Research Skills Central

Course materials for teachers of information literacy

How to avoid plagiarism

Wikipedian protestor (

In many universities the institutional attitide towards plagiarism is one of detection rather than deterrence: in other words, the focus is on punishing the deed rather than developing an understanding of scholarly conventions. This seems to me not just a missed opportunity to discuss what makes HE a different learning culture, but also a downright failure to support our students. It’s up to us in academia to explain what plagiarism is, and to help students avoid committing it by giving them:

  • an understanding of the academic conventions we’re asking them to work within
  • the chance to develop good information habits – even down to humble notemaking
  • a reflective awareness of how to embody good scholarly practice in their writing

Hence this session, which explains Cambridge University’s guidelines on plagiarism and then looks at three common scenarios in which inadvertent plagiarism might occur. The session discusses referencing conventions, paraphrasing and quoting, common knowledge, and active notemaking strategies as well as considering how evidence is used in academic writing. It also includes group activities taken from Jude Carroll’s outstanding book A Handbook for Deterring Plagiarism in Higher Education (2002).


Slides (November 2013)

Quoting and paraphrasing‘ handout – includes group activities on the flip side.

Creative Commons Licence
How To Avoid Plagiarism by Emma Coonan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Image: ‘Wikipedian protestor’ by Randall Munroe,, CC BY-NC 2.5


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on November 13, 2013 by and tagged , .



%d bloggers like this: