skip to primary navigationskip to content
 

Advice on plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined by the University as submitting as one's own work, irrespective of intent to deceive, that which derives in part or in its entirety from the work of others without due acknowledgement.  It is both poor scholarship and a breach of academic integrity.

You are obliged to have read and understood the University’s policy on plagiarism which is given at http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/plagiarism/students/statement.html.  Here you will find the University’s guidelines on plagiarism, how to avoid it, what will happen if plagiarism is suspected, and what will happen if plagiarism has occurred.

If you present as your own ideas those which are in fact drawn from the work of others, you run the risk of being penalised by the examiners, as well as being disciplined by the University.  The Faculty is aware that some students are initially unclear as to what constitutes fair and unfair use of the work of other: here follows some guidance on the subject.  Students from other academic traditions should be aware that there may be differences in the approach to academic writing with which they are familiar, and those expected in Cambridge, where you are expected to be explicit when acknowledging all sources whether paraphrased or quoted.

The problem of plagiarism relates to all types of written work, including essays written for term-time supervisions.  In fact, it is through writing of supervision essays that most undergraduates quickly come to appreciate the extent to which earlier work in a particular field should be explicitly acknowledged.  Supervisors will routinely advise their pupils whether they are giving adequate recognition to the ideas formulated by other scholars which are being reported in their essays.  On common sense grounds, it is clearly safer to be over-scrupulous in attributing other writers’ ideas than to be too sparing in making acknowledgements.  The experience of attending lectures and reading academic books and articles will also help to demonstrate in detail how established scholars acknowledge the contribution of their predecessors in the field.

The possibility of plagiarism (taking the ideas or writing of another person and using them as one’s own) should be borne in mind particularly when writing an essay which will form part of Tripos or MPhil assessment, and when writing Tripos, MPhil or PhD dissertations.  You will be expected to have a solid grasp of existing publications relevant to the topic, but the work that you submit must be your own, except where the contributions of others are acknowledged.  Consequently it is essential when you are working on, and writing up, your thesis to be extremely careful to distinguish your own ideas from those of others, and to show by means of footnote references (and quotation marks, when you are using an author’s own words) occasions when you are alluding to someone else’s work.  In any case, you should be aiming to ‘make the argument your own’ by using your own words and providing your own judgements on the other authors’ views, rather than following closely someone else’s argument and examples.  Likewise, when referring to ancient authors or documents, you should add references in the footnotes, so the reader can find the passage in question: you are required by the Regulations to ‘give full references to sources’.  If you use a printed English translation, you should also acknowledge its source (eg Loeb translation).

If you have concerns about any of these issues, you should consult your supervisor at an early stage. Undergraduates can also consult their Directors of Studies, or the Academic Secretary (Undergraduate).  Graduates can also consult the Academic Secretary (Graduate). 

RSS Feed Latest news

Unveiling the Invisible: Analysing Roman pottery

Feb 25, 2021

Archaeologists Alessandro Launaro, Senior Lecturer, and Ninetta Leone, Research Associate, have been working as members of the Cambridge MACH group to develop mathematical approaches to the classification of Roman pottery, part of the “Unveiling the Invisible” project funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

The Faculty reports with great sadness the death of John Easterling

Feb 23, 2021

A Fellow of Trinity from 1958, and Secretary of Trinity College Council for very many years, John was a University Assistant Lecturer in Classics (Ancient Philosophy) before he was appointed to the Office of University Draftsman at the Old Schools. John died on 23 February after a long illness.

Facilitating school visits and learning Latin with MoCA

Feb 23, 2021

Justyna Ladosz, Education and Outreach Coordinator in the Museum of Classical Archaeology, explains how she continues to facilitate lessons for school groups whilst the Museum remains closed, and how the Faculty’s students continue to deliver the Learn Latin with MoCA project.

Rebecca Flemming has been appointed a Joukowsky Lecturer

Feb 23, 2021

Dr Rebecca Flemming, Senior Lecturer in Ancient History and Fellow of Jesus College, has been appointed as a Joukowsky Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) for 2020-21. Rebecca also recently featured on BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time discussing the Justinianic Plague.

View all news