Plagiarism is when a student fails to reference work that is not their own. By not showing clearly where the other person’s work has come from, it makes it look like the student is trying to take credit for the other person’s work.
It is important that you remember to reference any sources you use to inform your work. This is not limited to written sources; you must also reference images, tables, statistics, videos and any other media you use. It is also very important that you reference using the correct referencing structure; the College’s referencing guide can help you if you are not sure how to do this.
Below are some tips to help you avoid plagiarism:
- Quotations should always be shown with clear quotation marks at the start and end of the quotation and followed by an in-text citation.
- Paraphrasing is when you re-write someone else’s work by changing the sentence structure or wording. Paraphrasing is plagiarism; you are making someone else’s idea look like your own. Instead you should summarise the key points of what you’ve read in your own words and include an in-text citation.
- Cutting and pasting from online sources is still plagiarism. Information from all sources must be properly referenced.
- Start to develop a group work agreement when working on group tasks. It is important to be clear about which parts of the work you and your team have created so that everyone can be credited correctly, even if the group is being given an overall mark. It is also a useful way of preventing arguments or resolving any that start. For more information, please see our guide to group work.
- Inaccurate references are where many people fall down. It is important for your references to be correct and accurate and you must only reference books and other resources that you have actually read.
- Never submit a piece of work written by anyone but yourself.
- Never submit a piece of work that you have handed in previously for a different assignment. This is called auto-plagiarism; basically, you’re copying yourself. The whole point of your assignments is to show what you’ve learnt, submitting the same piece of work twice doesn’t show that you’ve learnt anything.
- Unintentional plagiarism is something that many students worry about. This is when you’ve plagiarised by accident and don’t know about it. However, depending on how serious it is, there may still be repercussions for the student.
The best way to avoid plagiarism is to avoid situations where you may be at risk of plagiarising in your work. Make sure that you have read the College’s plagiarism policy and reference all sources correctly as you write your work. Do not leave your references to the last minute as this is often the cause of inaccurate references.
If you don’t know how to reference correctly, you should speak to your tutor or Librarian Hannah or consult the College’s referencing guide.