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Last Updated: Apr 11, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Plagiarism Print Page


Plagiarism is the work of another person's ideas or work as though they were your own and this must be avoided when you submit assignments, research and reports.

A common misconception is that only information found online can be plagiarised because of the ease of access. Information can be plagiarised from any source type; you need to be clear what plagiarism is.

(Imperial College London, 2015)


Types of plagiarism

Collusion is an intended act where more than a person is involved e.g. submission of assignment by a student with the knowledge of the second student; this is an attempt to deliberately deceive the lecturer.

Copy and paste a piece of work on any online or print item written by another person without acknowledging the source is act of plagiarism.

Word switch is very common, student’s think that changing a few words in someone else’s sentence are now their own words without acknowledging the source. It is important to understand that summarizing or paraphrasing other people’s ideas or work need to be quoted and referenced correctly.

Misinterpreting common knowledge is common and can be unintentional. There are well-known and established facts and knowledge out there in any subject which do not need acknowledgement.

Students think that information is common knowledge, and use it in their work without acknowledgement.


  • Common knowledge is generally accepted as being information that is:

  • well known to all in a particular field

  • easily verified by consulting standard textbooks or encyclopaedia

  • not disputed

  • undisputed historical facts

  • known formulae or equations

Concealing sources is the use of one’s idea from one person’s work several times in the same assignment without acknowledgement each time.

Self-plagiarism is re-submission of work that has already been submitted and assessed for another course, module or assignment.

Auto-plagiarism is when a student re-uses previously written work in a new piece of work, and does not acknowledge the source.

General guidance for self/auto plagiarism:

  • if a student uses material from a previous assignment they must reference it appropriately

  • they should never use the same assignment for different lecturers

  • if re-sitting a course they should not submit the same essay

(Imperial College London, 2015)

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