Plagiarism – and how to avoid it

It was brilliant to see some of you at the workshop on plagiarism yesterday. Here are the slides on plagiarism: Plagiarism and good academic practice

The key things to note are:

  • Plagiarism includes intentionally stealing someone else’s work, or unintentionally copying it without acknowledgement by not following good referencing guidelines
  • Collusion (working with another student, or copying their work with or without their knowledge) is an academic offence
  • It is also an offence to pay someone to write all or part of your coursework
  • You can self-plagiarise – never submit all or part of the same assessment more than once
  • Plagiarism can be avoided by the correct use of OSCOLA. This includes:
    • Knowing when to use quote marks or OSCOLA quote formatting (see the guide to Using Microsoft Word – Referencing)
    • Knowing when to put a reference in your text
    • Keeping a full Bibliography

There is further detail on all of these issues in the slides. For a full example of the use of referencing and good academic practice, see the Essay Structure guide.

Keyboard Shortcuts: A Quick Guide

Function Mac PC
‘Find’ COMMAND Command-F Ctrl-F
‘Copy’ COMMAND Command-C Ctrl-C
‘Paste’ COMMAND Command-V Ctrl-V
‘Undo’ last action COMMAND Command-Z Ctrl-Z
‘Redo’ last action COMMAND Command-Y Ctrl-Y
‘Cut’ COMMAND Command-X Ctrl-X
‘Insert footnote’ COMMAND Command-Option-F Ctrl-Alt-F
‘Save’ COMMAND Command-S Ctrl-S
‘Screenshot’ COMMAND Command-Shift-3 Print screen

The aim of this post is to introduce keyboard shortcuts for both Mac users and PC users. There are lots of different keyboard shortcuts you could use, but these are the most useful for research and studying.

‘Find’

This is a useful shortcut, when you know what you are looking for. It must be stressed that the ‘find’ function does not replace your reading of legislation, a case, book or article. It helps if you have read the source beforehand and merely want to check whether you have the correct citation/reference point.

You’re not expected to memorise every single article of law everywhere! Part of research and academic writing is about knowing where to find relevant parts of the law.

For example, when reading a long treaty and you remember that there is a specific article you need, the ‘find’ shortcut is really useful. When reading the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969), and you remember that it has a definition for ‘reservations’ but cannot remember which article.

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-12-11-58

Then use the ‘find’ function. That means pressing ‘Command’ AND F simultaneously on a Mac, OR ‘Ctrl’ AND ‘F’ on a PC. Type in ‘reservations’ and the computer finds the phrase for you. If the first result is not what you needed, then press ‘Enter’ to find the next result.

It is also a useful way of checking your own work. I have a tendency to overuse the word ‘Therefore’ in my essays, so using the ‘find’ function is useful to check whether I’ve used it too many times in my work or even twice in one sentence!

 

‘Copy and paste’

I do NOT recommend using the copy and paste when using other people’s work. It is much better to summarise and bring in your own analysis. The ASC Team and staff at Bristol Law School will be running workshops on ‘Good Academic Practice’ and ‘Plagiarism’ but as a general caveat, do NOT copy and paste chunks of text.

The only time I use this is when editing my work. Having written my essay, I often want to check whether my introduction matches my essay structure, as it often needs honing and refining. To do so, I like having an an additional Word document open simultaneously. This document has only my introduction in, which is not only my own work but will be later incorporated into my essay. This is the only time I use ‘copy’ and ‘paste’.

 

‘Undo’ and ‘redo’

If you’ve made a mistake or accidentally ‘undid’ something you wanted to keep, these functions are quite useful. This is less of a problem with Word documents, but when it comes to designing posters with Powerpoint.  For example, when you’ve moved text or a picture somewhere but can’t remember where you had it last but preferred it that way, then these functions can be really helpful!

 

‘Footnotes’

Remember our helpful blog post on footnotes and referencing? As a law student, you will need to familiarise yourself with OSCOLA format, which uses footnotes. One way to insert a footnote is with this shortcut.

If you’re still lost, it’s a good time to refresh your memory as it is quite tricky to get used to.

The blog posts can be found here:

https://uweascllmsupport.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/using-microsoft-word-referencing/

and here: https://uweascllmsupport.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/cross-referencing/

 

‘Save’

Remember to regularly save your work. You’ll be very frustrated if you lose all your hard work!

