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Conclusions and Reflection Room

Once you have completed your field work and data collection, you will have to draw conclusions from what you have found, reflect on what those conclusions mean and finish writing your dissertation or thesis. The constellations accessible from this room will help you to both form conclusions from your findings and to explain them, as well as covering topics such as effective writing and presentation, defending your thesis in viva voce examinations, and thinking about what you might want to do after you have finished your research.

Conclusions and reflection > Plagiarism and IPR
Hubble Space telescope through the Shuttle window - example of a copyright-free image from NASA

Conclusions and reflection

Plagiarism and IPR


Plagiarism is defined as

'The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own' (Oxford English Dictionary 2007).

Plagiarism has increasingly been in the news recently, as a result of the easy access to large quantities of information on the internet. There is significant concern that rates of plagiarism in academic work are rising. But, it is important to remember that, if sources are easy for students to find on the internet, they are equally easy for tutors to find, particularly with the latest electronic plagiarism detection software used in most universities. Of course, plagiarism is not limited to written work and also includes copying such things as images, paintings, musical compositions and ideas.

In the course of your research, you will obviously wish to refer to the work of others, whatever its format, perhaps in a report, dissertation, thesis or presentation. Whilst citing other works is to be encouraged, it is imperative in all cases to correctly acknowledge the appropriate author, composer or designer etc, to avoid plagiarising their work. If the author is unknown then appropriate acknowledgement must still be made. Plagiarism is a serious breach of university conduct rules and is also an assessment offence.

Plagiarism is a form of cheating. But, it is surprisingly easy to plagiarise unintentionally. For example, forgetting to cite the reference of some paraphrased text is plagiarism, even if it were accidental. Plagiarism is completely unacceptable whatever the reason for its occurrence. In addition to guarding against plagiarising someone else's work, research students may also be required to teach undergraduate workshops or mark assessments etc. In these circumstances, there is a need to be able to spot possible cases of plagiarism and to draw these to the attention of your supervisor or the module/programme leader. The learning materials here are intended only to introduce the concept of plagiarism and what can constitute it; they are by no means exhaustive. More detailed guidance on plagiarism can be found on the UWE library information skills website and we would encourage you to consult these pages.

The learning materials here also introduce ways in which information may be protected, such as intellectual property rights (IPR) and data protection. These learning materials are not intended to be a legal guide, but are only intended to introduce issues that may affect you as a researcher as a "heads up", and give links to sources of guidance if you need to undertake further investigation on plagiarism or IPR. Please note that these materials do not in any way reflect or purport to imply UWE official policy on plagiarism or IPR. They are for general information only. You should check with your faculty administration or course tutors for specific guidance on plagiarism and IPR at UWE.

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1. What constitutes plagiarism?2. The scope of plagiarism
3. How not to plagiarise
4. Freedom of information and data protection5. Intellectual property rights
6. Copyright
7. Moral rights
8. Designs, patents and trademarks9. Summary of plagiarism and IPR

Authors: Dr Olivia Billingham and Dr Liz Falconer, University of the West of England, Bristol.

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