skip to content

How does referencing relate to plagiarism?

In general, plagiarism can be defined as the unacknowledged use of the work of others as if this were your own original work. In the context of an assessed piece of work, this could include passing off the work of others as your own to gain unfair advantage. Plagiarism may arise due to:

  • Copying (using another person's language and/or ideas as if they are your own);
  • Collusion (unauthorized collaboration)

Plagiarism can occur in respect to all types of sources and all media:

  • not just text, but also illustrations, computer code, experimental results 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  • not just published material but also unpublished works, including lecture handouts and the work of other students. 

What constitutes plagiarism?

The following would constitute plagiarism in Part II:

  • quoting directly another person's language, data or illustrations without clear indication that the authorship is not your own and due acknowledgement of the source;
  • paraphrasing the critical 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 candidate (other than as might be permitted for joint project work);
  • submitting as part of your own project, 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).

Although you are not specifically expected to acknowledge all sources of information in Part I, practices such as cutting and pasting from the internet or copying the work of others would be unacceptable even at this stage.

Ensure that you are familiar with the University’s Statement on plagiarism.


Activity: identify plagiarism

Read the following (hypothetical) extract from a Trends style essay entitled “How bacteria cope with stress” in which the sources have been correctly acknowledged: 

Dale (2006) proposed that stress combative mechanisms play a role in bacterial infections, which has been tested experimentally by gene knockout experiments to establish which genes essential for successful infection of experimental model systems (Jones et al., 2008). Patterson et al. (2009) compared these results with those from gene expression studies (Walker, 2008) to unequivocally identify stress response mechanisms required in successful pathogens. These approaches have the limitation that the experimental model systems may not adequately reflect the processes which take place in natural infection.

Consider three alternatives to this extract, located here (pdf) and consider why each would constitute plagiarism. 

Check your answers with this pdf file.