To plagiarize means that you copy or imitate someone else’s work, e.g. a text, an image or a diagram, and pass it off as your own. Plagiarism is not accepted within the academic community.
Before you hand in an essay or other written assignment you should take care to find out about your department's regulations concerning assignments. If you can’t find any regulations – they are quite often included in the course plan – you must ask your teacher. It’s also a good idea to find out how to write academic texts within your subject area as well as learning different techniques for citing and referencing.
If you disregard your department’s regulations and are found guilty of trying to "mislead during assessment" (the Higher Education Ordinance, 1993:100, ch 10) you run the risk of being warned or suspended from your studies by the university’s Disciplinary Board. Being suspended means that you are not allowed to be present during lectures, assessment and so on for a certain period of time.
The assignments your teacher gives you are of course designed to help you learn certain things: you learn your subject by completing the assignment. If you choose to plagiarize someone else’s work instead of doing your own, you let the opportunity to learn that your assignment offers pass you by. It’s quite common for student assignments to be discussed during seminars, the idea being to offer your fellow students the opportunity to learn from your work. So, plagiarized assignments lower the quality of your education.
As a student you are part of the academic community and your role is not so very different from that of the academics. As scientists and scholars are responsible for the quality of their research, you as a student are responsible for the quality of your own work. This is one of the reasons why you must form a personal standpoint on the issue of plagiarism.
Last updated: April 26, 2010
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