What is plagiarism?

The University has defined plagiarism as:

... the act of misrepresenting as one's own original work the ideas, interpretations, words or creative works of another. These include published and unpublished documents, designs, music, sounds, images, photographs, computer codes and ideas gained through working in a group. These ideas, interpretations, words or works may be found in print and/or electronic media.

Also, see Collusion:

... when two or more students, or a student and any other person(s), act together to cheat, plagiarise or engage in other academic misconduct, or incite others to do so.

For the official University policy regarding academic integrity and plagiarism see Policy 3.60.04  Student Integrity and Misconduct in the UQ Policy and Procedures Library (PPL).

While the University has a defined official policy on plagiarism, many Faculties, Schools and University Services also seek to help students with extra information on plagiarism and how to avoid it. For Faculty/School information see individual Faculty/School web pages.

Avoiding plagiarism

How can you avoid plagiarism?

To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit whenever you:

  • paraphrase or directly quote from someone's actual spoken or written words.
  • use another person's ideas, opinions, or theories in an assignment or essay.
  • make use of pieces of information, such as statistics, graphs, drawings, that are not common knowledge.

You can avoid unintentional plagiarism by:

  • using quotation marks around everything that comes directly from a text or article.
  • summarising ideas and arguments in your own words - don't just change or rearrange a few random words.
  • correct paraphrasing and acknowledging of original ideas.
  • checking your summary against the original text.
  • correctly referencing all sources used.

Avoid collusion by:

  • working on separate, unshared documents if you're studying with classmates.
  • writing and proofreading your own work instead of asking classmates to read it.
  • seeking assignment help from tutors and lecturers instead of classmates.
  • never lending you work to another student.

Academic Integrity Tutorial


Plagiarism is taken very seriously at UQ and it is important that all students understand what is expected of them.  To provide consistent information about academic integrity to all students, the University has developed an Academic Integrity Tutorial to instruct students in referencing and avoiding plagiarism.

You can access this tutorial at any time through MyAdvisor - you will also receive an email with the link when you begin your program at UQ. It is compulsory to log on and complete the tutorial during your first semester, but you are welcome to revisit at any time.


iThenticate is a plagiarism detection tool available only to UQ staff and Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students, used to ensure the originality of written work before publication.


What is Referencing?

  • acknowledgement of the books, articles etc from which you obtained material for your assignment.
  • include an acknowledgement for all ideas, theories and word-for-word quotations.
  • acknowledge all illustrations, tables and diagrams that aren't your own design.
  • to acknowledge, place a citation in your assignment and include the resource in a reference list.

What is a Citation?

  • a short reference after a sentence showing which resource you obtained the idea from.
  • indirect citation: uses ideas and concepts from the source and reformed them in your own words.
  • direct citation: quotes that source's exact words (in quotation marks).
  • also required when reproducing a table, diagram or image from another work.

What is a Reference List?

  • list of all the resources you refer to in your assignment.
  • all of the information about a source is assembled and formatted in a specific style.
  • Reference list, works cited list or bibliography? All mean the same thing.

Referencing styles

What's a referencing style?

  • set of rules and templates dictating how citations and reference lists should look.
  • tells you how resources should be acknowledged in the reference list and citations.
  • there are many different referencing styles.

Which one do I use?

  • your School may have specific guidelines about which style to use. Check the School web page, assignment guide or study handbook. If in doubt, check with your tutor or lecturer. 
  • if no specific style is required, you can choose one, but you must be consistent in its use. 
  • find the style guide on the library's Referencing Style Guides page, or on your School web page.

Referencing Software

  • software is available to help you create citations and reference lists in specific styles. Our Referencing software page provides information about referencing software programs.
  • references you generate through a software program should always be checked for accuracy.

Referencing checklist

Referencing checklist1

  • Have you made it as easy as possible for the reader to locate your source?
  • Have you supplied all the necessary details?
  • Is your referencing  consistent and accurate?
  • Does the referencing style you are using conform to the standards of your discipline?
  • Have you acknowledged all  words and  ideas that you have drawn on?
  • Have you compiled a bibliography or list of references?
  • Does every in-text citation correspond to a specific reference in the bibliography/list of references?

1: Checklist reproduced with permission from Monash University, 2007, Referencing Checklist

Get help

There are many resources available to help you avoid plagiarism and reference correctly:

  • Use an online tool to help you: take a look at the Referencing Tool made by Griffith University2, which lets you customise your resource type to provide the right template to put your reference together.
  • Use the Referencing style guides available from the Library if your school does not provide a guide. Remember, if you are unclear about which style to use, check with your tutor or lecturer.
  • Take a look at our Referencing software page to see which software is available and work out if there is a referencing program which suits your needs and requirements.
  • Student Services offers a range of workshops on academic writing, including one on Referencing Correctly and Avoiding Plagiarism; attend one of these workshops for more tips and tricks.
  • Use our AskUs service, or contact your librarian.
  • Make sure you complete the compulsory Academic Integrity Tutorial - you are able to access it again if you completed it previously and refresh your memory.

2: Referencing tool linked with permission from Griffith University, n.d., Referencing Tool