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Plagiarism is a serious academic offence that can have serious consequences for students. However, students often plagiarise accidentally due to unfamiliarity with LSE policies, proper citation structure, and so on. Maintaining academic integrity is important, so we’ve collected some tips to help you avoid accidental plagiarism in your work.

1. Understand what constitutes plagiarism

Before diving into your assignments, it's important to have a clear understanding of what is considered plagiarism. Plagiarism involves using someone else's words, ideas, or work without giving them proper credit. This includes direct quotes, paraphrased content, and even ideas that are not common knowledge.

2. Keep detailed notes

When conducting research, keep meticulous notes that include the source's title, author, publication date, and page number for direct quotes. This will make it easier to cite accurately later and help you avoid accidentally misattributing work or forgetting to include a citation.

3. Cite your sources properly

Familiarise yourself with the specific citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago) recommended by your department or instructor. Sometimes you will be asked to use a specific style of citation, other times you may be able to choose. Either way, ensure you cite all sources, including books, articles, websites, and any other materials you refer to in your work

4. Practice effect paraphrasing 

Paraphrasing is a skill like anything else. When paraphrasing someone else's work, ensure you maintain the original meaning while using your own words. Be cautious not to merely replace a few words with synonyms, as this can still be considered plagiarism. Consider checking out LSE Life’s resources on referencing and citations, or book a one-on-one appointment with an LSE Life advisor to practice your paraphrasing skills. 

Bonus Tip: LSE Life is putting on a workshop on November 8, 2023 to help students learn how to successfully paraphrase!

5. Clearly distinguish your ideas from source material 

When incorporating research into your work, make it clear where your ideas end and the source material begins. Use quotation marks for direct quotes and paraphrase appropriately. Provide citations for every piece of information that is not common knowledge or is not your own words/idea.

6. Check for plagiarism

Take advantage of plagiarism checking tools available to LSE students. LSE has a Practice Turnitin link (found on Moodle) that students may be able to use for formative and/or summative work prior to submission. Always review the results and make necessary revisions before submitting your assignment.

NOTE: different departments have different policies on the use of the Practice Turnitin link, please check with your Department before using this tool.

7. Plan your time wisely

Procrastination can increase the likelihood of accidental plagiarism. Start your assignments early to allow sufficient time for research, writing, and proper citation. This reduces the temptation to rush through the process and potentially overlook instances or accidental plagiarism or improper referencing.

8. Get help!

If you're uncertain about how to properly cite a source or have questions about avoiding plagiarism, don't hesitate to seek guidance from your instructors, the LSE library staff or LSE Life. They are there to support you in maintaining academic integrity.


Blog written by Hannah Thomsen.

Hannah works as an Advice Assistant in the LSESU Advice Team.



The LSESU Advice Team is based on the 3rd floor of the Saw Swee Hock Building and we provide free, independent and confidential advice to all LSE students on academic and housing matters. We also administer the Hardship Fund, the Childcare Fund, and the Graduation Support Funds.

Our service is currently operating using a hybrid working pattern. We are still open and can be accessed by emailing You can also book a telephone or Zoom appointment with an adviser by sending us an email.