AIM – Academic Integrity Monthly: How to Avoid Plagiarism
Welcome to the first in a series of articles keeping you in the know about how to avoid breaching the Academic Integrity (AI) policy. We know that might seem like a dry topic, but more than 600 students ended up in an Academic Integrity meeting in 2017/18; a number we’d like to see reduce.
This first AI article covers the most regularly reported area of AI; Plagiarism.
According to the University’s Handbook, plagiarism is “the use of ideas, intellectual property or work of others without acknowledgement or, where relevant, permission” (Point 2.4.1, Handbook F: Section 6).
Essentially, this means if you include something in your work that you have not written specifically for this assignment, and you have not stated where it has come from, you are plagiarising the original author’s work. By not referencing the original source, you are implying that those words are your own. This original source can then be highlighted when the work is submitted through Turnitin, and flagged to your markers.
So the first tip is: Always reference your sources.
Depending on your writing style, you may include the text verbatim (word for word), or you may paraphrase this. In either case, you should be making reference to the original work that you have read. If copying word for word, this should be included within speech marks to show it is a quote, as shown in the definition for plagiarism above.
There is a fantastic module on Moodle giving you the opportunity to look at how to avoid Plagiarism, which you can access here: https://moodle.chester.ac.uk/mod/lesson/view.php?id=380182
Our second tip is: Write your reference list as you go.
Depending on the length of your assignment, it could be extremely difficult to remember exactly where you have found external sources, so writing these as you go saves you from accidentally missing any citations, leading to sitting in an AI meeting.
Don’t forget – intention is not taken into account when markers spot plagiarism!
Our third tip: Improve your Academic Writing skills
The key to demonstrating good academic writing skills is to show that you understand the topic, and can use your own words to discuss it, with support from credible sources. If you aren’t demonstrating these skills then at best you will be losing out on marks across your assignments, and at worst you will end up being invited in for an Academic Integrity meeting.
“How can I get support with my academic writing?”
Study Skills are a support department within the University who offer a wide range of resources and support to help you improve your academic writing and avoid academic integrity issues. You can find out more about them here: https://portal.chester.ac.uk/lti/Pages/study-skills-for-students.aspx
“What should I do if I do have an Academic Integrity meeting?”
If you would like further support with an AI allegation, the SU Advice team can offer advice on what will happen and can attend meetings with you if you would like representation. To get advice from the team, either fill out our “Contact an Advisor” form here on the website (https://www.chestersu.com/advice/contact/) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more about the Academic Integrity processes here: https://www.chestersu.com/advice/academic/academicintegrity/