It's important to stress that the University's stance against plagiarism is not there just so they can catch people who've done it. A plagiarised piece of work is, by definition a poor piece of work, because work that is handed in must be original. The University's goal is have students produce great work, and so it will do what it can against plagiarism. The most important part of this is to help students understand what constitutes an original, properly referenced essay, and courses on this subject are linked to at the bottom of this page. However, it is necessary to state that students who do plagiarise could find themselves in quite a lot of trouble.
What is Plagiarism?
According to the institutional framework:
"Plagiarism involves the unacknowledged use of someone else’s work, usually in coursework, and passing it off as if it were one’s own.
Plagiarism can include the following:
- collusion, where a piece of work prepared by a group is represented as if it were the student’s own;
- commission or use of work by the student which is not his/her own and representing it as if it were, e.g.:
- purchase of a paper from a commercial service, including internet sites, whether pre-written or specially prepared for the student concerned
- submission of a paper written by another person, either by a fellow student or a person who is not a member of the university;
- duplication (of one’s own work) of the same or almost identical work for more than one module;
- the act of copying or paraphrasing a paper from a source text, whether in manuscript, printed or electronic form, without appropriate acknowledgement (this includes quoting directly from another source with a reference but without quotation marks);
- submission of another student’s work, whether with or without that student’s knowledge or consent;
- Directly quoting from model solutions/answers made available in previous years;
- cheating in class tests, e.g.
- when a candidate communicates, or attempts to communicate, with a fellow candidate or individual who is neither an invigilator or member of staff
- copies, or attempts to copy from a fellow candidate
- attempts to introduce or consult during the examination any unauthorised printed or written material, or electronic calculating, information storage device, mobile phones or other communication device
- personates or allows himself or herself to be impersonated.
- Fabrication of results occurs when a student claims to have carried out tests, experiments or observations that have not taken place or presents results not supported by the evidence with the object of obtaining an unfair advantage.
The University is extremely keen to help students create original, properly referenced work, and has several mechanisms working together to help achieve this. Firstly, if work is handed in that isn't original, it is checked by the lecturers, who are, of course experts in their subjects, and who also have a fair idea of what their students are capable of producing. The situation for someone who has plagiarised is roughly similar to that of someone who has forged a banknote, and then presents it to an expert on banknotes for checking. Consequently, a lot of students who hand in work that isn't theirs get caught. In addition, to assist lecturers who believe that part or all of a piece of work was copied off the internet, the University uses a tool that collates matches with the internet to produce a report on what was copied, and from where.
In addition to deterent mechanisms like the ones above, departments give advice to help students know what they need to do to create good essays, and the University, through CELT helps students too as follows:
Getting assistance in order to help produce better essays
The Effective Learning group provide free courses for students to help with understanding what is required and how to do referencing properly. Information on the subject of plagiarism is given here , and a section in their website here contains information for students about how to write essays properly.
Local variations in dealing with plagiarism
Your department will have a policy on plagiarism, and it will be worth asking for your department's statement on plagiarism. There isn't one standard one for the University, which can be confusing for students doing multiple subjects, so you should make sure that you have read each department's understanding of plagiarism if you are doing more than one subject.
http://www.lancs.ac.uk/celt/celtweb/files/Plagiarism Framework - FINAL.docx
http://www.lancs.ac.uk/celt/celtweb/files/Plagiarism Framework - FINAL.pdf