Plagiarism FAQs

To view the answers to the questions below, please click inside the box containing the question.

Plagiarism is passing off someone else's words and/or ideas as your own without giving proper credit.

Copyright is the ownership of the rights to your own work or the work of others legally gifted to you.

Yes, to a limited degree and if they are correctly cited but laws on this vary from country to country. Most countries have a concept of 'fair use' which defines certain actions that may be carried out which would not normally be regarded as an infringement of the copyright. The reason is that if copyright laws are too restrictive, it may stifle free speech, news reporting, or result in disproportionate penalties for inconsequential or accidental inclusion.

In the UK, 'fair use' allows the use of quotations or excerpts, where the work has been made available to the public, as long as:

  • The use is deemed acceptable under the terms of fair dealing.
  • The quoted material is justified, and no more than is necessary is included.
  • The source of the quoted material is mentioned, along with the name of the author.

If this happens then you must cite the published source, as they got there first!

  • Make sure you keep careful notes with all publication details for all sources.
  • Use plagiarism tools like scanners such as 'Viper' which colour code areas of your work that can be found elsewhere
  • Cite carefully in your written work

Every case is different and judged on its own merits. You might get away with a warning if you can prove your plagiarism was done in innocence, or perhaps be given the chance to repeat the work.

If it was deliberate, you will probably still be punished. It is up to your institution - but ask yourself if it's worth taking the chance!

Simply because you are not carrying out fresh research and analysis but attempting to get credit for work already graded.!

It depends how frequently - if you have just cobbled together large chunks from text books, even if correctly cited, then your work is not original and is a type of plagiarism.

The use of plagiarism tools like 'Viper', careful citation (referencing) and making sure you always carry out original analysis - i.e. you analyse the material you have found against your own thoughts and opinions.

It depends on the degree of intent that can be established and to some extent on the academic institution that you attend - but inevitably all plagiarism will result in some negative consequences, if discovered.

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