Skip to main content


Page title

Avoiding plagiarism

Less than 500 words


What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is taking someone’s work or idea and passing it off as your own. It is a form of cheating which the University of Worcester takes very seriously, as you'll see from the University's Procedures for investigations of cases of alleged Academic Misconduct (2016). It is important to be aware of the different types of plagiarism so that you can avoid them. You can also read about how to protect your work to control how it is used. You can also find further information and advice at the website. Also worth a look is this page on the Institute of Health and Society's study skills site, where you can watch some videos of tutors, students and librarians discussing plagiarism issues and how to avoid them.

Types of plagiarism

Less than 500 words

How to avoid plagiarism

hourglassTime management is essential. Plan a schedule for each assignment to allow yourself enough time for reading, notetaking, writing and proof-reading. Plagiarism often arises because of a lack of time and increased pressure to submit work. The University of Leeds Skills@Library team has a resource on time management, which covers planning, prioritising and organising.




dartboardLearn how to cite and reference accurately in your subject. We have lots of information on our referencing page, and you can ask your Academic Liaison Librarian for advice on improving your referencing. Cardiff University offers a tutorial which includes a flow chart indicating when to cite in your writing.



student writingImprove your academic writing style. Academic writing is about knowledge creation, and building on other people's ideas. It is not simply describing what you know.

A good academic writing style can help you to avoid plagiarism because it will enable you to integrate the work of others, and write about your thoughts, ideas, arguments and critical evaluations of the literature. It is very important that as a student you understand the importance of developing your writing style within your subject discipline, as Elmes (2016) explains in this THE article ('Students 'don't understand' plagiarism, research suggests'). The University's Language Centre and the Writers-in-Residence offer excellent writing support to both native and non-native speakers of English. Another resource worth exploring is the University of Manchester's Academic Phrasebank. The site offers lots of ideas for phrases and sentences you can use in your essays to integrate the work of others. These will enable you to show criticality, comparisons, definitions and examples.


Develop good notetaking skills. Make sure you can identify direct quotes from your reading, and your own ideas and paraphrasing, perhaps using your own coding system. There are books in the Hive which can give you some ideas about how to take notes, including a little green book called Reading and making notes by Jeanne Godfrey. You could try reading first and then writing about what you've read, rather than notetaking as you read or copying out quotes. This may lead to a better understanding of your reading, how it relates to other sources and ideas, and a structure for your assignment.

Keep track of your references too. Write down or store the full reference as you read each source, and put them alongside the relevant notes. Some students use a reference management tool to store their references.


turnitin logoUse Turnitin. Turnitin can help to detect potential plagiarism in your assignments. You can submit your assignment through your Blackboard module, and the software will match the text to thousands of sources. You'll receive an originality report, and this can be used to check your work for accurate citing and referencing. The Technology Enhanced Learning Unit (TEL) provides more information about Turnitin. This video is also helpful.