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This page explains what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.
Plagiarism is when you copy someone else's work and present it as your own, either unintentionally or deliberately. This applies, for example, if you copy from another student, your course materials, an article, a book, or an online resource.
Plagiarism, or copying someone else’s work, is cheating. By stealing someone else’s work and passing it off as your own, you lose academic integrity and the respect of others. It is also unfair to other students who have worked hard to express their own ideas or produce original work.
Any final piece of work that you submit must be your own independent work. This is particularly important when working in study groups, or having discussions with other students on assessments.
Plagiarism could be:
What the Open Polytechnic does about plagiarism
The Open Polytechnic regards plagiarism as cheating and uses similarity detection software to identify plagiarised work. All submitted assessments are checked for plagiarism.
If you are found guilty of plagiarism, you will lose marks and you could incur even more severe penalties. You could also be penalised if you allow another student to copy from you.
It’s so tempting to use Google and copy and paste bits into your assignment. After all you’ve found the information, you understand it and you’ve used it in the right places, surely that must count for something? Unfortunately not; it's plagiarism and what you'll get is zero!
And if you decide to take a chance in the hope that no-one will notice, remember: if you can find the information by using Google, so can your lecturer. And so can similarity detection software.
What you should do
Ask for an extension.
This is how: Go to My Open Polytechnic and select ‘Request Assessment extension’ in the Key Dates Block. You'll find the information you need and a form which you need to complete. Remember, you must apply for an extension before the assignment due date
Remember that whereas an A is great, a C is still a pass! It’s far better to submit an assignment that’s your own work, even if it’s not great, than to plagiarise and get zero, or worse. (See above: What the Academic Statute says about plagiarism.) And even if you don’t get a C, you may get a resubmit. (For more on reassessment go to the Academic Statute page 14, 11.3.1)
In future: Plan your time carefully so you have enough time for your assignment. See How to manage your time.
You’ve worked hard, done lots of reading but what you didn’t do is take good notes. Now that you’re writing your assignment you can’t remember which bits are your ideas or where you found the information. You decide to take a chance and put the all sources you remember in your reference list. Surely being a bit careless when it comes to taking notes isn't plagiarism?
Unfortunately, it is plagiarism and it’s a high price to pay for being disorganised.
What you should do
Does everything need to be referenced? And what about ‘common knowledge’, does that also need to be referenced?
The information below should help you decide.
What you should do
For example, this is common knowledge (so you don’t need to cite it): Wellington is the capital of New Zealand.
But this isn’t common knowledge (so you need to cite it): ‘Wellington is Cool-with-a-capital-C, crammed with more bars, cafes and restaurants per capita than New York, and a slew of gourmet producers including some 10 independent coffee roasteries.’ (Source: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-tips-and-articles/76165)
For more information see:
Is it plagiarism? – Purdue University
You understand the work and have done heaps of background reading. The problem is, it’s so well written and it says exactly what you want to say, only better. It’s very difficult to know what you can add or how else to say it. So you try to change it a bit and hope it’s enough…
Unfortunately, changing it ‘a bit’ isn’t enough, it’s still plagiarism!
What you should do
Plagiarism – A Commoncraft video (2:31 mins) (opens a new window)
Plagiarism and academic integrity - University of New South Wales (opens a new window)
Addresses three issues that often result in plagiarism: unfamiliarity with the concept of plagiarism; knowing how it occurs; and developing the necessary academic skills to avoid plagiarism.
Academic Integrity - Curtin University (opens a new window)
An excellent booklet which you can download for free; includes examples of acceptable and unacceptable paraphrasing.
Preventing plagiarism - LearnHigher (opens a new window)
A short course which includes a short introductory video, learning resources, activities, quizzes, and a tutorial.
Don't miss the section: Student views on plagiarism and it's consequences. (Click in the left block if the video doesn't show.)
Demystifying citing and referencing - Monash University (opens a new window)
An online tutorial.
You note it, you quote it - Arcacia University (opens a new window)
An online tutorial
A plagiarism carol - Bergen University library (Video 5:13 min) (opens a new window)
Fun way to learn about the perils of plagiarism. Click on the captions button for English subtitles - it's on the right, below the picture.
Copyright is the automatic protection offered under New Zealand law in respect of intellectual property once it has been written down, drawn, recorded or filmed.
What is copyright? - TKI, Ministry of Education (opens in a new window)
What you need to know about copyright - TKI, Ministry of Education (opens in a new window)
Note that although the information in these Ministry of Education sites has been written for schools, it applies equally to tertiary institutions and students.