Plagiarism is defined as the unacknowledged use of the work of others as if this were your own original work. More specifically:
a) Plagiarism may be due to:
- copying (using another person’s language and/or ideas as if they are your own);
- collusion (unauthorized collaboration).
b) Methods include:
- quoting directly another person’s language, data or illustrations without full and clear acknowledgement of the source;
- paraphrasing the work of others without due acknowledgement – even if you change some words or the order of the words, this is still plagiarism if you are using someone else’s original ideas and are not properly acknowledging it;
- using ideas taken from someone else without reference to the originator;
- cutting and pasting from the Internet to make a ‘pastiche’ of online sources;
- colluding with another person, including another student (other than as might be permitted for joint project work);
- submitting as part of your own report or dissertation someone else’s work without identifying clearly who did the work (for example, where research has been contributed by others to a joint project).
c) Plagiarism can occur in respect to all types of sources and all media:
- not just text, but also illustrations, musical quotations, computer code etc;
- not just text published in books and journals, but also downloaded from websites or drawn from other media;
- not just published material but also unpublished works, including lecture handouts and the work of other students.
How to avoid plagiarism
The main points you should pay attention are as follows:
- When presenting the views and work of others, include in the text an indication of the source of the material:
e.g. …as Jenkins (2006) has shown, convergence represents a far-reaching change of the media environment, affecting both the media and the audience
and give the full details of the work quoted in your bibliography.
- If you quote text verbatim, place the sentence in inverted commas and give the appropriate reference
e.g. “convergence is changing the ways in which media industries operate and the ways average people think about their relation to media” (Jenkins 2006: 243)
and give the full details in your bibliography: Jenkins, H. 2006. Convergence Culture. Where Old and New Media Collide. New York & London: New York University Press.
- If you wish to quote the work of another at length (i.e. more than 40 words) so that you can produce a counter-argument, set the quoted text apart from your own text (e.g. by indenting a paragraph) and identify it by using inverted commas and adding a reference as above.
- If you are copying text, keep a note of the author and the reference as you go along, with the copied text, so that you will not mistakenly think the material to be your own work when you come back to it in a few weeks’ time.
- If you reproduce an illustration or include someone else’s data in a graph include the reference to the original work in the legend:
e.g. (figure redrawn from Webb, 1976)
or (triangles = data from Webb, 1976)
- If you wish to collaborate with another person on any of your assignments, you should seek permission from your instructor or supervisor.
- If you have been authorised to work together with another candidate or other researchers, you must acknowledge their contribution fully in your introductory section. If there is likely to be any doubt as to who contributed which parts of the work, you should make this clear in the text wherever necessary.
e.g. I am grateful to A. Smith for analysing the data of the survey
- Be especially careful if cutting and pasting work from electronic media; do not fail to attribute the work to its source.