When you submit an essay at SJJS, you make a declaration that your essay is your own work, that is that it does not involve cheating, plagiarism or academic fraud. What does this mean? The UD’s Academic Conduct Policy gives the following definitions:
Cheating, plagiarism, academic fraud and similar activities undermine the integrity of the assessment process. They are strictly forbidden. Cheating involves obtaining an unfair advantage over other students in any way, through the use of prohibited resources. Plagiarism means the student using previously assessed work, or the work of another person without giving them proper acknowledgment; websites as well as books, articles or other students’ work are included. Academic fraud includes falsification, fabrication or dishonest reporting of results or outcomes of study or research.
The UD’s Academic Conduct Policy speaks of plagiarism as follows:
Plagiarism means the copying and use of the student’s previously assessed work, or the work of another person without proper acknowledgment.
Any of the following, without full acknowledgment of the debt to the original source being made, constitutes plagiarism:
- Direct duplication, i.e. copying, or allowing to be copied, another’s work, whether from a book, article, web site, another student’s assignment or personal lecture notes, etc.
- Paraphrasing another’s work closely, with minor changes but with the essential meaning,
- form and/or progression of ideas maintained
- Piecing together sections of the work of another or others into a new whole
- Submitting work for a unit or thesis material which has already been submitted for assessment purposes in another unit or thesis (unless acknowledgment was made prior to the unit or thesis being commenced, and written permission given by the Academic Board)
- Producing assignments in conjunction with other people (e.g. another student, or a tutor) which should otherwise be the student’s own independent work
- Having another person write an essay or assignment on the student’s behalf
- Purchasing and submitting essays or assignments from online repositories or elsewhere.
Many students ask why it is wrong to use words of other authors in an essay, when those people have far more knowledge of the area. The answer is two-fold. First, it IS permissible to quote from other writers, provided that the quotation is clearly identified by quotation marks (‘…’) or by indenting the margins (as in the quotations from the UD above), and provided that a footnote gives the exact source of the original statement. Second, one of the key aims of writing an essay is to show that you have understood the ideas at stake and are capable of expressing them in your own words. If your essay is a string of quotations from other writers, or if it copies the words of others without acknowledgment, it fails to meet this basic goal.
Plagiarism, then, is totally unacceptable as it is unethical, unfair, and makes it impossible for the student to learn. When detected it results in severe penalties.