If an allegation of plagiarism has been made against you, then you need to act quickly and decide how you are going to defend yourself. The consequences of being found guilty of plagiarism could lead to a variety of penalties being imposed against you, the worse of which is actually being permanently excluded from your university or college course.
Plagiarism is a very contentious area and if you’ve been accused of it then it can obviously be a very upsetting and stressful experience, not to mention the impact it could have on the intended career path that you wanted to follow. It’s contentious because the fact is that the vast majority of course work that you submit may include passages of writing and ideas from other people’s work but the key is in referencing these sections appropriately and giving the original creator of the copy the accreditation. Failure to do this, even by accident, could still lead you to being found guilty of plagiarism.
If you have been accused of plagiarism you will be invited by letter to a meeting to discuss your case. In the letter you will be informed of the precise nature of the allegation, the work it relates to, the sections that they believe have been plagiarised and the relevant website/book/article/essay that they believe has been copied.
Gathering evidence to support your case
Upon receipt of this letter you need to compile the information and evidence you are going to need to defend yourself. Before you attend the meeting there are a few things that you need to consider:
Do you accept the allegation or not? Even if you believe that you have plagiarised accidently you should be clear on this before you state your case.
If you have failed to reference other sources then you will need to explain why this has happened.
If there are any special circumstances that have caused these issues then you need to present them in the meeting. If there is specific evidence, such as a Doctor’s note, you should take this to the meeting with you.
For your own benefit you should write down your response to the allegation and refer to it in the meeting. You should not go into the meeting and try and remember everything in your head. This is a recipe for becoming flustered, forgetting key points and not representing yourself appropriately.
Typically, the meeting will involve the Head of department, your course tutor, other stakeholders who might be involved in the course module and somebody taking the minutes. You will also be able to take somebody with you to offer support and this is where you might want to seek legal help to advise you.
At Match Solicitors we have represented hundreds of students who have been accused of plagiarism and we have helped them to compile the appropriate evidence and defend their case rigorously. We have an excellent success rate of reducing the sanctions that are made against students for plagiarism and for getting cases overturned completely. To discuss your case with us, please get in touch.