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ACG Series: Plagiarism: Introduction

In this Academic Communication Guide (ACG), learn about plagiarism and how to avoid it.

About the ACG Series

You're about to begin a short online module on plagiarism, developed by NTU's Language and Communication Centre (LCC). This whole module should take about 30 - 45 minutes of your time.

This Plagiarism module is the first course in a series of Academic Communication Guides (ACG) that LCC is developing. The other courses in the ACG series are on Visual Aids and Citations, and the links are provided below. 

Introduction

Universities regard plagiarism as a serious offence and NTU is no different. Plagiarism goes against the good and required practice of academic integrity. Essentially, non-plagiarism and academic integrity are two sides of the same coin.  

Why is it important to not plagiarise? That depends on the answer to a more interesting question: Why is it important to write with integrity?  

When you started your university studies, you embarked on a journey to become a critical thinker with a strong awareness of yourself and your own thoughts. At this stage of your learning and development, ‘[you] are not necessarily expected to become an original thinker, but you are expected to be an independent one – by learning to assess critically the work of others, weigh up differing arguments and draw your own conclusions’ (University of Oxford, n.d., p. 8).  

When presenting evidence of your independent thinking, you need to clearly show which parts of your work are yours, and which belong to others. Additionally, whether the assignment is individual or collaborative, being part of an academic community means knowing how to give credit where credit is due. In this way, you are preserving academic integrity.  

This short self-directed module on plagiarism will help you identify the most common types of plagiarism and adopt good practices to avoid them. There are three units in this module:  

  • Unit 1: What is plagiarism? 

  • Unit 2: Common types of plagiarism 

  • Unit 3: Good practices and tips to avoid plagiarism 

Each unit should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete (including quick checks of your understanding of the content and a final exercise). You may even be able to start with Unit 2! Complete the diagnostic quiz on the next page, and if you get all the answers right, you probably already have a good understanding of what plagiarism means.  

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