How to avoid plagiarism in academic writing

How to avoid plagiarism in academic writing


Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty that comes by copying the expression(s) of others without proper attribution.

This might be by copying or paraphrasing someone’s published or unpublished work without proper acknowledgment, or representing someone’s artistic or technical work or creation as your own.

Don’t Just Copy

    • In your writing, describe other people’s ideas or results (using references).
    • Avoid using cut and paste
    • Don’t just limit yourself to using one source
    • Discussing ideas from a range of sources
    • Remember, important sources can be available in print and electronic format
    • You should develop your own style of writing during your time at University
    • Try to be concise and clear


  • Using the words of another author will stand out from the rest of your work and may alert lecturers to possible plagiarism.
  • Keep good quality notes

    If you are making notes from your sources, remember to put direct quotations in quotation marks and always keep a note of your sources. This will help to ensure that you do not accidentally plagiarise. It also makes collating your references much easier when writing your assignments. You can keep track of your references using a tool such as Endnote Web.

  • Use quotation marks

    If you do want to quote a short extract from another author’s words exactly, make sure you enclose these words in quotation marks to indicate that it is a direct quote. Direct quotes should be used sparingly and shouldn’t include large amounts of text. They should be used where you are identifying an key idea or highlighting the place where you found the particular idea you are using. Don’t forget if you are using someone else’s ideas in your work you need to show this by referencing it.

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