How to avoid plagiarism

Dear Student, this course does not just aim to equip you with knowledge and skills in certain subject areas; you are also expected to develop your writing skills, which is fundamental to any public health work. In your assignments you are expected to demonstrate understanding of and insight into the topic and you need to present a coherent and clear report.

Another expectation is that your report is underpinned by literature. It is important that you bring in material from relevant literature, including module resources, to support your arguments and demonstrate how your ideas fit into the field. You can integrate and present the material in your own words or “quote” directly from the source. Whether you summarise the material or write it in your own words or “quote” it you have to acknowledge the source in your report, i.e. you should let others know where you got the ideas or facts from. Otherwise it is called plagiarism.

Especially if you have not done academic work in the past it is quite possible that you commit plagiarism accidentally. Please bear in mind that committing plagiarism has its consequences and avoiding it is one of the principles of academic writing. Below are some questions and answers on avoiding plagiarism in this programme:

  • How can I avoid plagiarism? In your discussion question or assignment submissions you should write the material you use from other sources in your own words or place the words of others in quotation marks, i.e. between “… “ - this is important to separate your own original work from work that is already published.  You have to also acknowledge the sources of the material you used. In order to do that you cite the source within the text and then at the end add a list detailing all the references you used in the text.
  • Which resources should I cite and reference? The material you present during discussions or in assignments should be from your own work and be written specifically for this programme. Any other written or verbal material including your classmate’s or yours have to be cited and referenced.
  • How do I reference my work? Harvard and Vancouver systems are the two commonly used reference styles and used for both in-text citing and creating reference lists at the end of your text. The Harvard style requires you to insert the date of publication and name of author(s) in-text every time you refer to a source; you then list the references cited in the text at the end alphabetically by author. If you choose to use Vancouver style you allocate a number to each source and insert the corresponding number every time you refer to a source in the text; at the end, you list all references cited in numerical order. We recommend the Harvard styleof referencing - you will find resources to help you in the Student Corner once you are enrolled as a student.
  • How is plagiarism checked in Peoples-uni Programme? Instructors check for plagiarism using plagiarism detection software - this is also available to students to check their own work before submission. Please see here for more information on how to use the plagiarism detection software to check your assignment.
  • What is Peoples-uni Programme’s approach to dealing with plagiarism? If markers judge it likely that the detected plagiarism is unintentional and minor, a warning will be given.  In more severe cases, an assignment will be graded “0” and the student will normally be given the opportunity to resubmit the assignment.  Repeat occurrence of plagiarism may result in the student being barred from any further opportunity to submit assignments within Peoples-uni.

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