Frequently asked questions
On this page:
- I still don't really understand what plagiarism is. Where can I get help?
- How do I avoid plagiarising?
- At school we were allowed to use information from the web. Is this allowed?
- My friend and I often work together on our assessed coursework and regularly swap essays particularly if one is given a high mark. Is this ok?
- My friend bought her last essay from a company and received a high mark for it. I still need to submit one of my assignments and I'm worried I haven't left enough time to do it properly. It would be much easier to buy the essay and use the time for revision. Can you think of any reason why I shouldn't use this company?
Plagiarism is a form of unfair practice involving passing off someone else's work as if it were your own without appropriate acknowledgement. If, after reading the University's statement on plagiarism and any guidance provided by your faculty or department, you are still unsure, you should seek advice from your Director of Studies or Tutor. For a list of other sources of support at the University please see the 'resources and support' section.
If in doubt always cite the source where you obtained the information/work you are referring to.
By being sure you understand and follow the correct referencing techniques for your subject. Some of the most commonly used reference techniques are Harvard and Vancouver. Make sure you are aware of and understand the conventions appropriate to your subject and use those recommended by your own Department.
You are able to cite and use information whatever its source as long as it is appropriately referenced and there are specific ways of doing this for web-based sources.
You should consult any guidance issued by your Department on correct referencing techniques and if in doubt consult your Tutor or Director of Studies.
Sometimes you may be assessed by your Department to do some form of joint project in which case you need to make sure you follow any relevant guidelines or instructions you may have been given. In some instances, although you may be expected to collaborate, you will still be required to make your own contribution.
Where coursework is to be submitted and assessed individually it is ok to discuss the topic with other students providing the work you submit is your own and not copied or extensively borrowed from somebody else.
My friend bought her last essay from a company and received a high mark for it. I still need to submit one of my assignments and I'm worried I haven't left enough time to do it properly. It would be much easier to buy the essay and use the time for revision. Can you think of any reason why I shouldn't use this company?
Yes. Getting someone else to do work on your behalf (by a company, friend or parent) still counts as plagiarism. If you are found out, you will undoubtedly receive a lower overall mark and could even fail your exams. You are also unlikely to understand the topic as well as if you had undertaken the work yourself so it isn't the best way of helping you prepare for your exams.
Finally, remember that as a student you are part of an academic community and plagiarism in any form is unacceptable.