Plagiarism and Misconduct

Understand what plagiarism is and how to present your work honestly.

Plagiarism and Misconduct

Academic misconduct is a form of fraud and intellectual theft and is a serious breach of academic integrity. It covers a range of activities including:

  • plagiarism
  • cheating
  • failing to comply with examination or assessment rules or directions
  • engaging in other conduct with a view to gaining unfair or unjustified advantage
  • committing research misconduct.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the practice of submitting or presenting the ideas, writing or other work of someone else, in whole or in part, as though it is your own work. That is, without proper acknowledgement of the source(s). Paraphrasing another person’s work without attribution is also plagiarism. The source of the work includes but is not limited to:

  • other students – current or former
  • a friend or tutor
  • anyone you have paid to produce the work
  • a written work or part thereof (including a webpage, book, article, database, pamphlet, brochure, journal, newspaper, lecture notes, etc.)
  • a computer program or part thereof
  • a musical composition, audio, visual, graphic or photographic work created by another person
  • realia (e.g. objects, insignia, artefacts, costumes, models and the like).

It is also plagiarism if you submit or present work as exclusively your own when it has been prepared with another person, without acknowledging the source, even if it is with the knowledge or consent of the other person.

Examples of plagiarism

  • Copying paragraphs, sentences, a single sentence or significant parts of a sentence. An end reference without quotation marks around the copied text may also constitute plagiarism.
  • Copying ideas, concepts, research results, statistical tables, computer programs, designs, images, sounds or text or any combination of these.
  • Paraphrasing another’s work closely, with minor changes but with the essential meaning, form and/or progression of ideas maintained.
  • Relying on a specific idea or interpretation that is not one’s own without identifying whose idea or interpretation it is.
  • Cutting or pasting statements from multiple sources or piecing together work of others and representing them as original work.
  • Presenting as independent, work done in collaboration with other people (e.g. another student, a tutor).
  • Submitting as one’s own, all or part of another student’s original work.

How to avoid plagiarism

Sometimes a student might accidentally plagiarise. This is usually the result of a lack of academic writing skills, inexperience, sloppy note taking, or a combination of these. It is important that you learn and follow the practice established for citation of written works for your subject.

It is important that you learn and follow the practice established for citation of written works for your subject.

Make sure your work clearly distinguishes between the ideas of others and your own ideas. If you’re not sure how to do this, check with your course staff. The following resources might also be useful.

Misconduct in group work

Academic misconduct can also occur in group work as illustrated in the following examples.

Plagiarism, collusion and cheating when one or more students:

  • copy (or allows to be copied) from other members of a group while working in the group
  • copy the original work, in whole or in part, of an individual who is not a member of the group, with or without the knowledge of other members of the group, and contribute the plagiarised work to a group assignment
  • discuss with other members of the group how to approach a common assessment item that requires individual submission and relies on the same or very similar approach in the submitted assessment, without any acknowledgement of collaboration with colleagues and without the permission of the assessor.

Gaining an unfair advantage when a student claims an equal share of the marks but has done one or more of the following:

  • contributes less than an equal share to a group assignment and then claims an equal share of the work or marks
  • does not turn up to group meetings and/or does not contribute in group meetings
  • does not undertake their share of the work with the appropriate level of care and attention
  • does not complete their section.

Exam misconduct

Learn more about what is considered acceptable exam conduct and behaviour.

Penalties for misconduct

Individual assignments

If an alleged assessment irregularity is detected in your work, you will receive an email advising you of this, asking you to attend a meeting with your unit convenor or teacher in the presence of an observer. Following this, an investigation will be conducted and a report written. If you have a previous record of plagiarism this will be noted.

Where plagiarism is found, you will be notified within five working days of the decision. The penalties can include charges of academic misconduct, cancellation of results and exclusion from your course. Possible sanctions for academic misconduct are detailed in the Student Academic Misconduct Regulations 2012.

Group assignments

If it has been confirmed that a student has not contributed equally to a group assignment, the unit convenor/teacher may modify the marks for that student to reflect their individual contribution. If any marks are to be modified, this process will be clearly communicated in advance, together with information to show how individual marks are calculated.

Cheating in exams

Penalties for cheating in exams are detailed in the Student Academic Misconduct Regulations 2012.