Plagiarism - what is it?

Plagiarism is presenting or submitting someone else's work (words or ideas),
intentionally or unintentionally, as your own. This is considered to be a form
of cheating and may be subject to disciplinary action.

There are various forms of plagiarism including:

  • Copying: using the same, or very similar, words to the original text
    (whether in a book, journal, website or any other source) without
    either acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This also
    applies to images, pictures and melodies.
  • Paraphrasing: changing a few words and phrases from the original
    but retaining too much of the original structure and expressions
  • Collusion: working with others but passing off the work as your own
    individual work
  • Duplication: submitting work for one module which had been
    prepared for another

How to avoid plagiarism

  • Time management: allow yourself plenty of time to carry out all the
    steps involved in producing an assignment (reading and research,
    making notes in your own words, thinking time for your own ideas,
    putting your information in order, writing up and citing sources used).
    If you are short of time it can be more tempting to copy or just change
    a few words of the original text.
  • Making notes: When you have found a good source of information
    (book, journal article or web resource), make notes in your own words.
    If you wish to include an actual quotation from the source (i.e. using the
    original words), then mark your notes accordingly.
  • Keeping records of sources: Write down details of all sources used
    - author, title, publisher, etc. Use the Library citing guides to check which
    details you will need.
  • Citing all sources: All ideas gained from someone else, whether
    expressed in your own words or exact quotations, need to be
    acknowledged both in the text of your work and in the bibliography at
    the end. Use the Library citing guides for detailed help.

University regulations

The University Regulations and Policies give detailed information about all aspects of cheating.

Information for staff

The Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development (OCSLD) has information on its web pages on deterring plagiarism. This supports Jude Carroll's book entitled 'Handbook for deterring plagiarism in higher education', copies of which are available in the Library. Check our Library Catalogue for details.

Further advice for staff is available from: This service provides resources, training, advice and guidance on plagiarism prevention and detection to institutions and academics.