It should go without saying that all work submitted for assessment must be your own. The College has strict rules defining plagiarism. These are to be found in the College’s Regulations Governing Examination and Assessment Offences from which the quotations on this page are taken; the remainder of the text on this page is expanded from the printed SMLLC Handbook.
Failure to respect such rules will have severe consequences. All coursework coversheets contain a Declaration of Integrity sheet which students must sign before handing in work. The same Declaration sheet must be filled in for Link Essays and / or Dissertations.
‘Plagiarism’ means the presentation of another person’s work in any quantity without adequately identifying it and citing its source in a way which is consistent with good scholarly practice in the discipline and commensurate with the level of professional conduct expected from the student. The source which is plagiarised may take any form (including words, graphs and images, musical texts, data, source code, ideas or judgements) and may exist in any published or unpublished medium, including the internet (College Regulation 1.1.1 Governing Examination and Assessment Offences).
The Students' Union plagiarism pages have some good advice on this matter.
This text from the College policy on plagiarism is included on the cover sheet for all essays that you submit, and you are required to sign this cover sheet to say that you have read it and understood what it means. Take some time now to read it and to read the notes we have written to follow it:
All work submitted by students as part of the requirements for any examination or other assessment must be expressed in their own words and incorporate their own ideas and judgements. Plagiarism, the presentation of another person’s thoughts or words as though they were one’s own, must be avoided with particular care in coursework and essays and reports written in students’ own time. Deliberate plagiarism in coursework is as serious as deliberate cheating in an examination.
Direct quotations from the published or unpublished work of others must always be clearly identified as such by being placed inside quotation marks (or distinguished from the main, original, text e.g. by being indented or indented and in italics), and a full reference to their source must be provided in the proper form. A series of short quotations from several different sources, if not clearly identified as such, constitutes plagiarism just as much as does a single unacknowledged long quotation from a single source.
Use of another’s computer program or data without acknowledgement also constitutes plagiarism. Equally, if a student includes a summary of another person’s ideas or judgements the source must be acknowledged and the work referred to included in the bibliography. Material taken from the Internet is covered by the same rules and it must always be acknowledged. Failure to observe these rules can result in an allegation of cheating, for which the penalties are severe.
Please consult the College Handbook for more information on this subject. If you are in any doubt at all about whether / how to acknowledge a source, please consult the course tutor concerned.
What this means is that anything you write which has not come from inside your own head should be attributed to its source even if you have put it into your own words. If you take an idea from a book, for example, summarise and then develop it into a point of your own, you should still footnote the original source. You should then explain what comes from there so that the reader can clearly understand where your originality takes over from someone else’s idea. It is perfectly acceptable to use people’s ideas in your work in this manner, but it is necessary to acknowledge when you do so and give the reader of your work a clear indication of the source of the material.
Staff are always vigilant for plagiarism and can usually identify work that is substantially plagiarised. Do not assume that staff are unable to notice stylistic shifts between a student's own coursework and a piece of published research by an established scholar. Do not assume that they do not have time or cannot be bothered to pay attention to small details. Staff will not spot every single instance, but they are alert and expert. SMLLC staff have an excellent track-record in identifying plagiarised work.
As of September 2007 all written work submitted for assessment in the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures (except regular weekly / fortnightly language work) will be submitted via Turnitin, which is software designed to help staff identify plagiarism. This software is extremely reliable and will identify even small amounts of uncredited borrowing, so you would be advised to be extra careful about acknowledging sources properly.
Plagiarism is a serious problem, nationally and internationally, and it is vital that all students are completely honest about the sources of their work. No student will be accused of plagiarism unless strong evidence is found for it, and any student who is accused of plagiarism will have the opportunity to present his or her case to the relevant school committee in the first instance.
College regulations require all cases of suspected plagiarism to be investigated by the relevant Head of Department or School. In SMLLC the Head of School has delegated this role to the Deputy Head of School, who acts in the name of the Head of School.
If the student is found to have plagiarised, he or she could be subject to a range of penalties. The College regulations outline these as follows — they apply if it is the student's first offence of this type:
(a) where the work contains a component of plagiarised material, but also contains sufficient evidence that the student has satisfied the requirements to Pass, either
(i) cap the mark for the piece of work at a minimum Pass; or
(ii) subtract ten percentage marks from the final mark for the course overall, subject to a minimum mark of a minimum Pass, and return a mark for the piece of work based on the portion which is not plagiarised; selecting the penalty with the least impact on the student's final mark for the course;
(b) where the work contains a component of plagiarised material which casts doubt on whether the student has satisfied the requirements to Pass, assign a mark of zero for the piece of work;
(c) where it is the view of the Head of School that the student acted with intent to cheat and a more severe penalty is merited, refer the matter to a Vice-Principal (Regulations, paragraph 14)
'If the Head of School decides that plagiarism has occurred and it is the student's second or subsequent offence of this type, the Head of School will refer the matter to a Vice-Principal' (Regulations, paragraph 16) with a recommendation for one of the penalties (a) and (b) above or, in addition:
(c) assign a mark of zero for the entire course; or
(d) refer the matter to the Student Discipline Committee, with the recommendation that the student be required to suspend his/her registration with the College for a period of up to one year; or
(e) refer the matter to the Student Discipline Committee, with the recommendation to terminate permanently the student's registration with the College (Regulations, paragraph 25).
'In the context of these regulations, a second or subsequent offence means plagiarism in respect of a piece of work submitted after the investigation into a previous case involving the same student has been completed and the student has been informed of the outcome in accordance with these regulations, so that it is reasonable to assume that the student was acting in awareness of the possible consequences' of his/her actions' (Regulations, paragraph 16).
The process of assessing whether plagiarism has taken place is long and unpleasant for both student and staff. You should therefore consult your teacher, Personal Advisor or Head of School if you are in any doubt whatever about what is permissible.
Note that the quotations on this page have all been referred to source in one of the usual ways, i.e. in quotation marks or indented, both followed by an indication of the source sufficient to locate it in the original. In Word documents, of course, you may use the footnote / endnote function.