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Education : Ethics, Plagiarism & Reference Guides

This is a guide to assist CPUT education students and staff to find and use information resources.


What is Plagiarism?

" Most simply, plagiarism is intellectual theft. Any use of another author’s research, ideas, or language without proper attribution may be considered plagiarism."


It is unethical and illegal to submit someone else's work as your own - it is the same as stealing.

Plagiarism can take various forms. It can be blatant theft or accidental "borrowing". See the following examples:

  • You submit an assignment done by another student (or from a paper mill) as your own.
  • You pay another student to write an assignment for you and hand it in as your own work.
  • You copy and paste sections from someone else's work and add it to your work without acknowledging the source.

Although this sometimes happens accidentally, it is still considered plagiarism:

  • You have done a lot or reading and made notes for your assignment. At some point you find a good idea between your notes, but you can't remember whether it was your idea or someone else's. If you submit this as your own work and it turns out that it was not your idea, you have committed plagiarism.
  • If you make use of someone else's work, you must make sure that you have the correct citation information and add it to your assignment. (Citing and referencing will be discussed in more detail in step 5 of this course.)


Consequences of Plagiarism

1. Plagiarism devalues the University in that your employers will blame the institution when you do not have the required skills in future.

2. If caught, you may face disciplinary action.

3. You may fail an assignment, course or even your academic programme.

4. Students may lose their bursaries

5. Repeat offenders may be dismissed and blacklisted by the University and other institutions.

Plagiarism resources

Plagiarism policy

CPUT Harvard Referencing Manuals

Mendeley Reference Manager can be used to collect, manage, share and cite your references online. Consult the Mendeley@CPUT page for instructions.  

Academic Writing Guides