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Types of plagiarism

There are five main areas where you could be found guilty of plagiarism.

Plagiarism can be accidental as well as deliberate! Look through the tips below to understand what is involved in each type and how you can avoid plagiarising 

Types of copying are

  • copying the work of another person;
  • the submission of work, as if it were your own, which has been obtained from the internet or any other form of information technology;
  • allowing or being involved in allowing, whether knowingly or unknowingly, another student to copy work, including physical or digital images.
  • Submitting the same, or very similar, work for more than one assignment

Circumstances in which lack of attribution or acknowledgement of sources can occur

  • the use in your own work of more than a single phrase from another person’s work, without the use of quotation marks and acknowledgement of the source;
  • the use of ideas or intellectual data of another person without acknowledgement of the source, or the submission or presentation of work as if it were your own;
  • the submission of coursework making significant use of unattributed digital images such as graphs, tables, photographs, etc. taken from books/articles, the internet or from the work of another person.

Using quotations

It is important to distinguish between quotations taken from material you have read and your own thoughts and words.  Make sure that you do not copy any sections of text without making it clear that this work comes from another source.  

If you do include short quotes these must be within double quotation marks ("text quoted") and you must give the reference within the text including the page number. 

Longer quotes should be separated from the body of your text and indented from the left-hand margin. In this case you do not need to use quotation marks.  Again you must add the citation, including the page number.

Sometimes you may want to miss out some unnecessary words. If you do this replace the missing words with ... (three dots).  At other times you may want to insert your own words into the quote so that it makes better grammatical sense in your work.  When you do this write the words you added in  [square brackets] to distinguish them from the author's.

In both these cases be careful not to change the meaning of the quote by removing or adding too many words.


Paraphrasing means incorporating the ideas from an author’s text into your own work. You must paraphrase if you want to include ideas from other authors to support your own ideas.  Paraphrasing demonstrates that you have understood the ideas you have read and are able to use them successfully in your own thinking.  Poor paraphrasing often happens when students don't fully understand the text.  

When you paraphrase you will also normally aim to condense the original text into fewer words that convey the idea equally well.   Look at the whole paragraph rather than paraphrasing single sentences. 

Tips for paraphrasing

  • Read the text several times to ensure you understand its meaning.
  • Make notes to extract the main idea from the sentence/paragraph.
  • Re-write your notes into a proper sentence with a different structure 
  • Now re-read the original text and make sure the meaning of your paraphrased text is still the same and that nothing has been misinterpreted.
  • Add a citation for the source using the appropriate referencing format for your subject area.

Collusion happens when two or more students collaborate to produce a piece of work which is then submitted as though it was an individual student’s own work. Where students in a class are specifically instructed or encouraged to work together in the preparation or submission of an assignment, such group activity is regarded as approved collaboration and this will be clearly stated.

Where there is a requirement for the submitted work to be solely that of the individual, collaboration is not permitted. 

Tips to avoid Collusion

  • Don't leave work unattended 
  • Don't give copies of work to friends - no matter how desperate they are!
  • Unless you are collaborating on group work be careful how many ideas you share with others on your course.

Deception can take many forms - sometimes involving money. This list is not exhaustive.


  • Bribery
    Paying or offering inducements to someone else to obtain a copy of an unseen examination or test paper or to obtain a copy of a coursework assignment in advance of its distribution.
  • Commissioning:
    Getting another person to complete an assignment which is then submitted as your own work or making your work available for commissioning.
  • Impersonation:
    Someone other than you prepares the work submitted for assessment. This includes purchasing essays from essay banks, commissioning someone else to write an assessment or asking someone else to sit an examination.
  • Computer fraud
    The use of  material belonging to another person stored electronically as if it were your own.
  • Duplication:
    Inclusion in coursework of any material which is identical or similar to material which has already been submitted for another assessment within the University or elsewhere, for example submitting the same coursework for two different modules.
  • False declarations 
    in order to receive special consideration by an Assessment/Award Board.
  • Falsification of data:
    For example, presenting data from projects or laboratory reports, based on work which you claim to have  carried out but which have been invented, altered, copied or obtained by other unfair means.


Misconduct in examination and tests includes:
  • Taking concealed crib notes or other unauthorised material (including electronic devices) into an examination or test, whether or not they could be used to gain advantage and whether used or not.
  • Obtaining an advance copy of an ‘unseen’ written examination or test paper; communicating or trying to communicate in any way with another student during an examination or test.
  • Copying or attempting to copy from another student sitting the same examination or test; being party to impersonation, where another person sits an examination or test in the place of the actual student or a student is knowingly impersonated by another.
  • Leaving the examination or test venue to refer to concealed notes; taking rough notes, stationery, scripts or examination or test papers which indicate that they are not to be removed, from the examination or test venue.
  • Continuing to write after the invigilator has announced the end of the examination period.