Imitation may not be the highest form of flattery at University: Plagi(argh)rism

Remember when in year nine your Insta was so on point? You were the first to post an artsy photo of The Hunger Games movie tix, the first to rock sepia-toned photos of St Kilda beach because nature and beauty and the first to post a three-part photo series showing people’s hands on their laps riding on public transport?

So deep.

And then what’s-their-name in your year started to copy everything you posted…even the retrospective of hands on public transport. Such a copycat. You felt angry that someone was stealing your brilliance and originality. How dare they. And some stupid adult said something about imitation being the highest form of flattery. Stupid adults with clichéd words of advice.

Well, to labour the point ad nauseam, the same does not apply in academia.

In these hallowed halls of knowledge, if you intentionally or unintentionally copy another student’s work, or stuff off the interwebs or from some know-it-all expert bloke or lady in a journal article or book, you will very probably be found out by either Turnitin or the actual tutor correcting your work. The University takes this as seriously as you did you Insta back then.

So, in this crazy world of footnotes and acknowledging your sources, what to do? Well, first off, familiarise yourself with the rules. Second, make sure you reference the crap out of everything in text via footnotes or endnotes AND in your reference list/bibliography at the end. Don’t know where to begin? Ask a friendly librarian what referencing style is used in your faculty.  Thirdly, if you do get into trouble, seek help from the Advocacy Service. Pronto.

This post was brought to you by the UMSU Advocacy Service.

They have a combined educational experience of approximately 500 years. Their collective HECS debt is zero per cent of your business. They call themselves ‘the justice league of UMSU’ (they have a poster on their wall to prove it). They are: the most interesting advocates in the world*.

*They are very likely not the most interesting advocates in the world.