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Last Updated: Nov 30, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Plagiarism, Referencing, Bibliographies Print Page

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism occurs when you present the work of another person or people as your own, without proper reference to the source. 

Plagiarism is a serious accusation in academia.

To avoid plagiarism, make sure you reference your sources.


How to avoid plagiarism

Step 1: Know what plagiarism is

Plagiarism is taking the ideas or words of others and passing them off as your own. Plagiarism is a type of intellectual theft. 

Step 2: Know how plagiarism happens

Most plagiarism is the result of underdeveloped academic skills. We have listed the common types of plagiarism.

Step 3: Develop effective academic skills

Most students who plagiarise do so unintentionally, usually because they don't have the skills to avoid over-reliance on the work of others or because they aren't sure what constitutes plagiarism. If they develop their academic skills, the chances of plagiarism is greatly reduced.

In this guide we have also provided steps to avoiding plagiarism including how to be organised, so you can develop good academic practice, and a list of other resources and links so you can learn more.

(From University of NSW website

Websites for Bibliography Practice


What should I reference?

The golden rule to remember is this: whenever you refer to an idea (or a fact or figure) that is directly attributable to someone, you must reference this.  Otherwise: it's plagiarism.


The following types of sources do not need to be acknowledged:

  • your own experiences
  • your own experimental results
  • common knowledge.

Common knowledge includes:

  • facts that are commonly known (eg there are twelve months in a year)
  • facts that are so well known that they are easily available in a number of different kinds of sources (eg World War II began in 1939)
  • commonsense observations (eg interest rates going up will affect mortgage payments).

Source: Board of Studies, HSC All My Own Work


In-text referencing

In your paper, every time you summarise, paraphrase or quote from a source you need to provide an in-text citation. The in-text citation consists of the family name of the author/s, the year of publication and sometimes a page number. Page numbers must be included in the in-text citation when quoting directly. Page numbers should be provided if the summarised or paraphrased material appears in specific pages or sections of a work.

Burdess (2007, p. 17) describes students in a university tutorial as workers, empty vessels, trappists or drones.

The effective manager delegates and shows trust in his workers. This type of leadership is transformational (Holt, 2012).


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