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What is plagiarism?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines plagiarism as "the wrongful appropriation or purloining, and publication as one's own, of the ideas, or the expression of the ideas [...] of another."

Source: Simpson, J. and Weiner, E. (eds). (1989), The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

What that means for you as a student at Bradford is:

Plagiarism is cheating in your academic assignments by using other people's work without telling us that you are doing it, so that it looks as if you are the one who created the work. If you learn anything from a resource you read, you must show where you found it out from, even if you are not using exactly the same words as they wrote. You must be careful to give people credit for anything that they produce, for example:

  • Facts they discovered.
  • Ideas they discussed.
  • Photographs they took.
  • Computer code they wrote.
  • Designs or diagrams they drew.
  • Models they built.

You must always give credit to people who create, among others:

  • Books.
  • Websites.
  • Newspaper articles.
  • Television programmes.
  • Journal articles.

If you are using a website (or some other source) where no person is named as having written it, you must still acknowledge that you found the information on a website. Always make it clear to the person marking your assignment whether you are referring to your own work or that of someone else.

When you acknowledge the sources of your information, you will not just stay out of trouble. You will also gain marks by:

  • Showing that you have put in the time and effort to find and read relevant resources.
  • Providing evidence to support your arguments.
  • Enabling your tutors to check the accuracy and dependability of your sources.

It also makes it possible for other people to follow up your area of research.

What is not plagiarism?

You can use other people's work for your course as long as you make it clear that you did not create it. As Isaac Newton wrote in a letter to Robert Hooke (5 Feb 1657) "If I have seen further, it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants".

Academic Integrity Induction

All new students at the University of Bradford should take the Academic Integrity Induction, which can be found in Canvas. All students are automatically enrolled on this course. If you are a member of staff who would like to be enrolled, please email library staff on

University of Bradford policies on plagiarism

These web pages cover the University of Bradford’s position on plagiarism.

In your previous work, you may have been held to very similar standards to ours, or very different ones. It is vital that all your assignments submitted for University of Bradford courses follow our regulations, which are based on the standards for academic writing in the UK Higher Education community.  Any set of rules has its own underlying logic and follows from a particular way of thinking about how the world should work. The University of Bradford’s standards about plagiarism are based on the consensus of the UK Higher Education community about how to use work that other people created.  You may be used to standards that are based on a different understanding of how to use things that you read, but your work for University assignments needs to follow our rules.

For more information on the University of Bradford policies on plagiarism, see these pages on Breaches of Assessment Regulations