Plagiarism – what is it and how do we avoid it?

The practice of plagiarism can result in consequences and implications which can risk your qualification, as well as your reputation in relation to honesty and integrity. Plagiarism is taken very seriously in the education sector and it is important that you learn how to avoid it by correct paraphrasing, quotations, citations and referencing.

To find out more on plagiarism and how to avoid it, you can watch the following videos.

Scribbr (2019) suggests using synonyms as one of their 4 tips for paraphrasing, but what is a synonym?

BBC Bitesize (2020) explains that Synonyms are words with the same or similar meaning”

For example:

  • Happy, cheerful, contented, elated, glad
  • Sad, bitter, dismal, mournful, sorry

To find out more on paraphrasing, you can watch the following video:

What tools can I use to paraphrase correctly?

  • Using a Dictionary and Thesaurus is an excellent way for helping you to understand the meaning of words and find appropriate synonyms for paraphrasing.
  • There are many reliable, trustworthy, and free dictionary and thesaurus apps and websites which you can use. You can also buy dictionaries and thesauruses for a relatively low price in bookshops and online if you prefer to have a hard copy.
  • Some learners also include features which help you to develop your vocabulary, pronunciations, spelling and translations, for example the app and website.
  • Microsoft office also have tools built into programs such as Word to facilitate this.
  • Remember though, it is important to make sure the dictionary, thesaurus or spell check platforms you are using are for the English UK language and not English US, as there are many differences between UK and US grammar and spelling.


What is citation and referencing?

At level 2 and 3, we would expect learners to be making a conscious effort to acknowledge any text that has been paraphrased or quoted with citations.

Above level 3, we would also expect learners to try to include a reference list, which is also known as a ‘Bibliography’.

Although there are different methods of referencing text, the most commonly used is the Harvard Referencing System. Use the link below to watch a video and learn more about this method of referencing.

How do Access Skills check for plagiarism?

  • Plagiarism is discussed at Induction for every learner and for all learners who have not completed referencing previously they are sent the webinar on how to reference
  • All assignments are run through a Plagiarism checker, if there is any plagiarism, this will be flagged and the assignment will be sent back to the learner for review
  • Assignments may be sent to the Assessor to assess the evidence and use their judgment in some circumstances


If you have any further questions on referencing and plagiarism, do not hesitate to call our Learner Support team on 0121 510 2169 (option 2).


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