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Plagiarism is presenting someone else's work (words or ideas) intentionally or unintentionally, as your own. This is considered to be a form of cheating.
Being aware of what counts as plagiarism and having good study practices means you won’t be at risk of plagiarising accidentally. This is still treated seriously even though you don’t mean to cheat. This short video introduces plagiarism and how to be aware of your referencing and feedback to avoid unintentional mistakes.
Understanding why, when and how to reference is crucial. It is important to show clearly where you have got any ideas, including non-written sources like statistics, pictures, and maps. See our page for more on referencing.
It’s not just about avoiding plagiarism. The bigger picture is being part of a community that creates and uses knowledge ethically, accurately and fairly. See our page for more on what academic integrity means.
If you have good systems for note-making, developing your critical thinking, and accurate paraphrasing, you won’t need to be concerned about plagiarising. Look at our pages on these areas for useful strategies:
Time pressure is probably the most common reason for students to cut and paste, or take short cuts that lead to plagiarism. Plan out your time, especially if you have multiple deadlines, and always build in time for a careful proof-read to catch things like missing quotation marks! See our guides for more on time management and proofreading.
There are other ways of not being honest in your academic work, such as:
Familiarise yourself with Brookes' definitions of cheating and academic conduct policy: