Types of plagiarism – Concealing sources

This is often an unintentional act of plagiarism. You will by now understand the importance of acknowledging the work of other people in your own work. If you use ideas from a person’s work several times in the same piece of your own work, and do not include acknowledgement each time, this could lead to an accusation of plagiarism. You have ‘concealed’ the source you used through a lack of acknowledgement.

You should be sensible when you include acknowledgements. If you are writing a paragraph about ideas or data from one person’s work, you only need include one acknowledgement in that paragraph. But, if in another paragraph you use ideas from that same piece of work, you should include another acknowledgement.

Read academic writing to find out how other writers talk about people’s work. This should help you to identify at which points in your own work you should include acknowledgments and when it is not necessary.

An example of what we mean. Read the following paragraph:

When writing for any purpose, there are a number of conventions that need to be learnt and applied. As Peck and Coyle (2005) discuss ‘clever students’ (p.4) will understand these conventions, but others will not know about or use the conventions. This lack of understanding will be reflected in all areas of their written work. However as Carroll (2002) acknowledges, it can be difficult for academic staff to find the time to teach the skills needed to understand these conventions, and makes the point that students need to ‘practise [academic writing] and receive feedback’ (p.51) for learning to be effective. For example there are some simple principles of basic writing such as ‘write in the active voice’ and ‘use a sensible tone’ that good writers know and apply to their work (Peck and Coyle, 2005: p.104).

What do you notice about the citations and where they are placed?

You should see that there are two citations to the same piece of work. This is important because the author has used the work of Peck and Coyle, but then also the work of another person, Carroll. At the end of the paragraph the author returns to the work of Peck and Coyle.

Sources:

Carroll, J. (2002) A handbook for deterring plagiarism in higher education. Oxford, Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development.

Peck, J. and Coyle, M. (2005) Write it right: a handbook for students. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

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