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What is plagiarism?

This video explains plagiarism and copyright, and how to use information appropriately in your assessments. (Duration: 2:17)

How do I know if I have plagiarised?

Plagiarism occurs when you:

  • use other people's words, ideas, or designs e.g. images
  • without acknowledging where they came from
  • in order to pass an assessment, get a higher mark or benefit in some other way.

Adapted from the Center for Academic Integrity. (2012). Why integrity?

Self plagiarism

This means copying your own work after it has been assessed, and then resubmitting it for another assessment without permission.  Check the Statement of Student Responsibility on the LMS log in page for more information.

What happens if I plagiarise?

The matter will be referred to an Academic Integrity Advisor from your school who will consider the evidence to determine whether it is poor scholarship (genuine lack of knowledge) or academic misconduct.

  • In the case of poor scholarship, you will be directed to educative action e.g. resubmit the assessment
  • Minor academic misconduct will incur a penalty to be determined by the Academic Integrity Advisor
  • Serious academic misconduct will be referred to the College Academic Misconduct Committee who will make a decision on the appropriate penalty.  You will receive formal advice of the alleged misconduct, and of your rights

Case studies

1.  Ashley is a 2nd year student and submits a piece of writing with a number of sentences copied and pasted from different sources.  There is no acknowledgement of these copied sentences in the essay, but there is a reference list at the end.

  • Decision - Poor scholarship:  Penalty - Educative action

The lecturer refers the case to the Academic Integrity Adviser, who talks to Ashley and finds out that she is a new student and has first year credits for studies elsewhere.  The AIA shows Ashley how to reference the quotes and explains that copying and pasting without acknowledgement is unacceptable.  Ashley is given an opportunity to resubmit the essay.

2.  Min is a 2nd year business student and submits a report in week 10 with much of the text taken directly from an internet site. There are a few in-text references in the report and a reference list with sources from the subject reading list, but no evidence that those sources were used in the assessment, nor is there acknowledgement of the internet site used.

  • Decision - Serious academic misconduct:  Penalty - subject failed

The lecturer refers the case to the Academic Integrity Adviser who notes that Min's class has received considerable support with referencing and plagiarism.  She notes that Min has previously received educative action for an academic integrity matter.  The case is referred to the College Academic Misconduct Committee and Min is asked to attend a hearing.  Min receives a penalty for serious academic misconduct, a mark of zero is awarded and resubmission is not allowed.  Because of the penalty, Min fails the subject and must repeat it.

It's not just writing

Sources that must be acknowledged are not limited to the printed word.  University policy states that students must "declare all printed, electronic, graphical, artistic work, and other kinds of sources from which they obtain materials or ideas used in work submitted for assessment" (Academic Integrity Procedure).  It's important to understand the rules around Copyright and how you use other people's work.

More resources:

Learn how to use other people's ideas in your own work, see Using sources

Learn how to reference from the Achieve@Uni Referencing resource and Academic Referencing Tool

Pathfinder link

Still have questions? Do you want to talk to an expert? Peer Learning Advisors or Academic Skills and Language Advisors are available.