Unintentional plagiarism often occurs as a result of poor academic practices. Being able to make effective notes, think critically, reference correctly, and write academically will help you to produce high-quality academic work and avoid plagiarism.
Avoid citing your own work from previous assignments for which you have received marks already, as it is considered to be self-plagiarism malpractice. This may occur when writing final year project research or dissertations on topics previously covered during the course, for example using part of your research proposal in your final project. Ask your supervisor if it is acceptable to cite yourself in this instance, although it is more likely that you will look at the topic in greater depth and may express your arguments in a more developed way.
It would be preferable to rewrite, based on your notes, rather than citing your actual previous essay. Read more about malpractice on the Student Education Service website (Annex 2).
Use these Skills@Library resources to further develop your academic practices:
- Note making: resources to help you improve your note taking and note making strategies.
- Academic writing: resources to help you effectively incorporate your reading into your writing.
- Referencing: detailed information about different referencing styles and how to use them.
- Check the referencing style used in your school.
Do not use plagiarism detection websites
You may have seen websites that claim to offer free plagiarism checks if you submit your essay to them. We strongly advise that you do not use any "essay checker", "note sharing" or "plagiarism detector" service before submitting your assignments.
Submitting your work to these "essay checker" websites may result in your essays being sold to other students, and could mean that your work shows up as being stolen or plagiarised when you submit it through Turnitin.
Working with others: collaboration not collusion
Collaborating with other students to enhance your learning is encouraged at the University of Leeds, but you must understand the boundaries between acceptable collaboration and unacceptable collusion.
Your tutors will provide guidance when collaborative group work is expected, but you must recognise that there will normally be limits to the extent of this collaboration. You must not exceed those limits.
Individual work, sometimes including specific components of group tasks, must genuinely reflect your own efforts. You must avoid any practices that could mean that you cannot honestly claim that the work submitted is your own.
Download our guide to studying together at university (PDF).