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Lambeth College LRC - Study Support: Plagiarism

How to Avoid Plagiarism

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is when you use someone’s work or ideas as your own without citing the sources or giving credit to the original sources. Colleges and universities have strict rules about plagiarism that can impact students' academic progress.

Students should be aware of the following points to avoid plagiarism in their academic writing:

  • Plagiarism is a serious offense in academic writing if you copy word for word or with slight changes from books, journals, websites, videos, audio, etc. without citing and referencing the full details of all sources.
  • Plagiarism includes not correctly citing and referencing other people's words or ideas in your assignments.
  • Plagiarism also includes buying custom essay writing services or essay mills to write your essays for you and copying your fellow students' work.
  • Paraphrasing without crediting the original author or source is also plagiarism.
  • Plagiarism detection software like "Turnitin" is used to detect semilarites against original sources in students' assignments and provide reports identifying occurrences of plagiarism.

How to avoid plagiarism

  • Give yourself enough time to complete your assignment.
  • Understand what your teacher expects you to do for your assignment.
  • Learn about note-taking:
    • Write your notes in your own words.
    • Learn how to paraphrase someone’s concept or idea, cite, and reference sources properly.
    • Learn to summarise someone's concept or idea.
    • Use “quotations” to show your sources and expand your argument clearly.
  • The following video gives you advice on how to avoid plagiarism and explains how Turnitin picks out plagiarised material.

Learn how to write references and a bibliography of sources at the end of your assignment.

Using Turnitin to Avoid Plagiarism



A quotation is used "to provide an unchanged section of text you have read and included in your assignment(s) as evidence to support your opinions" and expand your analysis of the original concept or idea you have copied word for word (LSBU Library and Learning Resources, 2022)

If you copy someone's work, please use quotation marks and cite to acknowledge the source.


  • Brown (2010, p.43) states that “A good beauty routine should always start with skincare.”


  • It was states that “A good beauty routine should always start with skincare” (Brown, 2010, p.43).


Paraphrasing is used "to explain a concept or idea you have read in your own words without changing the author's original point" (LSBU Library and Learning Resources, 2022).

Paraphrasing can help you avoid plagiarism by properly citing and referencing the sources from which you get the information and ideas.


A summary is used "to provide an explanation of text you have read in a concise way that only highlights the most relevant points needed to understand the author's original argument or assertion" (LSBU Library and Learning Resources, 2022).

Please watch the video below to learn how you can quote, paraphase, and summarise someone's ideas in your own words in different ways.




Why do you need citations, references, and bibliographies?

Using citations, references, and bibliographies helps you avoid plagiarism, which can clearly show all the research you have done on the subject. Citing, referencing, and bibliography can also help your tutors check:

  • the work is yours,
  • your understanding of the subject, and
  • whether your assignment is evidence-based on the subject.

Citation within the text

When you refer to the work of an author in an assignment, you must always mention (cite) the author(s) in the text. This is called citing the author. Citing within the text refers the reader to your references list for all the sources you have used to write your assignment. This is written at the end of your assignment. From there, the reader can locate the original source.

Below is an example of what a citation looks like in an essay or a report.

Management theories have been investigated in many business studies courses since they were devised (Hemingway, 2006).

References and Bibliographies

The Harvard referencing system is commonly used to reference sources in colleges and universities throughout the UK. The reference list contains the full details of all the sources you have used to write your assignments. Whereas a bibliography includes the full details of all the sources you have read in preparation to write your assignments.


Author, Initials., (Year). Title (Italic). Edition. Place of publication: Name of Publisher.


  • O’Donnell, G., (2002). Mastering Sociology. 4th ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Author or Source, (Year). Title of web page (Italic) [Online]. Available at: web site address (URL) [Accessed date].


  • BBC News, (2012). Why do people dress up their pets? [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 07/02/2012).
Journals or Magazines:

Author, Initials., (Year). Title of article (Italic). Full Title of Journal, Volume number (Issue/Part number), Page numbers.


  • Marsh, Ian., (2011). The press portrayal of crime. Sociology Review Vol.3 (5), pp.12-14.

To learn more about the Harverd referencing system, please watch the video below.



Further sources of help and tips

Lambeth College Referencing Guide

South Bank University Guide to Harvard Referencing System

Anglia Ruskin Guide to Harvard Referencing System

Find out more about the levels of plagiarism and see examples

University of Essex [pdf]

Glasgow Caledonian University

University of North Carolina


Lambeth College Library and Learning Resources, (2021).  Plagiarism [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 18/07/2023).

LSBU Library and Learning Resources, (2023).  Harvard Referencing: Plagiarism [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 18/07/2023).

University of Derby, (2012).  A guide to Harvard Referencing [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 18/07/2023).

Weaver, A. (2013).  Quote, paraphrase and Summary [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 18/07/2023).