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How to avoid plagiarism

As well as having an understanding of what plagiarism is, you will also need to develop certain skills to fully protect yourself.

Some of the key academic skills you will need to develop are:

  • Learning how to note-take effectively

Many instances of plagiarism can be traced back to the note-taking stage. Make sure you always record the reference details of your sources for ideas, quotations, and general information. Read the guide to note-taking on the University's mySkills website.

  • Learning how to reference correctly

Most departments provide their own guidance on referencing; there is more than one system used around the University, so it is important that you follow your department's guidelines, where available. Usually, this information features in the departmental Undergraduate Handbook. If there is no guidance available from your department, read the guide to referencing on mySkills.

  • Learning how to paraphrase correctly

Paraphrasing is the practice of putting someone else's ideas into your own words. It is an alternative practice to quoting, but still requires a citation and reference, though not quotation marks. Only changing one or two words is NOT paraphrasing: you must rephrase the idea entirely, whilst still capturing its essence and meaning. And remember, paraphrasing is an extremely helpful exercise in clarifying your own understanding - it is not just a means of avoiding plagiarism.