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Plagiarism is considered by the University to be the use of unfair means. This means that the work you have submitted is not your own but someone else’s. It is cheating and means the University cannot assess your abilities properly.

Departments now use specialist software to help detect plagiarism, so you will be taking a big risk if you plagiarise. The University takes plagiarism extremely seriously and students can be expelled if they are found to have plagiarised.

All departments have been asked by the University to provide compulsory classes on plagiarism in the first year of all undergraduate and taught postgraduate courses. As part of these, you will be shown how to reference properly and you should attend.

You can also get further help from the library and the Writing Advisory Service.

The University of Bath also provides good study skills material that you can use to help you with your work.

If you are accused of plagiarism, make an appointment to see an Academic Adviser at Student Advice Centre. You may also wish to look at Disciplinary Regulations.

Examples of plagiarism

Copying the work of others

 You cannot cut and paste passages or illustrations from an article, book or website without properly referencing them. The usual way of referencing is by using the Harvard system.

If you are quoting during a sentence, you should use quotation marks as well e.g.

Churchill is classed by many as a great leader but he did not achieve this alone and “one of his most important supports was alcohol.” (Walker J, p42, 2009)

If you are quoting a longer passage, it should be a separate paragraph and indented, e.g.

The proposal of an episodic buffer does pose certain challenges:

Separation of the episodic buffer from episodic LTM presents another problem. It seems likely that the study of selected neuropsychological patients will prove most productive, contrasting cases with executive deficit but preserved LTM with pure amnesic patients. (Baddeley, 2000)

Stealing ideas 

You cannot simply paraphrase a passage in a book or journal, without saying where the ideas came from. It is best to make it absolutely clear, by starting with something like,

James Smith argues that ….. (Smith, J. 2008), with the full reference at the end of your work

Buying or commissioning work from others

Buying or commissioning work from others includes:

  • Asking other students to write an assignment for you
  • Responding to an advertisement on the internet offering to write an assignment for you
  • Placing an advertisement yourself
  • Asking others, such as members of your family or friends, to write or improve assignments for you.


This is where you work together with one or more students to produce work which you submit, or each of you submits, as your own work. This does not apply to a group assignment where you have been asked to work together.

Self plagiarism

This is when you re-submit work for an assignment which has already been assessed for a previous assignment. It also applies if you submitted the work for assessment at another university or college before coming to the University of Sheffield.


This is submitting work which you have made up or is untrue, e.g. experimental results in laboratory work or survey results.

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