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Write it Right - A guide to Harvard referencing style

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is defined as:   

the unacknowledged use of someone else’s work. This includes material or ideas from any (published or unpublished) sources, whether print, electronic (even if freely available on the internet) or audiovisual. Using the words or ideas of others without citing and referencing them would be construed as plagiarism, and is a very serious academic offence. At the end of the day, it is regarded as the stealing of intellectual property (Pears and Shields, 2019, p. 4).

When you plagiarise, you pass off someone else’s work, whether intentionally or unintentionally, as your own for your own benefit. You quote, paraphrase, summarise or copy material without acknowledging the original sources. When you plagiarise, you are not following correct referencing guidelines. You are guilty of academic dishonesty.

Source: NEIU Libraries (2020) What is academic honesty?

Examples of plagiarism

Some examples of plagiarism (Handley and Cox, 2007) include:

  • Copying chunks of text without using quotation marks and without appropriate acknowledgement, for example, cutting-and-pasting from websites or online research papers, or copying papers by other students.
  • Copying text and making very minor changes and without appropriate acknowledgement. This is an example of unacceptable paraphrasing.
  • Copying lyrics (audio plagiarism) or photos, images and designs (visual plagiarism) without crediting the original sources.
  • Duplicating your own work, for example, ‘recycling’ a piece of your own work that you have previously submitted for another module or course (self-plagiarism).
  • Citing and referencing sources that you did not use.

Avoiding plagiarism

The 3 main tips for avoiding plagiarism are:

  1. Learn how to reference properly using the recommended style for your School/Department.
  2. Leave sufficient time for referencing before submitting your assignment, or better still, make a point of recording your references as you go. 
  3. Remember the basic motto for referencing - always give credit where credit is due - and don’t forget to include references to any material you use in your assignment that is not your own.

Common Knowledge

Some material is common knowledge and does not need to be referenced. Common knowledge includes facts that are generally known, or information that is expected to be known by someone working in a particular field.

Greta Thunberg, Pope Francis and Mary Robinson are well known advocates for climate change. 

The Library, Technological University of the Shannon: Midwest