Guidelines for students
A serious offence
Causes of plagiarism
UP policies and regulations
Correct referencing
Avoid plagiarism
Consequences of plagiarism
Plagiarism Afrikaanse weergawe
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How to avoid plagiarism

The don'ts

  • Don’t hide behind ignorance.  A criminal offence is punishable, regardless of whether it was committed wittingly or unwittingly.

  • Don't commit plagiarism intentionally (e.g. when you are pressed for time). It could spell the end of your academic career.

  • Don't cut and paste information from electronic sources such as web pages. 

  • Don't use past assignments of other students, even with their permission.

The do’s
  • Learn to think independently and critically. Read what others have said about  a topic, acknowledge the source, and then formulate your own opinion.  

  • Budget enough time for thorough research, writing and revision of your paper.

  • Make sure you understand the lecturer's expectations especially with regard to due dates, writing style, collaboration with other students, referencing/citing, sources and bibliographies.

  • If in doubt, ASK! Your lecturer or tutor can give you advice.

  • Take notes carefully.

  • Compile a proper list of references right from the start of your reading according to the citing/referencing style for the subject.

  • Learn to quote, paraphrase and summarise correctly (guidance and examples available at 

  • Use the correct form of citing/referencing for your course meticulously. Check with your lecturer which style to use. This entails, inter alia, the following:

If you quote the exact words of another person:

  • Put the quotation between inverted commas if it forms part of a paragraph you have written.  

  • Indent the quotation from the left margin or use a different/smaller font if it constitutes a new (separate) paragraph.

  • Acknowledge the source (according to the style prescribed by the department or subject field).

If you make use of other people’s ideas but prefer to formulate them in your own words:  

  • Change the formulation to blend with your personal style of writing, or translate the citation into the language that you are using, BUT

  • Make certain that you do not misrepresent the author’s words to suit your personal opinion.  

  • Acknowledge the source according to the style prescribed by the department or subject field.

More hints on avoiding plagiarism to be found in this easy to follow guide on how to avoid accidental plagiarism, from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab.

Referencing guidelines are available online at

Talk to an information specialist (librarian): they are trained to help you with with your research and offer free guidance.
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Guidelines for staff   Additional web resources