 

‘Screen shots’

This is just a useful function to share a picture of your screen with friends or colleagues. If you’re trying to explain something and they don’t quite understand, sometimes a picture can help. This may be something you might want to use if planning group presentations and someone is stuck…

 

For further information regarding keyboard shortcuts

For PCS, see: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Keyboard-shortcuts-for-Microsoft-Word-2016-for-Windows-95ef89dd-7142-4b50-afb2-f762f663ceb2?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

For Macs, see: https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/Word-keyboard-shortcuts-c0ca851f-3d58-4ce0-9867-799df73666a7

 

 

Using Microsoft Word – Referencing

This is a basic guide to useful Microsoft Word features when using OSCOLA referencing, the referencing system used for the UWE LLM course. It is intended to be a basic introduction, with helpful tips and links. It is strongly recommended that you become familiar with OSCOLA as early in the course as possible, as this will save you many hours of frustration when trying to reference.

  • OSCOLA Referencing

The first thing to know is that there is no automatic way of inserting OSCOLA referencing. Instead, each time you wish to cite a source, you must put a footnote after the point you wish to make.[1] To do this, simply click on the ‘References’ tab on the top bar, then click ‘Insert Footnote’:

msref1

You can then type in any information which you wish to include. In terms of OSCOLA referencing, the best way of finding out how to reference particular sources is to refer directly to the OSCOLA guides. The full guide can be found here.

If you haven’t used OSCOLA before, it is best to familiarise yourself with it by using the full guide to begin with. There are a number of nuances, such as where commas go or if a comma is used, that you will need to be familiar with. If you know OSCOLA fairly well and simply need to refresh your memory for a particular source, there is a quick guide here.

Under the OSCOLA referencing system, the format of a reference is different in the Bibliography from footnotes, therefore make sure you have double-checked your references are correct for both styles. For example, a source in the Bibliography begins [Surname] [Initial] for the author, whereas in a footnote the author is listed as [Full first name] [Surname]:

Elizabeth Fisher, Risk Regulation and Administrative Constitutionalism (Hart Publishing 2007) – footnote                                                                

Fisher E, Risk Regulation and Administrative Constitutionalism (Hart Publishing 2007) – Bibliography [2]

Bibliographies take a specific format, that is a table of cases, a table of legislation, then the bibliography. UWE’s example OSCOLA bibliography can be found here. (This is a PDF download, you will find it in your downloads folder after clicking the link)

As with footnotes, there is no automatic way to build a Bibliography in Word. Instead, best practice is to keep a full list of all sources you have used during your research, either in a separate document or at the end of your work, to include as a Bibliography after the main text of your assignment.

  • Formatting

Under the OSCOLA referencing system, quotes have to be formatted in a particular manner. If the quote is less than three lines long, ‘[i]ncorporate quotations of up to three lines into the text, within single quotation marks’.[3] Where a quotation is longer than three lines, it must be presented as fully indented:

Present quotations longer than three lines in an indented paragraph, with no further indentation of the first line (examples 3 and 4). Do not use quotation marks, except for single quotation marks around quotations within quotations (example 3). Leave a line space either side of the indented quotation.[4]

The easiest way of ensuring consistency of formatting throughout a document is to create a new “style”. To do this, go to the ‘Home’ tab and under ‘Styles’ sub-tab select the drop down arrow and ‘Create a style’:

msref2msref3

This will bring up a text box. Select ‘Modify’:

msref4

This will then bring up a number of options for creating your own style of text formats. Firstly, choose a name you will remember, eg ‘OSCOLA quotes’. Under ‘Formatting’, you will then see that there is an option ‘Format’ which brings up a drop down menu:

msref5

Select ‘Paragraph’ and under ‘Indentations’ change this to the margins you wish to use for your OSCOLA quotes:

msref6msref7

Select ‘New documents based on this template’ and then click ‘OK’:

msref8

  • Contents and Indexing

The other feature which you may find it useful to know, particularly for longer pieces of research, is how to create an index or contents page. Word does have tools which will allow you to do both automatically. Huge detail won’t be provided here as these are unlikely to be useful to you at LLM level, but you should be aware of these for future academic work.

To create an index, go to ‘References’ then ‘Insert Index’:

msref9

For a full guide on how to use this feature, you can use the Microsoft support page.

Under ‘References’ you will also find ‘Table of Contents’:

msref10

Again, there is a Microsoft support page where you will find full details of how to use this feature.

You will quickly find, as you begin to research and use references, the most common features that you need to use in Word. There are full guides available online for all of Word’s features, so it is always worth Googling if you have a problem, but it is also worth familiarising yourself with this before the pressures of coursework begin.

[1] Like this!

[2] Example taken from the full OSCOLA guide

[3] Full OSCOLA guide, 8

[4] Full OSCOLA guide, 8