What exactly is Plagiarism?

Princeton University describes plagiarism as ‘a piece of writing that has been copied from someone else and is presented as being your own work’. And they describe the act of plagiarising as: ‘taking someone’s words or ideas as if they were your own’.

This definition can also apply to work such as performances, design, non written works and presentations. Sources of other’s work include the work of other students, published material or the work of third parties under contract.

Most Universities will reserve the right to see if any student’s work is plagiarised and can (and will) submit students work into the ‘Turnitin’ system. Turnitin is advanced anti-plagiarism software that compares work against published materials and other work submitted by other Universities students.

Now you might be asking how you can avoid plagiarism?

The responsibility of avoiding plagiarism lies with you the author of the work. So always make sure you do the following:-

– Put any quotes into quotation marks and make sure that if you indent quotes (of a significant length) so that they easily stand out from the rest of the text, as this clearly marks them as other’s words and not yours.

– Always reference any material that you use in your essay or dissertation. Take care to cite these references accordingly.

– Make sure that you acknowledge the source within your text, and in full at the end (in the Bibliography section).

– When you paraphrase an individual, you should always acknowledge them as the source of the idea (s).

– Always plan in advance, so that you are not leaving your work until the last minute. This can help you to avoid plagiarism in your essay or dissertation.

– Ask your lecturer for further clarification on plagiarism if you are unsure about the originality of your academic work.

– You should always refer to your student handbook regarding the favoured citation and reference conventions.

Why reference academic sources?

• This is always seen as being good academic practice and helps avoid any plagiarism in your work.

• It also helps you the student to assimilate others ideas within your own arguments and thinking, whilst still acknowledging the other author’s influence.

• It is a specific skill which enables you to demonstrate the thoughts and research of others.

• Citation and referencing only aids the production of writing a well based and presented set of academic arguments, which ultimately strengthens your essay as it is supported by other researchers working in your subject field.

• By citing all the materials used in your essay by others, not only will you avoid plagiarism, but you are also helping to encourage further and future research to be undertaken in your subject area. Other students are then able to source original material which has lead to the development of your arguments and ideas. So this only helps to serve the academic community in the future.

• The examiner can see how much work you have done in your essay or dissertation by clearly reading your bibliography and is able award marks appropriately in a simple and fair manner, based on your efforts.

• Ultimately, any marks you receive for your work will reflect this academic practice.

If you need any help in avoiding plagiarism, we offer a FREE Plagiarism Checking Service just click this link and submit your work to us.

Alternatively if you wish use to write an essay or dissertation or need general advice about how to improve your work please click this link.

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