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Faculty of Humanities

University of the Free State

What is Plagiarism ?

Plagiarism is using other people's ideas from books, journals or other sources without acknowledging the original author. While you are writing an assignment, you should take care not to write down information from a source and present it to your reader as your own. You can avoid plagiarism simply by quoting the author and thereby giving him/her credit.

Plagiarism also takes place when you copy your friend's assignment. This is one of the most serious offences in the academic world. You may even face expulsion from the course, college or university. To download documents from the Internet and hand this material in as your own work is also plagiarism.

You can avoid committing plagiarism by:

 Writing down the complete bibliographical reference of each source you use

 Using quotation marks when you repeat another author's words exactly

 Always giving credit to original authors for their information and ideas

 Writing down exactly which ideas you found in which source

For more information on plagiarism consult the following resources:

Park, C. 2003. In other people's words: Plagiarism by university student--literature and lessons. Assessment & evaluation in higher education, 28(5):471-488

You may also watch the video below:

Youb, S. 2013. How to avoid plagiarism! Available:

{Accessed: 13 September 2016}


Copyright implies that an information source may not be copied in order to avoid buying the source. The copyright law protects authors from losing out on royalties that would be paid to each time a copy of their work is sold. Students who make photocopies of handbooks to avoid purchasing them are breaking the law. Books usually print copyright warnings on the back of the title page. Exceptions are made for "fair use", which means that one article from a journal or one chapter from a book may be photocopied by an individual for his/her personal use for educational or research.

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