Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of others without acknowledging them through referencing them in your assignments. The University takes plagiarism very seriously and academic honesty is a core value of the University http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/skills/science/m5plagiarism.html. From your perspective as a student, it is obviously unfair if someone gets very good marks for their assignment and yet the assignment is not their own work.
In your second year biochemistry report, you are not expected to use other sources so it is unlikely that you will be able to plagiarise from them. However, if you copy from someone else's report and submit it as your own work, this is an example of plagiarism.
Plagiarism can occur in the following ways:
- copy and paste from internet sources straight into your assignment without using quotation marks (" ") and without referencing the sources;
- copy the original source and only change a word here or there;
- copying graphics, figures, tables etc. without acknowledging the sources;
- taking sentences and phrases from sources without changing them and putting them together in a paragraph of your own without any acknowledgement;
- copying another student's report or part of another student's report.
It is important to remember:
- most students do not deliberately plagiarise. If you are not sure when to acknowledge an idea, then check with your lecturers;
- give yourself enough time to complete your assignments without rushing at the last minute. This is when students are tempted to plagiarise;
- learn about and practise paraphrasing and summarising strategies so that you can present other people's ideas effectively in your assignments without having to rely on quotations. (see the Learning Centre's website for courses on paraphrasing and summarising : http://www.usyd.edu.au/stuserv/academic_support/learning_centre)
Things you can do which are not plagiarism:
- Discuss your assignments with your fellow students. This is a good way to become clearer about your ideas and the purpose of the assignment.
- Allow someone else to read your assignment drafts and give you feedback, especially feedback on your writing. It is better to get a family member or a friend who is studying another course to do this rather than someone who is doing the same assignment as you are.
You have now reached the end of the Overview section.