Plagiarism: All You Need To Know

With exams slowly on the way, our advisors have compiled some useful information to help you understand what plagiarism is, how you can avoid it, and what you should do if you've been invited to a Misconduct Panel.

Plagiarism is the inclusion of someone else’s work (intentional or unintentional) in your own, without correctly referencing/crediting the original author.

If a marker suspects plagiarism You will receive a letter inviting you to an Academic Misconduct Panel. It will come in an email with a ‘request to investigate’ form and your Turnitin report. These explain why your work has been flagged and where the similarities lie with other sources.

You can then book an appointment with an Advisor at our Advice Centre to talk through your work, the similarities and how to prepare for the hearing itself.

Can I plagiarise my own work?

Absolutely! You are only allowed to submit a piece of work once. If you copy and paste sections of previously submitted work (no matter how relevant the content is), this is still plagiarism.

All work submitted should be original content for each assignment written by you. If you’re unsure about quoting your past work, then discuss your options with your personal tutor.

How can I avoid plagiarism?

  • First of all, make sure your work is your own.
  • Give yourself enough time to complete the assignment. Rushing can lead to overlooking things like referencing and your bibliography.
  • Try to avoid copying and pasting sections from published work that you want to use. This can lead to either forgetting to take it out, not referencing it or paraphrasing too closely, which will still be flagged by Turnitin. If there is information you want to paraphrase, read it, digest it and then write what you’ve understood from it, citing where you’ve read it from. Don’t simply change out two words in a sentence to call it your own!
  • As a student here at RHUL you automatically have access to the Moodle course called ‘Avoiding Plagiarism’ so we’d recommend having a refresh of that with exam season and coursework submission dates approaching.
  • Your course handbook will tell you the style of referencing you will be expected to use, so make sure you make yourself familiar with that and double-check the requirements (even the extra ‘,’ and ‘.’ that feels unnecessary, could be the difference in the Turnitin report.)
  • CeDAS offers a proof-reading service with a list of approved proof-readers who can identify errors in language, punctuation, layout and referencing.
  • CeDas also offer academic writing advice drop-ins from the Spring Term through to August.

Remember, if you have been accused of academic misconduct we are here to help you through the process. We know it can be intimidating and we can help you prepare for your panel/hearing and accompany you there too.  We will support you in dealing with the outcome, help you learn from your mistakes and guide you about your options.

Academic Misconduct Allegations are taken very seriously and you are expected to know what constitutes good academic practice, but we know that accidents do happen too. For more information on what happens in the panels and the possible sanctions, VP Education Kate Roberts’ article on student rights here.

How do I get help from the Advice Centre?

  • Email us at
  • Pop along to the Union Helpdesk on the first floor of the Students' Union
  • Call the Helpdesk on 01784 276700