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FADA - Undergraduate Student Support: How To: Plagiarism

This library guide strives to provide e-support for FADA students at the UJ.

What is Plagiarism

Plagiarism is claiming another person's work as your own.

That sounds like something a normal, honest person wouldn't do, but you can "accidentally" plagiarise if you aren't paying attention.

The most obvious forms of plagiarism are:

  • Handing in someone else's work (this is also called "cheating")
  • Copying and pasting from another source and pretending it is your own (this, too, is called "cheating" - as well as "being a lazy little **insert cussword here**")
  • Finding and using information without admitting where you found it.

Now the first two are obviously cheating, but the last one can happen by accident if you don't pay attention to your sources of information.

Any information that you did not invent must come from somewhere.

When you don't acknowledge the work other people have done, you are saying "This is my original work" and, if that isn't true, then you've plagiarised.

How to avoid plagiarism in three easy steps

Plagiarism is very simple to avoid.  All you have to do is acknowledge where your information came from.

Step One:  Whenever you read something, take notes about:

  • Who wrote it (also keep track of the other important data, like the title and journal title)
  • Any piece of information that you think you might use later (just dot points or a few sentences will do)

Step Two:  When you are thinking about your essay:

  • Brainstorm the ideas you want to use, and find the name of the person or people who talked about those concepts
  • Jot down the names next to the ideas

Step Three:  When you are writing your essay:

  • Whenever you use an idea that came from something you read or heard, put the name of the person responsible next to the information you used.
  • Whenever you use someone's exact words, put it "in quotation marks"
  • Later, use a guide to tidy up your references using the right style.