School of Nursing and Midwifery

How can I avoid Plagiarism?

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How can I avoid Plagiarism?

The best way to avoid plagiarism is to make sure that you use appropriate, thorough and systematic citation and referencing. Follow the steps below:

hen proof-reading any work you are about to hand in:

  1. Check that all statements, claims and facts which need a citation have got one in the text.

  2. Now check that each citation links to a reference in the list at the end of your work.

  3. Delete any references which you came across when reading around the topic but which you have not subsequently used. Before doing this, do ask yourself “Would this piece of work be stronger if I include some citations from this reference source?”

Note: In some cases you may specifically be asked to list any references that you have read while preparing an assignment in a “Bibliography,” “List of Works Consulted”, “Further reading” or something similar at the end of your work. However in academic work it is typically the References of all your citations that matters. It is not sufficient to list everything in a “catch-all” bibliography and to then expect the tutor marking it to judge which ones you have used and which ideas are your own. Assignments submitted to the Centre for Health and Social Care Studies and Service Development require a reference list only.

Attitudes to the Literature and to Authority

To paraphrase a statement is to restate it using different words and/or grammar while keeping the same meaning.
You can paraphrase a statement at the same level of language or at a different level, e.g. make the sentence harder or easier than the original. This requires a solid understanding of the concepts and a good range of vocabulary.
ome University students may come from a background or culture (or, indeed, from an organisation, profession or environment) where it is considered disrespectful to question the authority of elders or the writings of others. Indeed this was historically the case among Western scholars. Since the Renaissance it has become much more acceptable to adopt a much more questioning approach to the literature. Claims which are inconsistent, irrational or in direct conflict with new evidence or empirical data must be examined critically, irrespective of the historical importance of the authors. Ideas which are found wanting give place to theories which fit the evidence better. These new theories are themselves then subjected to criticism and scrutiny.
Modern students show respect to the writings and ideas of others by acknowledging their existence. This does not mean that you should be scared to question and critique them where they seem wanting, contradictory or lack rigour. Neither should you be shy of rewriting concepts from published accounts in your own words (paraphrasing) to show that you fully understand those concepts and can analyse and apply them.

An Electronic Detection Service

In the past academic staff used many ways of detecting plagiarism. These included looking for tell-tale changes of style, assessing the content and context of references and citations and typing suspect phrases into search engines. However all these techniques took considerable staff time and had varying degrees of success.

The University now provides departments with access to the JISC Plagiarism Detection Service. This is an on-line service accessed via standard web browsers, which enables staff to carry out an electronic comparison on students’ work against electronic sources, including other students’ work. The service is based on ‘’ developed and supplied by the US company iParadigms. It compares your work against a database of previously submitted material, over 800 million web sites and essays from some (not all) ‘cheat’ sites.

Further information

Further information can be obtained from the JISC Plagiarism Advisory Service

based at Northumbria University at:
See also:



Information for Students
he comparison results in an originality report, returned within 24 hours, which highlights text within the assignment that has been found at another source, and provides links to this source. It remains a matter of academic judgement as to whether or not plagiarism has taken place. The detection service is intended to provide clear evidence, rather than raising the initial alarm.

Self-Assessment Exercise: Check Your Own Understanding

Based on your reading of the above which of the following is an instance of plagiarism:

A. A student submits a piece of work copied from another source.

B. A student produces a piece of work which includes sections taken from other authors

C. A student paraphrases from another source without giving the appropriate credit to the author of that source

D. A student copies from her own previous work for another assignment

Record your answer below:

Your Answer

A only

B only

C only

D only

A & D

B & C

B, C, D

A, B, C


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