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3.3 Strategies to Avoid Plagiarism

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3.3 What strategies can be employed to avoid plagiarism?

Consider this situation

You are really into your Design and Technology project and have another big research assignment due. You decide to copy and paste the information from various websites and join it all up with your own ideas for the assignment. You deliberately didn't include references for the websites you've copied from and only list some books and an encyclopedia article which you read, but didn't take any information from. Now, you're worried!
You know you've plagiarised.
You just hope your teacher doesn't realise.

What are the issues in this situation?

  • Honesty - your academic integrity is at stake. You should be more concerned with this than the risk of being caught.
  • Lack of knowledge of plagiarism detection methods - it is much easier for teachers to detect plagiarism than many students realise.
  • Wasting time on the whole assignment, instead of learning from it - your learning depends on you doing your own work.
  • You are being unfair to other students.

The consequences could be:

  • zero marks
  • shame and humiliation
  • an absence of genuine learning.

You should:

  • be honest
  • manage your time better
  • make sure you know about referencing and citation
  • know the differences between quoting, summarising and paraphrasing
  • learn to paraphrase correctly.

Plagiarism can be avoided by acknowledging the sources used by:

  • writing in-text references or footnotes in the body of your work to acknowledge quotations, summaries, paraphrases and copies
  • writing a reference list
  • writing a bibliography.

What's the difference between quoting, summarising and paraphrasing?

Quoting is using the author's words exactly. (Enclose the author's words in quotation marks if it is a short quote, or set it off as an indented paragraph if it is a long quote.)

A summary selects and condenses the main idea of a text.

Paraphrasing is putting someone else's idea(s) into your own words. A paraphrase covers the points the author has made, while changing the words.

All three must have citations and must be listed in your reference list.

Consider this situation

Here are the words of the original source:

'Some people cheat because they don't understand the seriousness of what they are doing and tell themselves it does not matter. Some people cheat accidentally because they do not understand plagiarism.'

Which of the following paraphrases would be considered plagiarism?

People cheat because they don't think it is serious or that it matters. Other people cheat accidentally because they don't know about plagiarism.


People cheat because they don't understand that it is serious or that it matters. Others cheat by accident because they don't understand plagiarism.


According to the NESA, some people are either unaware that it is a serious matter to cheat or they cheat accidentally because they do not understand plagiarism.



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What next

Start 3.4 How is plagiarism detected?

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