Plagiarism And How To Avoid
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This booklet and the accompanying website (URL opposite) have been designed to develop your understanding of authorship and plagiarism so that you can adopt good academic practice ND avoid committing plagiarism and related academic offences. Page 5 – Resources you may like to try page 6 ? Types Of plagiarism page 7 – Common reasons for plagiarism page 8 – Common mistakes page 9? Benefits of referencing page 9 – What needs referencing? Age 10 – How to avoid plagiarism – Summarizing, paraphrasing and page 11 quoting page 12 – How will it be detected? Page 12 – Turnstile Whether intentional or accidental, plagiarism is your responsibility as a student. Ignorance is no excuse. Please read this booklet carefully. Produced by the Learning and Teaching Unit. Contact Richard Yates tit questions relating to the booklet.
O University of Essex 2009 2 Plagiarism and how to avoid it Designed and printed by university of Essex Printing Services 50% recycled material Foreword by Professor Andy Downtown, Pro-Vice Chancellor Learning and Teaching Every degree programmer in every UK university requires students to submit and be assessed on written coursework of some sort, whether it is essays, reports, dissertations, or laboratory assignments.
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Such coursework is necessarily based on critical analysis Of a body of previous written work, and in recent years internet resources have increasingly come the source of the reference material on which the critical analysis is based. But at what point does reference to a source become plagiarism rather than legitimate summary or critique? Central to the development of good academic practice are the related notions of plagiarism and authorship, which this booklet will help you to understand.
In particular, the professional ethics and values expected of academic authors are the cornerstone of academic practice and the key to understanding the rules of academic work in general. Please read this booklet carefully and speak to your lecturer or supervisor bout any areas of confusion or uncertainty you may have. In simplest terms, plagiarism is cheating. In UK higher education, directly copying someone else’s words and ideas is not simply ‘borrowing, it is stealing, and the penalties can be extremely severe.
A full understanding of how to avoid plagiarism and other forms of academic cheating is something you will need from your first piece of coursework onwards. Start now. I hope you enjoy your time at Essex. Remember that the skills, values and practices that you develop during your time here will provide a high quality and lasting foundation for your professional life. Supporting resources online: www. Essex. AC. UK/plagiarism www. Essex. AC. UK/missiles 3 Introduction Many cases of plagiarism are committed each year as a result of misunderstanding.
But even though confusion and uncertainty are quite natural, especially at the beginning of a new course of study, misunderstanding is not accepted as an excuse or as a defense against an accusation of plagiarism. It is therefore important that you understand what the University considers to be good academic practice so that you can avoid all risk of committing plagiarism. You need to understand now, right from the beginning of the iris term. P rush h order to UT fully Understand plagiarism, it is t is important first h understand disconnect of W ‘authors IP’.
But what is it? Authorship refers to the production and ownership of ideas and intellectual material, such as books, articles, images, etc. The higher education system in the UK places great importance on recognizing the producer and owner of material. Whereas in some cultures knowledge is thought of as communal property, in the United Kingdom it is considered to be individual property. Therefore, improper or incomplete acknowledgement of a source of information is 4 legalism and how to avoid it treated as intellectual theft.
The proper name for this is ‘plagiarism’. The issue of ownership is complicated by the fact that some knowledge is said to be ‘common knowledge’. Do not be alarmed by this: ‘common knowledge’ is dealt with on page 9, in the section called ‘what needs referencing, which will help you to identify what needs to be referenced and what does not. The concept of authorship has an impact on all of your academic work, not just the way you are expected to apply referencing conventions.
At university, you will be encouraged to develop your own ideas and construct your own knowledge, using established knowledge as a foundation. You will be encouraged to ‘find your voice’, which means developing your own unique academic writing style – your ‘authorial voice’. The importance of understanding the concept of authorship goes beyond avoiding plagiarism. What is plagiarism? The University applies the following definition of plagiarism: ‘Using or copying the work of others (whether written, printed or in any other form) without proper acknowledgement in any coursework’.
The phrase ‘proper acknowledgement is explained in the following pages of this booklet, but, in brief, if you use the work of others, you just either quote it using quotation marks or paraphrase it – a practice which is explained on page 1 1. Whichever method you chooser you must always include a citation (I. E. A short in-text reference, e. G. Andrews, 2008: 22) and a bibliographic reference. Make sure you speak to your department about the preferred way of applying this principle, as referencing systems differ across the University.
Check your departmental handbook and website. The meaning of some of these terms – ‘quote’, ‘paraphrase’, ‘citation’ and ‘reference’ – may not be completely clear to you. While some are defined more fully in the proceeding pages, a full loosely of reference-related terms is available on the university’s plagiarism websites: If you feel that these terms lack sufficient meaning to you and are hindering your understanding of this booklet, we advise you to go online and read this booklet in conjunction with the website, which also features an interactive test.
Resources you may like to try missiles The University academic skills website is a growing source of interactive guidance and exercises for all students on a range of academic skills areas, including referencing. Www. Essex. AC. UK/missiles/skills/referencing/ reprehensibility. SP Plagiarism website The plagiarism website includes much of the information in this booklet and more. It also includes a quiz so you can test your understanding of plagiarism, and a short film in which students around campus talk about plagiarism. Types of plagiarism You will be plagiarism if you: Copy someone else’s work and present it as if it were your own If you use a source when you write your assignment, whatever that source might be, you must not simply copy whole sentences or paragraphs as though they are your own. Regardless of your intentions, it is plagiarism: even if you think the ententes are excellent and express the point better than you could; even if you have taken so many notes on a topic that you have forgotten to note the reference to some of the sources.
