The following brief definitions do not replace the formal University regulations.


Plagiarism is defined as the use of the work of others without acknowledgement.  This covers not just using words, but also, for example, concepts, ideas, data, designs, images, computer programmes and music. Note in particular that it refers to ideas, not just to words, so even if you express someone else’s ideas in your own words, the source of the idea must still be acknowledged.

Why do we have this requirement?

Good academic work is expected to draw on other sources, but these must be acknowledged. This enables others to see where the ideas you use have come from, which actually lends added authority to your work. It also allows readers to follow up these sources directly, if they wish. It involves being honest about what is your work and what is the work of others. Think how you would feel if someone used your work without acknowledging it.  Furthermore students who plagiarise are gaining an unfair advantage over their honest colleagues.

How to avoid problems
  • ensure that you provide in-text references for all the ideas you have taken from elsewhere and reference them in accordance with the guidance provided by your School.
  • where you quote verbatim (word for word), you must show that this is a quotation (usually by using inverted commas “……”) and indicate the source document of the quote either immediately before or after it in the main text. Your School’s guidance materials will show you how to do this.
  • don’t paraphrase or slightly modify work from another source and pass it off as your own. It is generally better to either include a direct quotation or to put things into your own words, but even then you must reference the source of the idea. However, where you paraphrase or slightly modify others’ work, you must show an in-text reference at the beginning of, in the middle of (e.g.   ……, as stated by Smith (2007),…) or at the end of the paraphrased section.  Don’t leave including your reference to the end of the paragraph. You should adopt a similar approach to that which you would use in quoting verbatim.
  • don’t cut and paste from other sources without acknowledging them, and only do this to the extent that a direct quotation is required. It is usually better to put things in your own words.
  • don’t submit other’s work as if it was your own e.g. borrowing an essay from another student; taking an essay from the web; paying someone else to write work for you.
  • don’t submit work you have prepared for one assignment for another.
  • remember that listing a source in a list of references at the end of the work is not sufficient acknowledgement; there must also be an in-text reference.

On the other hand you don’t need to reference material which is common knowledge or facts widely available from a range of sources, although it is recommended that you always reference statistical data.


Collusion is defined as the submission by two or more students of the same or similar pieces of work (or parts of pieces of work) which are presented as the individual’s own solely authored work. This could arise from students working together to complete the work, or by one student allowing another to copy his/her work. Copying without the author’s permission is not collusion, but taking another student’s work without permission is theft and constitutes a disciplinary offence.

Why do we have this requirement?

Apart from formal group work, any work you submit is expected to be your own. It is your degree and it is clearly dishonest to submit work which is not your own.

How to avoid problems

Students can of course help and support each other and this is to be encouraged. It is a question of knowing where to draw the line.

The following list provides examples of forms of co-operation with fellow students which are to be encouraged:

  • notifying them of useful references
  • directing someone to a source for an idea
  • shared discussion and development of ideas
  • jointly identifying ideas from a third party
  • discussing what the assessment requirements involve
  • discussing the techniques used in calculations
  • sharing books and articles

Schools may also sometimes provide exemplars of work to help students understand what is expected or to help them understand assessment.

To avoid collusion though, you should:

  • write the assignment on your own in your own words (except to the extent you cite references)
  • not copy verbatim or in substance part or all of the work of other students
  • take care to keep your work secure
  • take care if you get someone to proof read your work.


We generally use this term in relation to University examinations, you should not:

  • breach the University’s rules for examinations
  • copy from or confer with other candidates in the examination
  • confer with others outside the examination room whilst an examination is in progress
  • use unauthorised material (e.g. notes) or equipment (e.g. text stored in a non-approved calculator; mobile phone) in an examination room
  • present yourself as another student or allow anyone else to present themselves as you in the examination room
  • introduce examination scripts for marking other than in the course of an examination
Why do we have these requirements?

It is important that assessment is fair and that students are rewarded for their own achievement. Otherwise it is unfair on the overwhelming majority of honest students.

Research integrity

You are expected to be honest in submitting research results, which should not be falsified.   This could happen through including fictitious or false data, or by suppressing results, perhaps because they don’t match prior expectations.

Why do we have this requirement?

In universities we rely on researchers being totally honest about their results, otherwise their conclusions and any action taken in consequence of their findings will be flawed. How would you feel if one of the sources you were using had been dishonest about research results, when you are relying on them?

Auto plagiarism

It is not allowed to submit the same piece of work for different assessments.  Otherwise it may be possible for someone to gain double credit for the same piece of work and that is unfair and dishonest.  Auto plagiarism is therefore when you have already submitted the work (or similar work) for an assessment at Newcastle or elsewhere.