.B. Effects of centrally administered H2 antagonists in the behavioral despair test. 90(2), 1986, 190-192. O誰eill, K.A. Chronic desipramine attenuates morphine analgesia. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. 24(1), Jan 1986, 155 158. O誰eill, K.A. and Valentino, D. Escapability and generalization: Effect on 礎ehavioral despair. European Journal of Pharmacology 78(3), March 1982, 379-80. O誰eill, K.A. et al, An automated high capacity method for measuring jumping latencies on a hot plate. Journal of Pharmacological Methods, 10(1), Aug 1983, 13-18. O誰eill, K.A., Scott, C. and Weissman, A. Naloxone enhances nociceptive responding. Society for Neuroscience, Abstract 9: 274, 1983.

Ph.D. Experimental Psychology, University of Rhode Island, 1983. Post doctoral fellow dept of psychiatry, New York University Medical Center, 1983-1984. Post doctoral fellow, dept of pharmacology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 1984-1985.

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