Effective May 2005. Last revised Oct 2022.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic Plagiarism Policy
The Polytechnic regards all forms of academic dishonesty with equal seriousness. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to:
- cheating in examinations, common tests, class tests, on-line quizzes, etc
- plagiarism, which means submitting the work of others as your own (or allowing someone else to copy and submit your work as their own)
- forging someone else’s signature for attendance (or asking someone to forge your signature, or tapping your friend’s student card at the lecture theatre, etc).
1. Plagiarism Definition
Plagiarism occurs if you copy any part of a source and then submit it, claiming that it is your own work. Such items could include:
- text (essay, project, reflections)
- image (including photograph & drawing)
- oral presentation
- computer program
- sound recording
The original sources could include books, journal articles, a classmate’s assignment or project, textbooks, the Internet, CDs, CD-ROMs, DVDs, magazines, newspapers, radio, charts, graphs, lyrics, lines of a poem, illustrations, graphics, collection of audio samples, software, etc.
All work that you submit must be your own. You cannot gain credit from the hard work of others. When you submit any assignment at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, you are claiming that the work is entirely your own (except where you have properly quoted or paraphrased from other sources and given proper recognition to the sources).
2. Acceptable Practice
Of course, we want you to read extensively to learn more about a topic before writing your assignments. You may do the following:
- Quote from a book, journal, website, friend, lecturer’s notes, etc, by clearly placing the quote in quotation marks and properly referencing the quote at the end of the assignment. As a general rule, limit your use of quotations to 15% of the total word count.
- Paraphrase or summarise a section from someone else’s writings, by stating next to the paraphrase where the content or idea came from and then properly referencing the source in the reference list.
- Include an image from a website, CD, scanned from a book, journal to illustrate your essay, project, PPT slides etc and then properly reference the source of the image in the body of your work and in the reference list at the end.
- Discuss an assignment or project (where the assignment is meant to be done individually) with your classmates and then do your own work to produce your own individual assignment.
- Discuss group assignments or projects with your group mates and ensure that work submitted for the group is original and appropriately referenced.
3. Referencing Style
The recommended referencing style to be used across the Polytechnic is APA (American Psychological Association) style. Explanatory examples can be found at APA style.
Some schools in the Polytechnic may require a different referencing style and you will be informed accordingly. For example, in the school of LSCT, the preferred referencing style is Harvard.
Proper citation is important since it:
- Demonstrates your honesty in academic matters,
- Means the points that you are making in your assignment are stronger,
- Improves your self-respect,
- Allows the reader to locate and further explore the sources that were used in the preparation of the assignment.
Turnitin is an on-line database that can detect similarities in student submissions. It will help to detect:
- dishonestly copied materials from another source
- properly recognized and referenced quotes from another source
4.1 Similarity Reports
Turnitin provides a Similarity Report indicating the proportion of an assignment that has been copied from other sources. It is up to a (human) tutor to determine if plagiarism has actually occurred, by determining if the copied passages were properly referenced in the body of the assignment and in the reference list at the end.
4.2 What Percentage of Copying is Plagiarism?
Many students and staff are concerned that Turnitin will indicate trivial cases (just a few words being identical to another source, which is quite possible by chance) and imply that it is plagiarism. However, experience shows that Turnitin will only flag cases where there is reasonable doubt that a particular passage is authentic.
While it is up to the professional judgement of the tutor to decide if plagiarism has occurred, a general rule of thumb for text-based assignments is that if you copy, without appropriate referencing, one or more complete phrases or sentences from an existing work, plagiarism has occurred.
For specific examples, see: Examples
In the case of media-based assignments, unreferenced copying of any or all of an existing work will be considered as plagiarism.
When you submit your assignment through Turnitin, you will be agreeing that the assignment that you are about to submit will be checked for plagiarism by Turnitin. By submitting, you are claiming that all of the work is your own and that any sources you have used are properly referenced.
In the case of hardcopy or non-text submissions, you will need to sign a plagiarism detection statement for that assignment.
5. Discipline Procedure
- The following procedure applies across all modules that the student is studying.
- If two or more students are involved in plagiarism, the penalty will apply to all students involved, regardless of who was the originator and who did the copying. Security of assignments is the students’ responsibility until the assignment is submitted. That is, theft of an assignment, or parts of an assignment, will not be considered as excuses for plagiarism.
- In the case of group projects, the student responsible for the plagiarised portion will face the penalty. Where it is not clear who is responsible for the plagiarism, all group members will face the penalty. The group leader should ensure that no part of the submission has been plagiarised.
- In some circumstances, students may face the plagiarism penalty even if they have copied their own work. For example, a student uses whole or part of his work that is to be graded or already graded for one module, in his submission for another module. This is what is commonly known as self-plagiarism, which refers to reusing or recycling previously published or graded work of the author, without referencing. Whilst it might seem like the student is building on his work, he should always check with the module lecturers if this is permissible, even with referencing.
If it is determined that plagiarism has occurred, the following penalties will apply.
First Instance of Committing Plagiarism
The tutor will interview the student involved in the instance of plagiarism. If the tutor is not satisfied with the student’s explanation, and determines that plagiarism has occurred, the student will receive zero mark for the assignment. No resubmission of the assignment will be allowed.
Second Instance of Committing Plagiarism
The case will be referred to the School (or Division) Disciplinary Committee, which will consider the case and may interview the student(s) involved. If it is a proven second case, the student will receive zero marks for that module.
Third Instance of Committing Plagiarism
The case will be referred to the NP Disciplinary Committee for its deliberation. This may result in dismissal from the Polytechnic.
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