Evaluating and using Information

3. Plagiarism and how to avoid it

Once you have gathered together a sufficient amount of information from sources that you judge to be reliable you then have to actually write your essay. 

Producing good quality academic writing is something that most people have to learn: critiquing the work of others, constructing a coherent and plausible argument and writing well are specific skills that are dealt with by our colleagues in the Learning Development Team.

It is important that the coursework you produce reflects Queen Mary's core values: the scholarship of our staff and students is fundamentally underpinned by integrity and honesty. Plagiarism is a word that you may have heard of and feel scared by: understanding plagiarism will help you overcome these fears. We have a short cartoon for you that introduces the basics.


  • When marking essays and coursework, academics at Queen Mary use powerful software called Turnitin to check that their students have not taken material from books, journals and other publications without due acknowledgement. Turnitin also checks to ensure that students have not plagiarised the work of other students or lifted material straight from the Internet.
  • Students who are caught plagiarising other people's work face penalties that could have far-reaching effects.

So plagiarism is a very serious matter; but don't avoid it simply out of fear of the disciplinary consequences; avoid it because you seek to produce the best quality academic work you possibly can.

Once you have grasped the principles of correct source use and the citation style recommended by your department (see the next section of this module for more on citation styles) you can feel confident that you are steering clear of plagiarism.

Need help or advice with anything on this page?  Contact the T&LS Team