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Student handbook

Plagiarism

You must make sure that all the work that you submit for assessment is your own and that it is properly referenced.  Except for short, fully referenced material, you must under no circumstances reproduce passages, diagrams, drawings, tables or photos borrowed wholesale from books, articles, the internet, or other sources written by a person or persons other than yourself. 

Similarly, you must not summarise an author's ideas or arguments without providing a full reference.  If you do so you are wrongly indicating that you have thought of the points yourself.

The University uses the Turnitin UK Plagiarism Detection Service, a software package which searches the world wide web and extensive databases of reference material and content submitted by other students to identify duplicated work. The software makes no decisions as to whether a piece of work has been plagiarised, it simply highlights sections of text found in other sources. More information is available on Turnitin's pages.

The University reserves the right to submit any of your assignments to 'Turnitin', regardless of whether plagiarism is suspected. If it decides to do so the University will submit your assignments, along with your name, and/or email address, course details and institution. Once this information has been uploaded it will be stored electronically in a database and compared against other work submitted. As such, information may be shared with countries outside of the European Union.

One of the benefits of studying at a campus university like Loughborough is that it facilitates the exchange of ideas outside timetabled classes. It is important to take advantage of this opportunity to discuss your area of study with other students. However, unless you have been assigned a group project, you must not collaborate with others when preparing your assignments. You may share books and/or articles, but you should always do your own research and use only your own notes and essay/essays drafts in the preparation of your work. Under no circumstances should you use another student's work or ideas and present them as your own. To do so constitutes plagiarism.

The beginning and end of a direct quotation should be indicated in one of two ways. When reproducing a short passage (up to three lines), place it between quotation marks. When reproducing a longer passage (more than three lines), leave an extra line of space above and below the passage you are quoting, and indent it, i.e. use a wider margin on the left.

You should also be aware that inadequately referred diagrams, graphs and other visual aids which are not your own work will also be considered a plagiarism.

Examples of plagiarism

To illustrate the difference between the legitimate use of sources and the sort of practice that you must avoid, samples from an invented student essay are given below. They draw in different ways on a passage in a book by Yasemin Soysal, The Limits of Citizenship: Migrants and Postnational Membership in Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), p. 29. In the bibliography to this student's essay, full publication details of the book by Soysal would be listed as follows:

Soysal, Y. (1994) Limits of Citizenship: Migrants and Postnational Membership in Europe, Chicago: Chicago University Press.

The temptation to copy in this way often stems from a lack of understanding of the material; and it is worth bearing in mind that tutors often spot plagiarism because the copied text is quoted out of context, because its meaning has been perverted or because it is mostly irrelevant to the question in hand. However, the most important lesson to learn about plagiarism is not that you can get caught, but that you can avoid the temptation to plagiarise in the first place by improving your study skills and by sorting out any problems you have with the coursework in advance.

Example A - acceptable use

Example A quotes legitimately from Soysal, whose words are clearly identified as a quotation by the extra lines of space and wider margin surrounding them, together with the reference placed immediately after the quotation:

In this essay, I will discuss the growing importance of transnational factors in conditioning the experience of minority ethnic groups. It is useful to begin by considering some of the historical factors at work in different national contexts, as well as current trends towards globalisation. As Soysal has observed, tensions between these two sets of factors are increasingly evident:

The incorporation of post-war migrants is shaped both by the historically encoded membership systems of European host polities and by global changes in the concept and organization of individual rights. In the post-war era, world-level pressures toward more expanded individual rights have led to the increasing incorporation of foreigners into existing membership schemes. However, by extending membership beyond national citizenry, these pressures also work to transform the existing models, making national citizenship peculiarly less important. (Soysal 1994: 29)

It should nevertheless be noted that Soysal's argument rests on a rather loose definition of "membership". If we limit this concept to the field of formal citizenship, the erosion of national boundaries appears less strong than she suggests.

Example B - acceptable use

Example B is another legitimate use of Soysal's work, from which a few lines are reproduced between quotation marks with a reference immediately afterwards. In Examples A and B the sentences which precede and follow the quotation are the student's own work, and do not therefore need to be referenced:

In this essay, I will discuss the growing importance of transnational factors in conditioning the experience of minority ethnic groups. In analysing the position of ethnic minorities, we need to be aware that their integration is conditioned by "historically encoded membership systems of European host polities and by global changes in the concept and organization of individual rights" (Soysal 1994: 29). One of the most interesting developments in recent years has been a tendency on the part of certain states to modify the rules governing access to formal citizenship, so as to make it easier - or in some cases more difficult - for migrants to take an active role in political life. France and Germany offer contrasting illustrations of this process, and I will use these countries as case studies.

Example C - acceptable use

In Example C, Soysal's ideas are drawn upon (and her book is therefore suitably referenced), but her words are not directly quoted, so quotation marks are not used:

In this essay, I will discuss the growing importance of transnational factors in conditioning the experience of minority ethnic groups. In her analysis of this question, Soysal (1994: 29) identifies two main factors as being particularly important: historical patterns of national membership in different European states and global changes affecting the rights accorded to individuals. While these points are certainly significant, it would be a mistake to lose sight of other factors, such as variations in the norms and expectations of different ethnic groups. I also feel that varying levels of resource mobilisation can play a vital role.

 

In contrast with Examples A, B and C, which illustrate the legitimate use of Soysal's work, Examples D, E and F illustrate different forms of plagiarism.

Example D - plagiarism

In Example D, although the wording is slightly different in places, the essay basically reproduces Soysal's original text while making no reference to it, and adding nothing new, thus wrongly giving the impression that this paragraph is the student's own work.

In this essay, I will discuss the growing importance of transnational factors in conditioning the experience of minority ethnic groups. The integration of post-war migrants is shaped both by the historically encoded membership systems of European states and by global changes in the concept and organization of individual rights. Since 1945, global pressures toward more expanded individual rights have led to the increasing incorporation of foreigners into existing membership schemes. But by extending membership, these pressures are transforming existing models, reducing the importance of national citizenship.

Example E - plagiarism

In Example E, a single sentence is placed between quotation marks and a reference is given to Soysal. In the absence of any indication to the contrary, it would appear that the rest of the paragraph is the student's own work, which is not in fact the case, since apart from the first sentence it reproduces Soysal's text word for word.

In this essay, I will discuss the growing importance of transnational factors in conditioning the experience of minority ethnic groups. The integration of migrants is shaped both by "historically encoded membership systems of European host polities and by global changes in the concept and organization of individual rights" (Soysal 1994: 29). In the post-war era, world-level pressures toward more expanded individual rights have led to the increasing incorporation of foreigners into existing membership schemes. However, by extending membership beyond national citizenry, these pressures also work to transform the existing models, making national citizenship peculiarly less important.

Example F - plagiarism

In Example F, although a reference is given to Soysal, because quotation marks are not used it appears that the student is expressing Soysal's ideas in his or her own words, which is not the case: except for the first sentence, the whole of this paragraph is copied directly from Soysal's book.

In this essay, I will discuss the growing importance of transnational factors in conditioning the experience of minority ethnic groups. The incorporation of post-war migrants is shaped both by the historically encoded membership systems of European host polities and by global changes in the concept and organization of individual rights. In the post-war era, world-level pressures toward more expanded individual rights have led to the increasing incorporation of foreigners into existing membership schemes. However, by extending membership beyond national citizenry, these pressures also work to transform the existing models, making national citizenship peculiarly less important. (Soysal 1994: 29).