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Referencing & Plagiarism: Plagiarism and academic integrity

Academic integrity and avoiding plagiarism

Academic integrity is a set of guiding principles that should underpin your studies while at university and into your professional life. Integrity at university simply means to act with honesty when completing academic work. 
MDX have created a range of guides and answered frequently asked questions to help you understand different aspects of academic integrity.  Please explore the resources including videos and corresponding PDF guides. We also highly encourage you to complete the online Student Success Essentials: Academic Integrity course to ensure that you are well-equipped for your studies and know how to avoid academic misconduct.

Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy and Procedures 2022-23

Academic Integrity: AI & ChatGPT

Middlesex University is aware of the discussions and debates currently taking place around tools such as ChatGPT and other AI apps.
You may be aware of such tools, but you should be aware that their use could breach university regulations. Assessments need to be your own work, based on your own learning. Guidance regarding Academic Integrity can be found on Unihub.

Buying essays or dissertations: Is it plagiarism?

Buying essays or dissertations or any other coursework from companies on the internet is a form of plagiarism. An example is this:

  • A student commissions a third party to complete an assignment  for them for a fee, then submits the work as their own without acknowledgment.       
  • While the essay may not contain any plagiarised text itself, it becomes an act of plagiarism and academic dishonesty once the student submits it for assessment and represents it as his or her own work.

This is cheating and is forbidden under Middlesex University Academic Misconduct regulations:

  • Taking unfair advantage over other students in assessment is considered a serious offence by the University which will take action against any student who contravenes the regulations through negligence, foolishness or deliberate intent.
  • This includes the use of 3rd party essay writing services.

Internet sites which sell essays or dissertations will tell you it's not plagiarism or cheating to buy from them.  They are lying.  Please don't buy coursework.

If you buy an essay or dissertation you risk:

  • Wasting your money.  How do you know they really are writing a brand new essay or dissertation for you?
  • Expulsion from the university without credit.
  • Being blackmailed by the essay writer who may threaten to expose your cheating if you don't pay them more money.
  • Not getting a good job, as your reference will show you cheated.
  • Losing your job later in life if you are caught.

Finding help

Plagiarism: What it is and how to avoid it

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is taking someone else‘s work or ideas and passing them off as your own own. It includes:

  • Copying – submission of someone else’s entire work as your own. The original work could be from the internet, a classmate, or a student in a previous year.
  • Copying parts from a number of different books, journals, or internet sites, and linking the parts together with your own words;
    failing to indicate a direct quote (quotation marks should be used) in the text.
  • Paraphrasing or synthesising material from a book, journal article or internet site without acknowledging the source in the text.
  • Composing a paragraph by joining together sentences from a number of sources and not acknowledging them in the text.
  • Using your own previous work in another assignment without acknowledging it.

The reasons for plagiarising can either be intentional or unintentional, and can often be due to:  poor time management, having problems with managing your workload, leaving the work to the last minute and taking the easy option, a crisis at home, or even just laziness.  The University has sophisticated technology that will catch plagiarised work, so by doing it you may seriously affect the outcome of your degree.  Accidental plagiarism is treated just as seriously as doing it on purpose.

Avoiding plagiarism

To avoid plagiarism you must ensure that you include all the references you have used in your work. This is not something that should be left to the last minute after you have finished writing as this is often when errors occur, due to insufficient time. Instead referencing should be an ongoing process throughout all stages of your academic work:

Reading and Note-taking:

  • Where exactly did the information come from?
  • Can I express its meaning in my own words?


  • Have I embedded references in the text as I write?
  • Have I got an up-to-date list of references?


  • Have I referenced everything that wasn’t my own idea?
  • Have I checked that all my quotes are accurate?
  • Have I checked that the references in my text cross- reference with the bibliography?

 For more information about how to reference see the Referencing Styles tab above.