Plagiarism and Copying

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How to avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism.

Plagiarism is cheating. Offences will be penalised according to the degree of seriousness in particular cases. However you should be aware that sanctions can be of a very serious nature. Penalties can include (i) failing the particular component of assessment ii) failing the unit and iii) failing the year.

The most serious forms of plagiarism include:

• The use without acknowledgement of another author’s (or another student’s) work.

• Putting into an essay or other piece of work sentences, phrases or sections from a text which are not your own without any indication that this is being done.

Other forms of plagiarism and closely associated practices include:

• Following exactly the plan and sentence structure of the text which is being used, but altering the precise words.

• Use of an occasional sentence or phrase lifted without acknowledgement.

• Copying into an essay or other piece of work sentences, phrases or sections which are not your own with an acknowledged reference but without quotation marks.

• The use of tables, graphs and other data without acknowledgement.

Copying is:

When you take material from other essays and try to pass it off as you own work.

Every university has procedures for dealing with plagiarism and copying. The sanctions are very firm, including the awarding of 0 for offending work, or requiring persistent offenders to leave their course.

Note: You must always use quotation marks/inverted commas to indicate when the sentences/sections being used are not in your own words and provide fully footnoted references to your sources, including page references. If lengthy, indent as well. So, if in doubt, quote. Of course an assignment which was composed entirely of acknowledged quotes, while not plagiarised, would still get a very poor mark! As a general guideline your essay should not contain more than 10% quotations.

It is essential that when you take notes from texts you use some system to ensure that it is absolutely clear when you are copying verbatim and when your notes are in your own words. You should always include page references in your notes so that these can be included when necessary in footnotes.

If you are still unsure, seek advice!


To avoid plagiarism all work should use scrupulous standards of referencing. References should be given when citing an opinion that is not your own, - and always when quoting.

The Harvard system uses a procedure whereby, on each occasion reference is made, the author being referred to has name and publication date, along with the relevant page numbers if appropriate, given in brackets in the text: e.g. (Gaultier, 1987: 13). This directs the reader to the bibliography at the end, where the full reference is given (see below).


What follows is a simplified version of the referencing demanded in printed academic work for bibliographies. Your bibliography should cite in full the various books and articles which you have consulted in order to write your essay. These should be ordered alphabetically by author. Part of the point of a bibliography is to allow the marker to assess how successfully a student has researched the subject. It must not contain works on the selected reading list which were not consulted.

Bibliographic entries are listed in alphabetical order by author's name and then by date, either as: Smith J., 1986 or Smith, J. (1986).


Vidler, A. (1992) The Architectural Uncanny. MIT Press.

Flusser, V. (1999) The Shape of Things: A Philosophy of Design. Reaktion.

Woodham, J.M.(1997) Twentieth Century Design. Oxford University Press.

Web sites can move or disappear so please give the site title as well as the address;

The Victorian Web

If it has no title give the search term and name of the search engine used:

Picture of Susan Fortuna’s innovative chair design found under ‘Susan Fortuna’ in ‘Images’ on Google.


Some books that might help you are:

Barrass, R. (1982) Students Must Write. Routledge.

Drew , S. & Bingham, R. (1997) The Student Skills Guide Gower.


M 5446
Posted on May 10, 2010
Posted on May 4, 2010
Heather Tooley
Posted on Apr 29, 2010
Posted on Apr 29, 2010