Being original and plagiarism
Plagiarism is the presentation of another person's thoughts, words or images and diagrams as though they were your own. Plagiarism can be intentional or unintentional, but must be avoided at all times.
When studying for a research degree (and as you continue in your research career) it is your responsibility to conduct and disseminate research results in an honest and ethical matter. When you prepare your IRP, ESR/A, LSR, or final thesis as well as other scientific publications and presentations during the course of your studies it is essential to bear plagiarism in mind.
An online course on plagiarism awareness is available through the Graduate School. The course is compulsory, and will provide you with guidance and information about proper citation and attribution in writing.
Key things to think about and avoid include:
Quotation without clear acknowledgement
You must always identify quotations clearly and accurately. The reader must be able to tell which parts of the work are yours, and which are quotations.
As a researcher, citing the work of others that is relevant to your research is crucial. There are three key ways that one can cite the work of others:
- Directly quoting what another academic has said in a book or article (quoting)
- Describing that academic’s work but putting it in your own words (paraphrasing)
- Stating a fact or research finding and acknowledging where you found it (referencing)
Copying from the internet
You can use information you have found online as a source of material for your work, but it stills needs to be referenced properly. There are specific ways to reference online sources, which you will need to be aware of.
Some of your research projects may involve working with others. Make sure you understand whether this is to be submitted with individual contributions or as a joint, co-authored piece of work. If your project is an entirely solo endeavour, unauthorised collaboration or failure to attribute any assistance will be considered plagiarism.
Your reference list should be complete, accurate and appropriately formatted. Remind yourself of the correct methods of referencing and citing other people’s work. Make sure you are clear about where your research has come from, and reference anything you have consulted as part of your reference list or bibliography.
Failure to acknowledge
If you have received any help from outside sources as part of your work, you must clearly acknowledge this. Outside assistance could come from your supervisor, other students, laboratory technicians, or a variety of other sources.
Getting someone else to do your work for you
As unlikely as it may seem, it has been known for researchers to employ a professional agency to write part or all of their research project for them. In the same way that you should not submit work that another researcher has written, you should not employ anyone to do your work for you.
Re-using your own work
While most plagiarism involves passing someone else’s work off as your own, it is also possible to auto-plagiarise. If you have previously submitted work for another degree or for another publication, you must not reuse this material without reference to its previous use.