Whatever your reason, the rules are very clear: if you copy someone else’s words and use them as your own you will be plagiarism and penalized accordingly. Copy sections of someone else’s work but change the odd word or phrase If you use someone else’s work in anything you submit for assessment then you must make sure that you give the author full and proper credit according to the conventions of your discipline. You cannot escape this by simply changing some of the words and phrases. You must always acknowledge and give full credit to all of your sources. If you would prefer not to quote because of the context, then paraphrase instead. Submit the same piece of work for two different assignments, even if they are to different departments You must not submit exactly the same piece of work for two different assignments. If you have been rewarded for a piece of work once then you cannot expect to be rewarded again for the same piece, even if it was submitted in a different year of study. You will be cheating if you try to get woo sets of marks for one piece of work. However, it is perfectly acceptable to use material from your earlier assignments, so long as you make sure that you acknowledge the original source, even if that source is yourself. Submit written work produced collaboratively, unless this is specifically allowed This is known as ‘collusion’. Alternatively, if you are required to work with another person, it is simply ‘collaboration’. Whereas in most cases of plagiarism, the second party (the person being plagiarisms) is not involved directly with the first party (the plagiarism), in cases of collusion, the first and second party work together to deceive a third party (the marker). 6 Common reasons for plagiarism Reasons for committing plagiarism vary from fairly innocent and accidental mistakes to the deliberate intention to deceive.
Unfortunately, no allowance is made for whether the act was intended, as we saw from the University definition of plagiarism on page 5. Some reasons that are commonly given but are unacceptable include: Being unclear about what plagiarism is Having insufficient time management skills or being idle – e. G. Being too disorganized with deadlines to undertake and submit original work Having an ineffective method of note-taking – e. G. Not always recording the source of information Feeling under extreme pressure to pass or succeed – whether it be financial, parental, cultural, etc. Having different cultural values / practicing different academic conventions Mistakenly believing that it will be easy to get away with (see the section ‘How will it be detected? On page 12) Knowing that the syllabus has stayed the same each year – e. G. Having access to work from previous students Having unclear instructions for an assessment task (if in doubt, always lariat with your tutor) Having a lack of academic confidence (again, speak to your tutor or a study skills advisor) Being conditioned from secondary schooling ? e. . Not being familiar with the requirement to acknowledge sources (sorry, no excuse) 7 Common mistakes There are many reasons why acts of plagiarism occur, some of which are due to genuine mistakes that relate to referencing and notating practices. Some students make the mistake of thinking that plagiarism does not apply to every type of source material or to every type Of assignment, but it does. Unfortunately, no allowance is made for whether the act as intended or unintended.
Examples of some common mistakes include: “l thought it would be K if I included the source in my bibliography only. ” “l made lots of notes for my essay and couldn’t remember where I found the information. ” “l adhere to other academic conventions” “In school I was taught that copying from textbooks and the internet showed that I had done my research properly. ” “l thought it would be K to use material that had purchased online. ” “l thought it would be K to copy the text if changed some Of the words into my own. “l thought that plagiarism only applied to says, I didn’t know that it can also apply to oral presentations/group projects, etc. ” “l didn’t think I had to reference my tutor’s notes. ” “l didn’t think that I needed to reference material found on the web. ” “l left it too late and just didn’t have time to reference my sources. ” Please make sure that you do not make these mistakes. If you require any further guidance, you should contact your department. 8 Benefits Of referencing Avoiding plagiarism is not the only reason for referencing.
There are many others. Benefits of referencing include: Receiving credit for your own hard work and research Demonstrating your intellectual integrity by conforming to agreed academic standards of good practice Receiving meaningful feedback from your tutor that is targeted to the level you are really at (not pretending to be) Conceptualizing your work to show how it relates to current research and debates Directing your reader to sources of information and enabling them to ‘pick up the thread’ What needs referencing?
Before considering what needs to be referenced, it may be helpful to first consider what does not. ‘Common is the term used to describe established facts that are not attributable to a particular person or authority. For example, it is known that John Lennox was assassinated in 1 980, in New York, by Mark Chapman. However, what is less likely to be classed as common knowledge and therefore taken for granted is the reason why Chapman killed him. This is because there have been numerous theories, each one claiming to hold the answer.
The following do need to be referenced: Ideas and quotations taken from journal articles, books, etc. Information taken from the web Images from the web and elsewhere Newspaper articles 9 How to avoid plagiarism As well as having an understanding Of what legalism is, you will also need to develop certain skills to fully protect yourself. Some of the key academic skills you will need to develop are: Learning how to take notes effectively Many instances of plagiarism can be traced back to the note-taking stage.
Make sure you always record the reference details of your sources for ideas, quotations, and general information. Read the guide to note-taking on the University missiles website. Learning how to reference correctly Most departments provide their own guidance on referencing there is more than one system used around the University, so it is important that you follow our department’s guidelines, where available. Usually, this information features in the departmental Undergraduate Handbook.