Why acknowledge my sources?
Staff and students are responsible for acknowledging the sources used when writing research articles, books, assignments and projects. You must acknowledge what you have read so that:
- readers of your work can find the original sources you used
- the authors of the original sources you used are given credit for their work
- your own research and ideas are clearly evident and you are given credit for your work
- your work has credibility in the larger realm of scholarly knowledge
- you avoid plagiarism
What is Plagiarism?
Unitec considers plagiarism a serious academic offence. Unitec's Student Disciplinary Statute 2020 (Appendix 1, section 3) defines plagiarism as "using others’ ideas or work and presenting these as one’s own without acknowledgement of the source". This may include, but is not limited to:
- copying or using any sentences, paragraphs, computer files or codes, multimedia, research data, creative products or website data that are the works of others without appropriate acknowledgement
- closely paraphrasing sentences, paragraphs or themes of others without appropriate acknowledgement
- using, summarising or extracting another person's concepts, experimental results or conclusions without appropriate acknowledgement
- submitting material obtained from internet-based essay depositories or similar sources
- use of others, paid or not, to research, write or present material submitted for assessment
- submitting one's own previously assessed or published work for assessment or publication elsewhere, without appropriate acknowledgement and/or approval (for example submitting content from one assignment as part of another assignment, without approval)
Consequences of Plagiarism
If you are caught plagiarising, there are a range of disciplinary actions that can be taken against you, from an oral or written warning to being excluded from any Unitec programme of study.
How do I avoid plagiarism?
Take careful notes of where you find your information and always acknowledge the work of others, whether it be:
- selections of text
- graphs or diagrams
- regularly make photocopies from books or journal articles
- print out articles from databases, web pages
- scan graphs, diagrams, photographs, artwork
remember to note down the details you will need to cite the information in your assignment. The details you need may differ depending on what bibliographic style your department requires, but the minimal information to record should include:
- Who is responsible for the work, for example the author, designer
- The name of the work, for example a title
- When it was produced, for example the publishing date
- When you accessed the information, for example for material from the web
There are two parts to acknowledging another's work within your own:
- Use an in-text citation (in the main body of your work) or footnote with brief information about the source.
- Add a full reference at the end of your work providing complete information about the source
You may find it useful to use bibliographic management software like Mendeley or Zotero to manage your references and citations. Talk to your Subject Librarian for more information on these options.