Avoid Accidental Plagiarism at University - Cite Your Refs!

Every student feels the pressure around this time of year. Deadlines are quickly approaching, late nights become all the more frequent and, assignments begin to blur together. As priorities shift and sleep decreases, even the mundane tasks can seem daunting. However, in our current digital age, there are unique online tools to support students university experience at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. For example, RefME, an easy-to-use digital reference management tool is one of the many educational resources that can help students’ improve their research and referencing. 

Recently, RefME conducted a research survey among undergraduate students to understand their sentiments and concerns around plagiarism. The task of generating a reference list was a common challenge exposed in the survey. Referencing and in-text citations are critical elements within a university assignment and, giving credit where credit is due is all the more important in today’s internet age where information and sources are easily accessible through a single click. The findings further exposed that of the students surveyed, over 71% are fearful of facing disciplinary actions for plagiarism. The results speak for themselves - students need more support to accurately reference sources within their assignments. 

Furthermore, 78.4% of those surveyed agreed when asked if they were worried about referencing correctly. The fact that a large amount of students are worried comes into perspective when you consider that half of the students reported that they had lost marks for referencing incorrectly in their university assignments.

The results are interesting and increasingly relevant to student populations in the UK as the concerns raised provide all the more reason to look more closely at solutions such as RefME that can help students avoid cases of accidental plagiarism. Another interesting find is that almost half of students reported a lack of information provided about referencing. This suggest that if students were better informed about referencing or given appropriate tools, they would do better on their assignments and in the end, avoid plagiarism as their references would ultimately be more accurate. 


Diagram showing plagiarism fidningds

  Given end of year assignments are looming and dissertation writing is in full-swing, I hope you find digital tools as resources to support your writing and and give you the confidence when researching. 


Broaden your sources and avoid plagiarism - good luck to all students completing their final assignments!

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