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Research Process: A Step-By-Step Guide: 4: Ethical Use of Information

A guide to help you through the steps of the research process.

Access and Use Information Ethically and Legally

Students and professionals must use information ethically and legally and understand the socio-economic issues surrounding the use of information. As a student, if you use a source of information and claim it as your own it is called plagiarism. Plagiarism is an ethical violation of most universities’ student conduct code. Consequences range from failing the assignment or failing the course, and possible expulsion from the institution. In professional practice, using other peoples’ work and information and passing it off as your own is considered copyright infringement and can be punished with legal action such as financial penalties. Always cite the information sources you use in your research!

Using Information Legally and Ethically

The legal and ethical issues surrounding the use of information goes beyond avoiding plagiarism and properly citing sources.

Researchers should be knowledgeable about issues related to:

  • privacy
  • censorship
  • freedom of speech
  • intellectual property
  • copyright
  • fair use