What is plagiarism?
Presenting the words, ideas or content of others as your own
Failing to correctly reference the words or ideas of others
Using content from your own past assignments
Paying someone to do your assignment
How do I avoid plagiarism?
There are two ways to avoid plagiarism at university:
1. Cite and reference sources correctly
It is essential that you know when and how to include direct quotations, paraphrases, in-text citations and a reference list in your assignments.
Direct quotes should only be used occasionally in your writing. They are used when the author expresses the idea in an original way or gives a specific definition of a key term. You always need to use quotation marks when quoting, and where possible, you should also include the page number in your citation. For example:
Smith (2019, p.187) defines globalisation as “a process of global interconnectedness through trade, migration and cultural exchange.”
Paraphrasing means using the ideas of other writers but putting them into your own words. It’s more common than quoting because it shows the reader that you have understood what you’ve read, as well as ensuring that your whole text is written in a cohesive style. For example:
Original statement: In order to be successful in their studies, it is essential that students are able to plan their essays effectively, as this has a significant impact on the structure of the piece of academic writing.
Paraphrased statement: If students wish to succeed at university, they need to be organised and able to plan the structure and content of their essays (Lopez, 2019).
An in-text citation is included in the body of your text to show the reader which information has come from another source. There are two main ways to cite a source, but in both cases you only need the surname(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication, plus the page number if it is a quotation.
Munoz-Luna (2015) suggests that a key part of the assignment writing process is planning what to write and how to structure it appropriately.
A key part of the assignment writing process is planning what to write and how to structure it appropriately (Munoz-Luna, 2015).
The reference list appears on a separate page at the end of your assignment. Every source that has been quoted or paraphrased in your assignment needs to be listed here in alphabetical order by surname. Always check with your teacher if you are not sure what the appropriate referencing style is.
2. Correctly incorporate the ideas of scholars
You should refer to information, ideas and research from other sources in order to:
Summarise concepts or give examples to more fully explore a topic
Explain and evaluate the existing research related to your topic
Provide evidence to support any claims or recommendations that you make
You need to know what your purpose is before you quote or paraphrase any writer. Follow these steps to help you achieve this:
1. Read the original sentence(s) several times to make sure you understand it.
For example, look at this extract from Smith (2019), p. 56:
Children who do not eat breakfast are at a disadvantage at school. Children must have their dietary needs met in order to have sufficient energy to apply themselves to learning.
2. Decide how this idea is relevant to your assignment.
This idea is relevant because my task is asking me to think about why children need a healthy diet, and this information supports my claim that students will struggle at school if they don’t eat a proper breakfast.
3. Incorporate the scholars’ ideas into your essay, using your own words and referencing correctly.
Research suggests children need to eat a healthy, balanced diet so that they can get the most out of their education. For example, Smith (2019, p. 56) says that without eating a proper breakfast, students will struggle at school and will be at a significant disadvantage.