How can I avoid plagiarism?

The "Academic Integrity QUT" video discusses some practical details of what it means for student to approach their work with honesty.

Read transcript.

Plagiarism is perhaps the most common form of academic dishonesty - it's where you represent someone else's work as your own (even if you didn't intend to). It is important that you know what is considered plagiarism so that you can take steps to avoid being academically dishonest. It's not worth the risk to act dishonestly in your education.

Tutors are usually subject matter experts who will recognise the contributions of previous authors if they are presented inappropriately in submitted work. You can ask your tutor for expert advice on what direction to take your research or how to best focus your writing. Furthermore, everyone writes in a different way, and a work containing plagiarised content will change writing style and language from paragraph to paragraph. Good academic writing takes time, and you will need to write several drafts, so make sure you have good time management to keep on top of your workload.

Keep all your notes and drafts (clearly labelling what's your writing and what is someone else's words) as you can be asked to authenticate your learning on an assessment item (e.g. through showing notes/drafts, resource materials used in the preparation of the item, or by undertaking a viva or practical based exam). Make yourself familiar with the standards and expectations in your discipline by reading all unit materials and checking with teaching staff if you are unsure.

In many of your subjects, electronic detection tools are used to identify content matched with other sources. QUT uses two detection tools, Turnitin and Blackboard Submission (SafeAssign). However, remember you can also use these tools to check your drafts prior to submission. Ask for help from teaching staff if you need assistance to interpret the results of originality reports.

How to paraphrase

Often, plagiarism can occur accidentally when you don't sufficiently change the wording of the information or forget to enclose it in quotation marks. Knowing the difference between the right and wrong way to paraphrase or summarise information will help you to avoid accidental plagiarism.