Referencing, Copyright and Plagiarism

Referencing and Plagiarism

Writing assignments means researching, reading and exploring ideas to help you form your own opinions. In order to get good marks and use information ethically, there are certain academic conventions or procedures you need to follow:

There are two versions of referencing guidelines for English and Performing Arts, they contain the same information but laid out differently.

Standard version.

Colour coded version.

What is copyright?

Copyright is a law (The Copyright Act 1988) that protects the rights of the owner, or their representative, to have their work used only with their permission. The owner is usually the person who wrote (author) or created (artist, composer, photographer) the work in question.

This means that you can't use another person's words, sound or images without recognising their ownership and gaining their permission. However, a 'fair dealing' rule permits you to copy a limited amount of material, as long as it is for private study or personal research purposes. 'Fair dealing' usually extends to copying:

  • 5% of a book or one chapter of a book (whichever is greater)
  • one journal article from an issue
  • one poem or short story from an anthology (up to 10 pages)

What is referencing?

Referencing is a way to acknowledge that you have used the ideas or written/recorded material belonging to another author.

Why do I have to reference?
  • It gives authority to your work and demonstrates that you've done the appropriate research for your assignments.
  • Referencing enables you and your readers to trace useful material again.
  • Providing full references helps you avoid the risk of plagiarism - stealing someone else's ideas.

Remember that you have to give full references for all the materials you use for your assignments - this includes books, journal articles, video material, and internet resources such as websites!

Harvard Referencing System

There are two kinds of references: textual references (i.e. references within the text) and a list of references cited (i.e. the bibliography), which is given at the end of the assignment.

References within the text:
  • Links the information used in the text to its source.
  • Includes the following: Author's surname, date of publication, and, if relevant, a particular page. All information is given in round brackets.

Example: There is some evidence (Jones 1992, p. 97) that these figures are incorrect. OR Jones (1992, p. 97) argues that these figures are incorrect.

Creating a bibliography:
  • Arranged in alphabetical order.
  • Includes items referred to in the text and anything else used as background reading.
  • Includes the following: Author, full title and volume number (if there is one), place of publication and publisher, date and edition (found on copyright page).
  • There is an example of an imaginary copyright page from a made-up book here. You can use this page to find the location of the key details for a Harvard book reference.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism means failing either intentionally (I meant to do it) or unintentionally (I didn't realise I was doing it) to give recognition to the work and/or ideas of others in your own work. There are many reasons why a student might plagiarise, but it is important to remember that plagiarism is an academic offence and, if caught, you could lose marks for your assignment, fail a module or even fail your degree.

Plagiarism can be avoided by making sure:

  • you learn how to reference
  • you learn how to paraphrase correctly
  • you develop your own writing style
  • you make sensible notes when reading

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