Specialist business skills for international students

Dear Jenny,

How are you? It's been a while since we wrote, so I thought I'd drop you a line so that we can keep in touch with each other.

Life has been pretty routine and busy since school started. There will soon be a lot of essay writings, and therefore referencing and avoiding plagiarism are essential. We need to be especially careful because we do not speak English as a first language, so it would be rather difficult for us to write perfectly. In this case we will sometimes depend on internet sources or books and may perhaps unintentionally copy some other people's work or ideas. When everyone else is copying different ideas and work from the internet or books, we might just do the same because we thought the professor did not care. We might have sometimes paraphrased the words of a text very closely as well (just altered a few words or phrases). This will also be considered as plagiarism if we do not cite the sources properly. Therefore we must have a clear idea of what 'plagiarism' really means, and have to reference properly in order to avoid being caught for plagiarism.

So what is plagiarism? According to a book written by Colin Neville ("The Complete Guide to Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism"), to "plagiarize" means to 'knowingly take and use another person's work and claim it, directly or indirectly, as your own'. Do you remember Anne who went to the same high school as us? I was talking to her the other day. She told me she was being caught on plagiarism and so she got 0 for her essay. She started her essay too late and didn't have enough time to prepare for the essay, so what she did was copying others' ideas and words from the internet without citing the sources. Her professor deemed that Anne intentionally copied other people's work and claimed as her own, so she was then caught when her professor used the same search engines to search for the key words. Do you notice we can actually buy essays online? This will be regarded as a serious offence so we shouldn't try to cheat, copy, or buy essays online. In order to avoid plagiarism, we can actually apply or quote other people's work by using quotation marks to distinguish between the original text and our own words, or by paraphrasing another person's work or ideas and give acknowledgement to that person. So citing the sources or showing a list of references is very important.

So, how can we reference properly? Everything that we have directly copied or quoted should be used with single quotation marks. The References should include all the sources that we have referred to in the assignment and should be appeared in alphabetical order, according to the author of the book. Any electronic sources (i.e. from the Internet), should be cited and referenced as well. We do not simply paste in a URL address to a list of references, we have to provide other supporting information as well, such as the title of item, the name of hosting organization and date the information was viewed, and remember to copy and paste the website addresses correctly! However, some websites will disappear unexpectedly, so it would be wise to print out copies of the sources so as to show a tutor/ professor, if required. I know it can be frustrating to take a full note, or any note at all, of any sources that we have used. It may be that we have read something, either from a book or from a site, thought 'that would be useful' and meant to take note of it, but did not! We then have to start searching for the source again, which I believe is very time-consuming. Therefore, we have to be cautious about taking notes and making a note of any sources we have used, to avoid plagiarism, which plagiarism will sometimes happen by accident!

Anyway, I've got an essay to be finished by tomorrow so I'll leave you now. Please write to me soon!

Your friend,



  • Angelil-Carter, Shelley (2002). Stolen Language? :plagiarism in writing. Longman.
  • CBC News (2002). Carleton Students Caught in Plagiarism Scandal. Available at http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2002/07/04/plagiarism020704.html [Accessed 01 Nov. 2008].
  • Indiana University, Bloomington (2004). Writing Tutorial Services. Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoide It. Available at http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml [Accessed 01 Nov. 2008].
  • Mantex. What is Plagiarism. Availabe at http://www.mantex.co.uk/samples/plgrsm.htm [Accessed 01 Nov. 2008].
  • Neville, Colin (2007). The Complete Guide to Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism, pg. 22-23, 28, 30-31 148. Open University Press.
  • Shaw, Mandy (2004). Nottingham Trent University. How to Reference - A Guide for Students. Available at http://www.internetjournalofcriminology.com/Shaw%20-%20Referencing%20Guide.pdf [Accessed 01 Nov. 2008].
  • University of Sussex (2007). Information Literacy Tutorial. Why Reference: Definitions. Available at http://www.sussex.ac.uk/library/infosuss/referencing/whyref1.shtml [Accessed 01 Nov. 2008].

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