Plagiarism

You must avoid the act of plagiarism when referring to other sources to support your assessed work.  Please read the information below carefully.

Defining plagiarism

"To take and use the thoughts, writings, inventions, etc. of another person as one's own."  (Oxford English Dictionary)

The work you submit for assessment must be your own. If you try to pass off the work of others as your own you will be committing plagiarism.

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 candidates. Any quotation from the published or unpublished works of other persons, including other candidates, must be clearly identified as such and a full reference to their sources must be provided in proper form. A series of short quotations from several different sources, if not clearly identified as such, constitutes plagiarism just as much as does a single unacknowledged long quotation from a single source.

What does plagiarism look like?

The most obvious form of plagiarism is to use someone else's words without any acknowledgment whatsoever.  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 the work of other people is referred to, there should always be an acknowledgement.

Any quotation from the published or unpublished works of other persons, including other candidates, must be clearly identified as such by being placed inside quotation marks and a full reference to their source must be provided in proper form. A series of short quotations from several different sources, if not clearly identified as such, constitutes plagiarism just as much as does a single unacknowledged long quotation from a single source. 

For example, this constitutes plagiarism:

In my essay, I will be analyzing 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 does not (because it is properly quoted):

In my essay, I will be analyzing 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 does this (because it is properly referenced and summarised in your own words):

In my essay, I will be analyzing 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

Please note that plagiarism can arise from failing to source material obtained from Internet sources as well as from books, articles, etc. 

Self-plagiarism

A piece of work may only be submitted for assessment once.  Submitting the same piece of work twice (or a significant part thereof, as determined by examiners) will be regarded as an offence of 'self-plagiarism' and will be processed under the School's regulations on assessment offences.  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.

Avoiding plagiarism

The appropriate citation of sources is an important tool for scholarly work and the responsibility for learning the proper forms of citation lies with the individual student.  However, the Department of Social Policy and the School do provide resources to assist students.  Information about referencing is available in Basic study skills|. It is advisable to observe the standards used in top refereed journals and follow them.

If you are unclear about plagiarism and/or require assistance with the academic referencing conventions used by the School you should seek guidance from your academic adviser or the Library|.

Further useful sources of information (external):

Detection of plagiarism

Examiners are vigilant for cases of plagiarism and the School uses plagiarism detection software to identify plagiarised text.  Work containing plagiarism may be referred to an Assessment Misconduct Panel, which may result in severe penalties.

In a case of suspected plagiarism, the Department will act according to the School's Regulations on Assessment Offences - Plagiarism|.

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