Academic dishonesty - plagiarism

Plagiarism is perhaps the most common form of academic dishonesty - it's where you represent someone else's work as your own (even if you didn't intend to).

Plagiarism is the act of presenting other people's words, ideas and creations as your own work. Appropriately referencing and acknowledging others' words, ideas and creations in your own work is required by QUT and expected by the research community. Plagiarism, whether intentional or unintentional, is unacceptable and viewed as academic misconduct. Plagiarism may take a number of forms, including:

  • using another author's phrases or expressions without acknowledgement
  • copying content from websites, books, articles, newspapers, magazines, plays, movies or speeches without acknowledgement
  • copying artwork, photos, graphs, diagrams or music without acknowledgement
  • using or developing ideas from another person's work without acknowledgement
  • failing to use quotation marks when directly quoting another person's work
  • failing to summarise or paraphrase appropriately
  • failing to reference appropriately.

Watch the video: How can I avoid plagiarism (YouTube video, 8m54s)

The QUT resource on Blackboard, IFR: Plagiarism in theses and dissertations - avoiding it, also provides critical information about plagiarism for QUT researchers.

QUT's plagiarism detection software for higher degree research (HDR) candidates is iThenticate.

All higher degree research candidates will be confirmed as having access to iThenticate within a month to six weeks of commencing their course at QUT. You will be sent a welcome email to your QUT student email address (from iThenticate) with details of your user name and temporary password.

All HDR candidates are required to submit their thesis through QUT's plagiarism detection software prior to lodgement for examination. The resultant report must be provided to the Principal Supervisor for review. Candidates are encouraged to take this opportunity to discuss the findings in the report with their supervisory team. On the Lodgement of Thesis for Examination form, the Principal Supervisor will be asked to certify that they have received and reviewed a copy of the report and that the thesis is now ready for examination.


The two components to academic referencing are in-text citations and bibliographies (or reference lists).

  • QUT cite|write QUT cite|write is an introductory guide to citing and referencing. The booklet contains general information and tips about referencing and citing information regarding QUT Harvard and APA styles. However, at a postgraduate or research level you need to conform to discipline or faculty-specific referencing conventions. Check with your supervisor about which referencing style you are expected to use.

In-text citations

In-text citations offer the reader a link to the original author's work within the paragraph you are writing:

In-text numbered style: 'Nutrition during childhood and adolescence is essential for growth and development, health and well-being. [1,2] Further, eating behaviours established during childhood track into adulthood and contribute to long-term health and chronic disease risk. [3,4]' (from this article).

In-text APA style: 'These young people arrive with identifiable forms of cultural capital which have not been recognised in previous educational settings. Some have musical abilities, some are involved with Hip-hop culture (Morrell & Duncan-Andrade, 2002), or Goth culture (Hodkinson, 2002), some have computer gaming abilities; some are members of sub-cultural groups such as BMX, Skate and Surf cultures' (from this article).


The references at the end of a written work should list every source used to write that work in alphabetical order by author. You can see examples of bibliographies at the end of most academic books. QUT Study Smart has an excellent guide to how different sources are referenced.

Only references cited within the body of the text should appear in the reference list or bibliography. Omit any reference material that you might have read, but ended up not using in the final thesis. These may be listed separately as 'additional references'. Your bibliographic management software will ensure that only in-text citations appear in your bibliography.

Activity - establish a referencing style

  • Check with your supervisory team which referencing system you should use. For samples of in-text referencing and bibliographies in your faculty you may view theses from other students in QUT ePrints. Once you know which referencing style you will be using, make sure you record sufficient detail of each reference so that you avoid searching for them again.

QUT Library has books on referencing styles, such as:

You can also find books in the QUT Library Catalogue on the citation of electronic information resources.

At this stage you should consider which bibliographic management tool you will use to keep track of your references (see Module 7.2 Bibliographic management). A HDR thesis commonly has hundreds of references, so some time spent at the beginning can save you many hours towards the end of your degree.


Academic referencing ensures you acknowledge who influenced your academic work. In this section we have considered in text citations and references and academic honesty and the use of plagiarism software. In addition this module has identified key criteria for the critical evaluation of information resources.