Avoiding Plagiarism


Plagiarism is the practice of passing-off someone else’s work as your own, or using someone else’s work without acknowledgement.

Whilst it is an accepted part of academic study to research the ideas of others to develop your own understanding and arguments, it is essential to acknowledge your sources in presenting work for assessment.

You must credit the author when you:

  • Quote or refer to words or ideas taken from a book, magazine, newspaper, song, TV programme, film, web page, letter, or any other source,
  • Reproduce diagrams, pictures or illustrations, and
  • Use information gained by interviewing somebody.

Please watch this video; it nicely sums up the idea of avoiding plagiarism.

You should now understand that plagiarism is the representation of someone else’s words or ideas as your own, and that this is a serious academic offence.

So, when you write your own piece of work you must give credit to the sources, written or produced by others, which you have used or consulted. This will demonstrate the breadth of your research and enable others to trace the knowledge that has informed your work.

Keeping accurate records of the sources you have consulted throughout your research will make the job of constructing your reference list much easier.

The only times that you do not need to acknowledge a source is when you are writing about your own experiences, observations or conclusions, or when you are using common knowledge.

If in doubt; reference.


Citing Other People's Work

Crediting the work of others in your own work is done by referencing, or making citations. The Library referencing guide will help you with this and with constructing a list of sources used, known as a reference list.

The Harvard referencing system uses the name and a date of a publication to link in-text citations to sources recorded in a reference list.

Reference lists contain a complete list of all the sources that that have been cited directly in an assignment. This means that where there are in-text citations there is also a reference list entry.

A bibliography should also be included after the reference list to show sources that have been used to read around a topic, but have not been referred to directly in the body of the assignment.

When you create an in-text citation for a resource you have consulted, you should always use the author’s family name (or the name of organisation responsible for resource if there are no named authors) and the year of publication. The page number(s) should also be inserted for a direct quotation or when paraphrasing. Each in-text citation should then have a corresponding entry in your reference list.

There are three main ways in which you might use other people’s ideas and research throughout your work.

Direct quotations
A word for word inclusion of a quote in your piece of work. The author, year and page number(s) must be included in the in-text citation.

Restating someone else's argument in your own words. The author, year and page number(s) must be included in the in-text citation

Summarising the ideas/arguments of others in your own words. The author(s) and year must be included in the in-text citation.