Academic plagiarism is the use of someone else’s words or ideas without giving credit to the original author.

If you use the words or ideas of someone else you need to cite and reference them fully as described in the referencing section, using the appropriate style.


When using someone else’s words, if you don't rewrite them as your own, you need to quote them. That means you need to use quotation marks “like these” around the words taken from the original author.

The words must be exactly the same as used by the original author. You can’t change them. Then at the end of the quotation you need an in-line citation and a reference in the reference section.

Paraphrasing and Summarizing

If you want to rewrite the original authors’ words you need to either paraphrase or summarise their work.

A paraphrase is a more detailed retelling of the original content than a summary which is just the main points (see the paraphrasing and summarizing sections for more detail).

The meaning of the original must be preserved but new words should be used so that they fit with the flow and style of your own writing. Both methods need an in-line citation and a full reference in the reference section.

Checking for Copied Text

Copying is a very serious offence. Depending on your specific organization you'll probably either fail that unit or your entire degree course if you're caught.

Many universities are now routinely using software to check students essay and reports for copied passages.

There are several different software programs or online services that you can use to check the final version of your work. Some of these are free while others you've to pay for.

Read the terms and conditions before you use them as some of the services will store your work and then publish parts of it online after a certain period of time (several months or a year).

These electronic essay checkers can often, only find exact phrases, so you should not used them as your only guide. You should learn, yourself, what is and what isn't stealing of someone else's work and make sure that your work is suitable for submission before you hand it in to be marked.

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