Correct Referencing, Plagiarism and
16th October 2009
What is Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the term used to describe the misuse of
authorship. It is a serious academic offence and is
treated as such by this and other universities.
This University applies the following definition of
“Using or copying the work of others (whether
written, printed or any other form) without proper
acknowledgement in any coursework.”
You will be plagiarising if you:
•Copy someone else’s work as if it were your own.
•Copy sections of someone else’s work but change
the odd word or phrase.
•Submit the same piece of work for two different
•Submit written work produced collaboratively,
unless it is specifically allowed.
•Copy the work of another student, even if they
Plagiarism is committed if you do not
acknowledge someone else’s:
Words or phrases
Ideas or thoughts
Plagiarised material can come from:
Talks or lectures
Some common mistakes/excuses:
I thought it would be OK as long as I included the source in my
I made lots of notes for my essay and couldn't remember where I
found the information.
I thought it would be OK to copy the text if I changed some of the
words into my own.
I thought that plagiarism only applied to essays. I didn't know
that it also applies to oral presentations, dissertations, project
I thought it would be OK just to use my tutor's notes.
I didn't think that you needed to reference material found on the
I left it too late and just didn't have time to reference my sources.
What are the consequences of
Plagiarism is a serious academic offence. All assessed work
where cheating is suspected is referred to the Head of
Department and possibly the Dean.
You risk getting a zero mark for your coursework; it can also
lead to exclusion from the University.
MORE INFORMATION - Please read
University Regulations on Plagiarism:
Also the “Plagiarism and how to avoid it” leaflet
TO REFERENCE OR NOT TO REFERENCE?
Common knowledge means a statement that does
not need to be referenced as it is commonly known
Direct quotation can be used but then you must use
quotation marks and give the reference in the text
and in the bibliography.
Summarising and paraphrasing are two ways to
present ideas from your reading. Both require you
re-writing the authors ideas or arguments to
integrate it into your essay or project introduction
etc. You also need to give the reference in the text
and in the bibliography
How to reference in Biological Sciences
An important principle in all forms of research and
scholarship is that you must give full reference to all
ideas, papers, reviews, diagrams etc. that you are
quoting or using. You should use the conventions
described in the relevant handbook for referencing.
The format the Department requires you use is
essentially the Harvard System of referencing.
For example, in the body of the text:
Smith (2001) has investigated the inhibitory effect
of aminobenzamide on PARP-1 activity in
Aminobenzamide has been shown to inhibit PARP-1
activity in lymphocytes (Smith, 2001).
Caffeine is shown to stimulate ATP synthase activity
in skeletal muscle mitochondria during exercise
(Snell and Barrett, 1998).
In the reference section: List in alphabetical order
Jones, A., Black, C and Zebidee, A. (2005)
Recruitment of DNA methylases to DNA strand
breaks. Nature, 248, 771-777.
Smith, J.C. (2001) Effect of inhibition of PARP-1.
Journal of Cell Science, 47, 123-132.
i.e. Surname(s), initial(s), year, title of paper, journal
(in italics, volume and first and last page number.
In this order
In the reference section:
Campbell, N.A. and Reece, J.B. (2002) Biology.
6th edition. Benjamin-Cummings. New York.
i.e. Surname(s), initial(s), year, title of book (in
italics), edition, publisher, place of publication.
In the reference section:
For chapters in books
Dame, J.J. (1998) Formulation of cloning strategies.
In Recombinant DNA: Principles and methodologies.
(ed J.J. Greene and V.B. Rao) pp193-267, Marcel
Dekker, New York.
i.e. Surname(s), initial(s) (of author of chapter) year,
title of chapter, title of book, editors, page numbers,
publisher, place of publication.
In the reference section:
For the Web
Mahillon, J. (2003) IS Finder: http://www-
Last accessed 28.05.06
i.e. Surname(s), initial(s) (of author) year,
name/title of site, full URL, date of last access.
Plagiarism can be detected in various ways
Lecturers are experienced and familiar with the literature in
their field and can often recognise when you have copied
Also remember that everyone has their own style of writing
and it is easy to identify changes of style in material you
Lecturers will usually be marking all the coursework for a
module and will be able to recognise similarities or
identities between submitted work
University uses an online detection service called
How does the service work?
Browser-based: system accepts a variety
of formats (MS Word, WordPerfect, RTF,
PDF, Postscript, HTML)
Compares against a wide range of
Database of previously submitted material
Over 12 billion web sites
Deterrence if possible not punishment
Informative – develop understanding of what is and
what is not acceptable.
Good working practice/study methods
If in doubt – ask! Module lecturer, Module Supervisor, Year
Organiser, Project Supervisor
ON DEPARTMENTAL COVER SHEETS
To be signed by the student:
I have read and understood the University regulations and the
Departmental guidelines on cheating in the course handbook. I confirm
that, in preparing this piece of work, I have followed the guidelines. I am
aware that my work may be checked electronically for cheating by
Name of student: ………………………… Signature of student:
……………………. Date: …………
“Many students do not seem to realize that
whenever they cite a source, they are
strengthening their writing. Citing a source,
whether paraphrased or quoted, reveals that
they have performed research work and
synthesized the findings into their own
argument. Using sources shows that the student
in engaged in "the great conversation," the world
of ideas, and that the student is aware of other
thinkers' positions on the topic. By quoting (and
citing) writers who support the student's
position, the student gains strength for the
position. By responding reasonably to those who
oppose it, the student shows that there are valid
counter arguments. In a nutshell, citing helps
make the essay stronger and sounder. “
Robert Harris, Vanguard University of Southern California