Before you use this checklist
Plagiarism means presenting someone else's work, words or ideas as your own. It's a type of cheating, and doing it in an assignment at Massey can mean you get a lower grade or a penalty.
This checklist will help you find any parts of your work that might be interpreted as plagiarism.
Academic writing terms used in this checklist
- Sources are the works you read, examine, think about and discuss in your essays and assignments. The most common sources you'll use in your study are academic books and articles – but things like fictional writing, poetry, historical artefacts, images and data are also sources.
- A quotation is a phrase, sentence or passage that you copy from someone else's work into your own. Quoting isn't plagiarism, as long as you make it clear that the words aren't yours, and credit their author.
- Paraphrasing is when you summarise another person’s ideas in your own words. You need to credit an author when you paraphrase their work.
- Referencing is when you show you're using someone else's ideas or words in your work.
- Citations are the formal notes you use to credit the authors of works you quote or paraphrase.
Rules to prevent plagiarism
Don’t submit anyone else’s work as your own
If an assignment has your name on it, make sure all the work in it is yours. You mustn’t:
- copy words from an article, a book or on the internet, unless they're quotations and you reference them properly
- hand in another student’s work as your own
- submit work someone else did for you.
Format and cite quotations properly
If you copy someone else’s words into your work, you need to make it clear that you’re quoting. If you don't, it might look like you’re pretending the words are yours.
- put quotations less than two lines long in quotation marks (“”)
- put quotations more than two lines long in their own paragraph, without quotation marks
- include a citation after each quotation
- make sure you use the right referencing style for your subject or course
- keep quotations short and sharp – assignments are designed to test your knowledge and ideas.
Show which parts of your work are paraphrased
When you summarise other people's arguments and ideas, you need to show they're not yours and credit the creator, just like you would with a quotation.
Make sure you:
- use words and sentence structures that are very different to those of your source – this shows you understand the arguments you’re summarising
- name the person whose ideas you’re paraphrasing – for example, by starting your summary with a phrase like, “As Huia Tomlins-Jahnke argues...”
- include a citation after the paraphrase.
Reference every image you use, if you didn’t create it
Images need citations, just like words. This includes diagrams, charts, maps and photographs. Using an image without crediting the creator isn’t just plagiarism – it may also be a breach of copyright.
Include a reference list at the end of your work
A reference list contains all the sources you have summarised or quoted from. Write the list on a new page, at the end of your assignment.
How you structure this list will depend on the style of referencing you use.
Be precise in your quotations and paraphrases
Misrepresenting or misquoting another person's words is a serious kind of academic dishonesty – even if it's accidental.
- When you’re quoting from a book or article, don’t rely on your notes. Go back to the source, and check you have the author’s words exactly right.
- Don't take quotations out of context or misrepresent them – be honest about what your sources mean.
- Make sure you know where to find all your sources – the person marking your work may want to check them later.
Don’t re-use old work
If you copy a sentence or paragraph from an assignment you’ve already submitted into another piece of work and hand it in, it’s self-plagiarism.
Assignments are designed to test what you've learned in a course – so each assignment you complete at Massey needs to be made up of new work.
Use Turnitin to check your assignment
The programme Turnitin checks how similar your work is to existing pieces of writing. Your course coordinators may use Turnitin when they mark your assignments.
For some courses, you can upload draft assignments to Turnitin before you submit them – so you can check you haven't accidentally copied from a source, or paraphrased too closely. Talk to your course coordinator first, to make sure you're allowed to do this.