You will be aware of the need to avoid plagiarism, i.e. you are expected to present your own words, your own analysis and your own argument. It is acceptable to use the cited work of others to support arguments and analysis. Plagiarism is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as 'the taking and using as one's own of the thoughts, writing or inventions of another'. It does not matter whether the source was an original document, a book or article, or a fellow student.
Plagiarism can take a variety of forms:
- Copying sections from one or more books or articles without acknowledgement of the source(s). Note the phrase 'one or more'. It is still plagiarism if you reproduce sections from several sources
rather than one, in a 'cut and paste' approach.
- Excessive dependence upon one or a limited number of sources is plagiarism if the sources are inadequately referenced, even if the exact wording used by the original author(s) has been
- Collusion with other students. Students should be aware of the distinction between 'collaboration' and 'collusion'. Some assignments encourage or require students to collaborate with fellow students and submit joint work. The majority, however, assess individual work and do not permit collusion. Students should never submit joint work unless it is clearly required by the module's written documentation, and in such cases, students should always seek clarification from their tutors as to the level of collaboration. If you work with other participants you will need to be aware of this requirement, i.e. although your topics may be the same or similar and you may have drawn on similar readings; your submitted text must be individual to you.
- Using sections from your own previous work without stating that you are building upon previous work or citing yourself.
Submitted assignments will be checked using “Turnitin” plagiarism checking software. This software highlights any text that is from other sources, including unpublished research from all UK universities. It will also highlight any text that you yourself have previously submitted in other assignments to BPN or other universities. The software will then provide Best Practice Network with a ‘green’, ‘yellow’, ‘amber’ or ‘red’ rating for your work. Ratings of ‘amber’ or ‘red’ will be investigated by Best Practice Network and you may be contacted for further details about the content of your work or asked to amend your work or add referencing details.
You should ensure that your work is not made available to other students. Failure to secure work adequately can mean that you may be implicated in an accusation of plagiarism.
You should be in no doubt that plagiarism is cheating and is a very serious offence. Pleading that you were not aware of the offence or its consequences, or did not understand what constitutes plagiarism, will not be accepted under any circumstances. Plagiarism will result in a penalty even when it is unintended or unwitting.
If checks confirm that plagiarism by an individual(s) has taken place, dependant on the gravity and scope, one or more of the following actions will be taken:
- Disallowing all or part of a learner/s assessment evidence or marks
- The learner(s) certificates will not be issued, or previously issued certificates will be made void
- No further registrations will be accepted for the learners
- The individual(s) may be withdrawn from their programme/course
- A report will be made to the Best Practice Network Senior Leadership Group (SLG)