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Academic & Research Integrity

A guide to help students, researchers and lecturers with Academic integrity and research ethics.

Plagiarism & how to avoid it

Plagiarism is when you use someone else's ideas or words in your assignment and present them as your own. All types of information can be plagiarised - books, journal articles, websites, course notes, other students' work, even your own earlier assignments.

Some examples of plagiarism would be:

  • Copying from a source without referencing it correctly.
  • Using a quote from another person's work without quotations marks and a reference.
  • Changing a few words from someone else's work and using it in your assignment without referencing it correctly.
  • Completely copying someone else's work and presenting it as your own assignment.

How to avoid plagiarism:

  • Paraphrasing - use your own words to explain or summarise what someone else has said and provide an in-text citation and a full reference for the original source.  This is more than just changing a few words - you must understand what they are saying, explain it in your own words and sentence structure before referencing it correctly.
  • Quoting - you can quote directly from your source however you must ensure you indicate this by using quotation marks and insert an in-text citation so readers know the source of your quote. Remember - use quotes sparingly - the work must be yours and not simply a string of quotes from other people!
  • Referencing - always provide a reference when you express ideas or information from another source. This includes diagrams, images and figures. Use in-text citations correctly and provide a full reference list at the end of your assignment. Ensure you know which referencing style your faculty uses. At AUT most faculties use APA 6th referencing style.
  • Express your own opinions and ideas - part of your assignment is critical thinking so it is important to express your own ideas which have been formulated during your research.

This video clip is courtesy of Vanessa Garofalo from Southeastern University


Turnitin is a piece of software that detects plagiarism - it will compare your assignment against a large database of academic writing and give you an originality rating. At AUT students are usually required to submit their assignments through Turnitin.