Monthly Lecture of English Writing Teaching and Research Center: Plagiarism and Referencing in Academic Writing


At the invitation of the English Writing Teaching and Research Center, Zhejiang University, Caitriana Nicholson from the Language Center of International Campus, Zhejiang University gave a lecture entitled “Plagiarism and Referencing in Academic English” online on April 26th, 2022. Caitriana Nicholson got his doctoral degree from Experimental Particle Physics at University of Glasgow, the UK and used to be editor-in-chief of Chinese Physics C. Besides, he has rich experience in teaching. This lecture was hosted by Hao Xiangjian, a doctoral candidate from the School of International Studies, Zhejiang University.

Ms. Nicholson began the lecture with the statement that citation is inevitable, for the current academic research is to some extent dependent on the previous studies. However, by explaining its definition, she pointed out that plagiarism consists in excessive copying of other’s work or copying important outcomes by others. She also mentioned different types of plagiarism and their serious consequences. Ms. Nicholson then focused on ways to avoid plagiarism, e.g. by means of correct quoting, paraphrasing, citation, and referencing. She believed that those methods should be combined to the best effect. In her view, the most complex method is paraphrasing, of which she gave examples to exhibit how to use synonyms for substitution, how to employ a proper order of information, how to change parts of speech, and how to adjust sentence patterns. For students to avoid plagiarism, Ms. Nicholson recommended that they familiarize themselves with the norms of bibliography and references, and mark out the sources before writing an article. It was also suggested that students draw upon software that automatically lists and categorizes references.

In the question-and-answer session, students asked question such as “should common knowledge be considered as citation” and “how to properly cite knowledge from other fields in independent research.” Ms. Nicholson answered all those questions, and stressed the importance of citing and referencing according to the very context of the article, as well as the possibilities of referring to relevant articles on the same topic. The lecture attracted a large number of undergraduates and postgraduates, who came from different professional backgrounds and left inspired in reluctance.

Photo/Text: Li Xi and Wang Yuhe

English Writing Teaching and Research Center, Zhejiang University

Translated by Cai Zhengwu, Revised by Xu Xueying 


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