Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the use, without adequate acknowledgment, of the intellectual work of another person in work submitted for assessment. A student cannot be found to have committed plagiarism where it can be shown that the student has taken all reasonable care to avoid representing the work of others as his or her own.

It is essential you record what you have read and referred to in your written work, both within the text (citing) and at the end of your written work (bibliography). It is vital that you acknowledge what resources – print and electronic (including the Web) - you have referred to in your assignment, dissertation or thesis. If you don’t, you can be accused of plagiarism - the unacknowledged use of other people’s words and ideas. This is cheating.

Check your course handbook or ask your supervisor about the preferred citation style for your School.

Useful Links

More information on how to avoid plagiarism can be found from Student Learning Service.

 The University Library Guide to avoiding Plagiarism is a useful tool when unsure about referencing.


Checklist for Students

  1. When taking notes, be sure to put inverted commas around word-for-word quotes, so that when you come back to reread your notes, it is clear to you what is a quote, and what is a paraphrase in your own words.  Always write down exactly where the material comes from, including page number or url.

  2. When taking notes, use the correct citation / reference format.  If you are not clear about this, check your course guide or ask the teaching staff. 

  3. Familiarise yourself with whatever citation / reference format you are expected to use.  Remember that paraphrases, as well as direct quotes, need to be referenced. 

  4. Know roughly how many outside sources you are expected to use in your essay / assignment.  This will vary depending on discipline, course and level, and should be explained to you by staff or in the course guide.

  5. Once you have written a draft of your essay / assignment, look at the balance between your own ideas and the ideas from other people which you have brought in.  It should be very clear to the reader which is which, because all of the ideas from other people will be referenced.  Your own argument (your ideas) should provide the main framework for essay / assignment, and your evidence (other people's ideas) should be in support of your argument.

  6. Remember that you are signing a cover sheet which states that your essay / assignment is all your own work.

  7. Check whether you have to submit your essay / assignment to TurnitinUK.