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Referencing & Plagiarism: Plagiarism and other types of cheating

Referencing and avoiding plagiarism - video

More Learning Enhancement Team resources on Plagiarism and Referencing

Plagiarism: True stories

German minister resigns over plagiarism:

German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg stepped down after he was found to have copied large parts of his 2006 university doctorate thesis.


Steven King resigns over plagiarism row:

A former political advisor to previous First Minister David Trimble resigned from a newspaper following allegations of plagiarising his column.

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 tab above.