Plagiarism and Collusion

Assessment, whatever form it takes, is the means by which the University tests whether a student has achieved the objectives of a course and the standards of an award. It is fundamentally important that students are assessed fairly, and on equal terms with each other for the same award. Any attempt by a student to gain unfair advantage over another student in the completion of an assessment, or to assist someone else to gain an unfair advantage, is cheating.

Cheating undermines the standards of the University's awards and disadvantages those students who have attempted to complete assessments honestly and fairly. It is an offence against the values of the academic community of which students and staff are both part.

When preparing essays, projects or other work, you will read widely and become familiar with the work of others. You should ensure that the materials you prepare for submission are your own original work. A lecturer or tutor who is assessing your work is interested in your understanding of an idea and you should use your own words to demonstrate your understanding. The selective quoting of material from books and articles is permissible, but the material must always be attributed to its sources by means of quotation marks. In assessed essays, a footnote naming/giving the author, the title of the text, the date of publication and the page would also be required, as would a bibliography that provides full references to all the material consulted or used.

The basic principle underlying the preparation of any piece of academic work is that the work submitted must be your own original work. Plagiarism and collusion are not allowed because they go against this principle. Please note that the rules about plagiarism and collusion apply to all assessed and non-assessed work. Cutting and pasting from web sites is also unacceptable.

Plagiarism:

  • Passing off others' work as your own, whether intentionally or unintentionally, to your benefit.
  • Submitting a piece of work produced by others, or copied from another source.
  • Producing a piece of work that includes sections taken from other authors, is plagiarism, unless the sources have been attributed as outlined above. The length of the copied section is not relevant, since any act of plagiarism offends against the general principle set out above. When copying sections from other authors it is not sufficient simply to list the source in the bibliography. While selective quoting of material from books and articles (duly attributed to its sources) is permissible, extensive use of others' work is not acceptable even if acknowledged.
  • Paraphrasing from another source without the appropriate attribution is also plagiarism. If you have derived ideas from somebody else's work, even if not quoting directly, then you should always indicate the source.
  • Acceptable paraphrasing means using your own words to demonstrate an understanding and accurately convey the meaning of the original work; merely reordering or changing a few words or phrases of the existing text does not save you from the charge of plagiarism.
  • Copying or resubmitting your own work from another assignment, is self-plagiarism, and is not acceptable.

Collusion:

  • A form of plagiarism where two or more people work together to produce a piece of work all or part of which is then submitted by each of them as their own individual work.
  • If someone else composes the whole or part of any piece of work, this is collusion.
  • Copying the whole or part of someone else's piece of work with or without the knowledge or consent of the latter, is collusion.
  • If two or more students work on an assignment together, produce an agreed piece of work and then copy it up for individual submission, then this is collusion. When producing a piece of work arising out of group work, you should ask the tutor setting the assigned work as to the acceptable limits of collaboration.

Rules for citation and references or sources are given above. There is no objection to your discussing the subject of an essay or project with fellow students in general terms, or to quoting from various sources in the work submitted. If you have any problems with an assignment you should always consult your module tutor, who will give general advice and help.

Both plagiarism and collusion are strictly forbidden. Students are warned that the normal penalty will be that the piece of work affected is marked at 0. The student may also be referred to the University Discipline Committee.

For more information, please see the Department of Geography's Unfair Means Policy and Guidance.