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Plagiarism is the use of other people's words, ideas, research findings or information without acknowledgement, that is, without indicating the source. Plagiarism is regarded as a very serious offence in Western academic institutions and Deakin University has procedures and penalties to deal with instances of plagiarism.
Writers are required to reference direct quotes, paraphrases, summaries, statistics, diagrams, images, experiment results, laboratory data and the like-just about everything that is taken from sources. All material from the internet must be acknowledged. Information from Deakin study guides and readers must also be referenced.
Some plagiarism is intentional; this is cheating. Unintentional plagiarism can arise from an incomplete understanding by student writers of the nature of citation and referencing in the Western academic context. Poor note-taking skills and carelessness can also contribute to unintentional plagiarism.
There are philosophical and ethical issues related to why plagiarism is unacceptable.
The development of academic knowledge relies on building on the work of others and acknowledging sources. Through referencing, you as a student writer are able to demonstrate the depth of research you have undertaken and the extent to which you have engaged with your subject. Your work is strengthened when you can demonstrate that you have drawn on and acknowledged the work of experts in your discipline.
Ethically it is necessary to recognise that, when writing in the Western academic tradition, using material without acknowledgement is considered intellectual theft.
The ease with which material can be accessed electronically and the increased marketing of assignment materials to students is resulting in increased concern about students plagiarising the work of others for their assignments. However, plagiarism is becoming easier to detect and software programs are available that can effectively identify plagiarised material.
Deakin University uses Turnitin, a software program that detects similarities in wording between assignments submitted and the program's database of published material.
Another academic offence is collusion. Collusion is acting with another person with the intention to deceive. It is unacceptable to submit the work, or part of the work, of someone who studied the subject previously, even with their permission. It is also unacceptable to have someone else write any part of an assignment for you.
In order to avoid plagiarism and collusion, you need to acknowledge the source of every idea, opinion, finding, quotation and piece of information in your assignments. You do this through referencing.
At Deakin, the referencing styles used are:
You should always check your unit guide for specific referencing requirements for each assignment.
You need to reference direct quotes (the words from a source reproduced exactly) as well as summaries and paraphrases, where the words are yours but the ideas/findings are from a source.
In a summary you identify the main points and record this in your own words. A paraphrase is the rephrasing of a short passage from a source in your own words, changing the sentence structure and the vocabulary. Summarising and paraphrasing are also very useful skills for note making because they help you to better understand what you are reading.
It is important to develop skills which will help you to avoid plagiarism and collusion in the papers you submit for assessment. Remember:
Current consequences of plagiarism and/or collusion include:
You need to be aware of Deakin University's policy on plagiarism and collusion as well as the disciplinary consequences. The University's policy is available on The Guide at http://theguide.deakin.edu.au.
Details of all referencing styles used at Deakin can be accessed online at www.deakin.edu.au/referencing and in printed form at the Division of Student Life.
Do the Plagiarism self test.