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Guidelines on Avoiding Plagiarism for Degree Programmes


The term plagiarism is defined as the use of all or part of the opinions, concepts, arguments, rewriting and copying the content of others’ works (including text, image, computer programme, music, design, etc.), either intentionally or unintentionally, as one’s own without the original author’s consent or without proper citation. Plagiarism is considered as an academic disciplinary offense at the Macao Polytechnic University (hereinafter referred to as ‘the University’).

The University is committed to defending the academic credibility and promoting a culture of academic integrity. These guidelines provide students and staff with general guidance on avoiding plagiarism, inform the assessment of students’ work in terms of plagiarism detection, and define how suspected cases will be handled.


Plan the work: Students can work out a schedule once being notified with the assignment, essay, thesis or other types of coursework to avoid procrastination. Planning in advance will allow students to have enough time for conducting research, seeking help from the instructors or librarians whenever necessary, and completing the assigned work with proper citations and referencing.

Quote appropriately: Students should enclose a short extract from another author’s work with quotation marks to indicate that it is a direct quote. If the extract is a paragraph, the quotation should be indented as a block of text with the omission of the quotation marks.

Avoid copying: Students may elaborate others’ opinions and their importance to their argument rather than simply copying from others’ work. Even if they are paraphrasing or summarising from other sources, students must also acknowledge and cite the sources to avoid constituting plagiarism.

Develop own writing style: Students can develop their own style of writing to demonstrate the uniqueness and originality of the assigned work. This can be achieved through different means such as deliberate choices of structure and wordings, a clear and concise writing approach, and shaping of ideas with their original thoughts.

Use a range of sources: Discuss ideas from a wide range of sources in the assigned work will demonstrate students’ ability to formulate their own views based on a variety of readings and their thorough research in a specific academic field. Students may find relevant sources, either in print or electronic format, in the form of books, papers, journals, newspapers, webpages, reports or others.

Keep quality notes: Always keeping a note of sources will assist students in collating their references and bibliographies much easier and prevent accidental plagiarism. Students may keep track of their references using a bibliographic management tool. Such tools available at the University library’s website include Mendeley, Zotero and RefWorks.

Cite properly: Students should cite sources that they use directly or indirectly in the assigned work scrupulously regardless of whether the sources are texts, tables or charts, graphics or illustrations. Students should apply the citation style that their instructors request for the assignment. Some commonly used citation styles include APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian and IEEE.

Scrutinise the work: A text-matching tool can assist students to check whether they have properly cited sources in the assigned work before they submit the work for grading. The University’s preferred text-matching tool is Turnitin. Other software may also be used in particular learning modules for specific purposes.

The similarity report generated by Turnitin provides students with reference so as to guide them to more appropriate citation and referencing. No matter how high or low the similarity index is, students should make use of the similarity report to check their work again and make adjustment where necessary. Nevertheless, Turnitin cannot detect any breaches of academic integrity, i.e. a plagiarised work may result in a very low similarity index. Students are advised to consult their instructors about the expectations and requirements of the assignment.


Educate students: Academic staff should educate students the importance of academic integrity by advising students of positive learning practices, raising their awareness of unintentional plagiarism and how to avoid it, as well as informing them the risk of being caught and penalised. Academic staff should also advise students the best practice of study skills, such as notetaking, effective academic writing, proper styles of citations and referencing, and the use of Turnitin or other text-matching software.

Inform explicit instructions: Academic staff should make clear to students both generic and subject-specific requirements and expectations for how students should use quotations, paraphrase/summarise content, cite sources, and construct bibliographies. Handouts pertaining to the required citation styles of various sources (e.g. books, journals, websites) can be distributed to students for easy reference.

Adopt e-submission: Academic staff are advised to require students submitting their work along with the Turnitin similarity report through the University’s learning management system CANVAS. Turnitin can be entirely accessible within CANVAS by creating a Turnitin-enabled assignment. Academic staff should conduct the assessment by providing constructive feedback to students on CANVAS in addition to other means of feedback.

Detect plagiarism: The primary responsibility for detecting plagiarism in the assessed work rests with the academic staff (module instructors), who must always apply their specialist knowledge and exercise academic judgement in deciding if plagiarism is constituted within their specific academic areas.


The Regulations for Handling Violations of Academic Integrity stipulate all subsequent procedures of dealing with any suspected plagiarism case and adjudicating a student’s penalties when s/he violates academic integrity. It also regulates how students can submit an appeal after being notified the penalty decision.


Updated on 20 September 2022

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