During your university career you will on plenty of occasions be reminded what a terrible thing it is to commit so-called ‘Academic Misconduct’. These warnings may seem dramatic, your tutor may even include pictures of skulls in their powerpoint presentation in a desperate attempt to deter you, but there is a point to all of this. That point being: plagiarism is a bad idea, don’t do it.

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Your English Style Guide tells you, ‘The University defines Academic Misconduct as ‘any case of deliberate, premeditated cheating, collusion, plagiarism or falsification of information, in an attempt to deceive and gain an unfair advantage in assessment”. And here are a couple of basic tips to help you on your merry way to not being dragged to trial in Cheater’s Court (you actually will have to go to a panel hearing if you plagiarise, beware!):

Learn to Reference:

Have your English Style Guide beside you every time you start an assignment. Read it, love it, learn its precious lessons. Learning to reference accurately is an important part of your degree, and the more you practice, the easier it will become. You need to know how to both reference a source within the body of your essay and how to list it in your bibliography, and your style guide tells you how to do all of this. If you are struggling to get to grips with it, make an appointment to see your tutor, or keep an eye out for the many emails you receive about academic support sessions. Your best and quickest bet is to just ask somebody, ‘hey, is this the right way to reference this?’ Any tutor in the department can answer that for you, and will be happy to. It’s worth starting getting to grips with referencing early on as you are always going to need to reference sources, whether primary or secondary, in every essay you write. Check out T.E.A’s post on Secondary Sources here. Making the effort to practice will help you in the long run and you’ll be a pro in no time. You may even learn to appreciate the particular pleasures of a perfectly crafted bibliography, mmmm.

Don’t Ctrl C, Ctrl V

Every time you submit an essay via BlackBoard it goes through a magic technology machine (aka Turnitin) which tells your tutors, before they even read the essay, what percentage of your work bears a suspicious resemblance to anything published on the topic – be that online, or in journals and books. So if you fail to reference a source or if you, for some unknown reason, decided to copy and paste a chunk of something from the deep dark interwebs, no matter how deep and dark that place may be, they will know, and they will weep. We’ve all been pressed up against a deadline and clutching at straws but never forget that if you succumb to the temptations of that quick fix, you will not get away with it. If you find yourself in that place, resist, contact your tutor, tell them you are struggling, you can figure something out. Everyone prefers this to having to attend Cheaters Court (it’s not actually called this by the way, but I think you get my point). Just look at Melania Trump, if she’s taught us anything it’s that you definitely cannot get away with plagiarising somebody else’s work.

Don’t be a Trump. Submit original, well researched, well referenced work.

-Katie and T.E.A

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