At LSE, we take plagiarism very seriously. The work you submit for assessment must be your own. If you try to pass off the work of others as your own - on purpose or by accident - you will be committing plagiarism. Below is a guide to help you avoid plagiarism. Please read it carefully.
What does plagiarism look like?
The most obvious form of plagiarism is to use someone else's words without any acknowledgment. However, inadequate referencing can also result in plagiarism. For example, inserting a section of text (of any size) from someone else's work in to your own without quotation marks would be plagiarism even if the source were acknowledged in a precise reference. If you use verbatim material from other sources it must both be in quotation marks or indented and precisely referenced with page numbers.
When you refer to the work of other people, you should always acknowledge them. Any quotation from the published or unpublished works of others, including other students, must be clearly identified by being placed inside quotation marks and a full reference to their source must be provided in proper form.
For example, this is plagiarism:
In my essay, I will be analysing the rise of NGOs. Since the 1980s, NGOs have moved to the forefront of development policy and practice. There are many different types of NGOs, as I will show in the next section…
This is not (because it is properly quoted):
In my essay, I will be analysing the rise of NGOs. As Smith has written (1998:17) "since the 1980s, NGOs have moved to the forefront of development policy and practice". There are many different types of NGOs, as I will show in the next section…
Nor is this (because it is properly referenced and summarised in your own words):
In my essay, I will be analysing the rise of NGOs. Smith (1998) points out that from the 1980s onwards NGOs have become more important actors in the field of development. There are many different types of NGOs, as I will show in the next section…
You must properly reference other people's work, whether you have read it in a book, article or on the internet. Digital and online sources are protected in the same ways as print sources.
Being able to appropriately cite your sources is an important tool for scholarly work and it is your responsibility to learn how to do it. However, LSE provides resources to help you. If you are unclear about plagiarism and/or need help with the academic referencing conventions used by the School, you should seek guidance from your Academic Mentor or the Library.
The School regulations state that:
"All work for classes and seminars as well as scripts (which include, for example, essays, dissertations and any other work, including computer programs) must be the student's own work. Quotations must be placed properly within quotation marks or indented and must be cited fully. All paraphrased material must be acknowledged. Infringing this requirement, whether deliberately or not, or passing off the work of others as the work of the student, whether deliberately or not, is plagiarism.
The definition of a student's own work includes work produced by collaboration expressly allowed by the department or institute concerned or, at MPhil/PhD level, allowed under the Regulations for Research Degrees. If the student has not been given permission, such work will be considered to be the product of unauthorised collusion and will be processed as plagiarism under these regulations."
Plagiarism refers to any work of others, whether published or not, and can include the work of other students. Any quotation from the published or unpublished works of others, including other students, must be clearly identified as such and a full reference to their sources must be provided.
A series of short quotations from several different sources, if not clearly identified as such, constitutes plagiarism just as much as an unacknowledged long quotation from a single source.
Recycling or reusing your own work may be considered self-plagiarism. You can only submit a piece of work for assessment once. If you submit the same piece of work twice (or a even significant part), it will be seen as 'self-plagiarism' and processed under the School's regulations on assessment offences along plagiarism of other people's work.
However, earlier essay work may be used as an element of a dissertation, provided that the amount of earlier work used is specified by the Department and the work is properly referenced. Please ask your Dissertation Advisor if you plan to do this so you can avoid inadvertently plagiarising yourself.
Examiners are vigilant for cases of plagiarism and the School uses plagiarism detection software to identify plagiarised text. Any work that contains plagiarism may be sent to an Assessment Misconduct Panel. This can result in severe penalties for you as a student.
If course leaders, examiners or programme managers suspect plagiarism, the Department will take action as set out in the School's Regulations on Assessment Offences – Plagiarism.