School of Biological Sciences contacts & information
Advice on choosing course units
Changing course units
Structure & timing of projects
Doing the project
Suggested stages in all projects
Submission of projects
Student/Staff Liaison Committee
Work and attendance
Teaching methods at the University of Manchester
Online Health and Safety course unit
Submission of assessed essays
Use of dictionaries in examinations
Examinations results and transcripts
Submission of assessed essays for resits
University examination policies and information
You should read the corresponding sections in this guide for further information on the following:
SEMESTER DATES AND HOLIDAYS
2017/2018 academic year: 18 September 2017 to 8 June 2018
Semester 1: 18 September 2017 to 26 January 2018
Christmas break: 18 December 2017 to 12 January 2018
Semester 2: 29 January 2018 to 8 June 2018
Easter break: 26 March 2018 to 15 April 2018
Deadlines for changing course units:
Level 1 course units: end of the second week of teaching in each semester
Level 2 course units: end of the second week of teaching in each semester
Final level course units: end of the second week of each ‘early’ semester unit; end of the first week of each ‘late’ semester units
Submission of project reports will be online via Blackboard by 5pm on the date stated.
BIOL40031: Friday 12 January 2018
BIOL40032 & BIOL40030: Friday 1 June 2017
EXAMINATIONS AND ASSESSMENT
Semester 1 examinations: 15 January 2018 to 26 January 2018
Semester 2 examinations: 14 May 2018 to 8 June 2018
Resit examination period: 20 August 2018 to 31 August 2018
Semester 1 examinations: late February
Semester 2 examinations: early-mid July
Resit examinations: mid-September
Assessed essays in lieu of examinations
deadline for submitting completed ‘assessed essay approval form’ (Semester 1 only):
Semester 1: No later than Friday 17 November 2017
Assessed essay submission deadlines:
Semester 1: No later than 26 January 2018
Assessed essays in lieu of resit examinations
deadline for emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to formally request resits
Semester 1 & 2 units: No later than Monday 16 July 2018
Assessed essay submission deadline (resits):
Semester 1 & 2 units: No later than 20 August 2018
School of Biological Sciences Contacts and Information
The Incoming Erasmus Exchange Coordinator for the School of Biological Sciences is Dr Patrick Gallois. Dr Gallois oversees the running of Erasmus exchanges within the School, offers academic advice to prospective Erasmus students and has overall responsibility for Erasmus students throughout their study with the School of Biological Sciences. Patrick is supported in this by Lisa Monks, who acts as a first point of contact for Erasmus students and is able to respond to most non-academic queries. Both Patrick and Lisa can be contacted at email@example.com
For general information about studying at the University and living in Manchester, please visit the University’s main website at www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/. Information of particular interest to international students can be found at www.manchester.ac.uk/international/.
Choosing Course Units
Information on the course units offered by the School of Biological Sciences can be found on the website at https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/visiting-students/. Each module guide includes descriptions of the course units, how many credits they carry, assessment details, preliminary reading etc.
Semesters – Course units ending in ‘1’ e.g. BIOL31301 take place in semester 1 only and course units ending in ‘2’ e.g. BIOL21132, take place in semester 2 only. Course units ending in ‘0’ run during both semesters. Please bear this in mind when choosing your course units, especially if you are applying to come to Manchester for one semester only – if your exchange is for a single semester rather than a full year you may only choose course units ending with the relevant semester number. Most of our units are worth 10 UK credits, which equates to 5 ECTS credits, but you should check the individual course unit specifications for their credit ratings.
You should take no more than 120 UK credits (60 ECTS credits) for a full academic year, and no more than 60 UK credits (30 ECTS credits) for a single semester. Most course units are 10 UK credits each, however, some units do carry more credits (e.g. project units, some HSTM units). Please check credit values when you are selecting units to ensure you will have an appropriate workload i.e. 60 UK credits per semester.
Erasmus students are required to attend lectures and seminars, to carry out online assessment, to read from the extra-reading list according to the individual course unit requirements.
Advice on Choosing Course Units
Please ensure that you discuss your choice of course units with the academic adviser at your home University. You must make sure that the units you take at The University of Manchester are approved for credit transfer.
When choosing your units, you should also bear in mind that you may be unable to take certain combinations of units due to ‘clashes’ (units taking place at the same time, on the same day). You may therefore find it helpful to select some additional units in advance as alternatives. Please note that clashes are more likely if you select a mixture of Second and Final level course units.
Timetables for the relevant academic year and information on ‘Clash Groups’ (lists of incompatible unit combinations) will be sent to you by email prior to your Faculty registration meeting to assist you in choosing your course units as accurately as possible before you arrive at the University. While at Manchester you will be able to make checks and changes during the Erasmus School of Biosciences welcome meeting.
Changing Course Units
You can change, add or drop course units after registering on them, but only within the first two weeks of the unit (see ‘Key Dates’ page), and subject to the availability of other course units.
You must seek approval from your home Erasmus Coordinator if you wish to change any of the course units listed on your original Learning Agreement. Confirmation of their approval should be forwarded to Lisa Monks before the change can be made on the student system.
Please note that Erasmus projects are completely separate to Manchester student final year projects and do not follow the same format or regulations – please refer to the guidance below.
Projects should be self-arranged (by you) prior to your arrival in Manchester. The best way to find a member of staff who does research of interest to you is to visit our website at:
https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/research/ You should send an email and a one-page CV to a few prospective supervisors, highlighting your technical and lab experience. Be very clear about when you would start the project, when you would finish the project, and whether you are taking teaching units or not. Once an academic has agreed to supervise your project, you must complete an ‘Erasmus Project Form’ as confirmation that your project has been agreed (email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a form). Your completed form should be sent to Lisa Monks at email@example.com as soon as possible.
PLEASE NOTE: you should notify Dr Patrick Gallois (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible if you wish to undertake a project during your Erasmus exchange. You must check with your Home University’s Erasmus Coordinator to find out whether a research project would count towards your degree from your home university. If you have any queries about projects, please contact Dr Patrick Gallois for advice.
There are three course units for Erasmus students who wish to undertake a project:
- BIOL40031 (40 UK credits/20 ECTS credits) is taken in semester 1 and represents 2 to 3 days per week during 3 months. You are required to submit a written project (not exceeding 20 pages) for assessment. Up to 2 lecture units will normally be taken at the same time.
- BIOL40032 (40 UK credits/20 ECTS credits) is taken in semester 2 and represents 2 to 3 days per week during 3 months. You are required to submit a written project (not exceeding 20 pages) for assessment. Up to 2 lecture units will normally be taken at the same time.
- BIOL40030 (60 UK credits/30 ECTS credits) is for full-time projects of 6 months (or less) and can be taken by students on a single semester exchange. This course unit is for Erasmus students who wish to undertake a project only, with no teaching and no course units. You are required to submit a written project (not exceeding 20 pages) for assessment of this unit.
Structure and timing of projects
The start time, amount and scheduling of the work will depend on your particular project and supervisor – your start and finish dates will be agreed with your supervisor before your project begins and will be recorded on your ‘Erasmus Project Form’. Please note that all work in University laboratories must be supervised, with the timing agreed by mutual consent with your supervisor.
Doing the project
You are advised to discuss the aims and objectives of the project with your supervisor before the start of the project. Agree the days and times of the week you will work on the project. This allotted time should include some time for library work, data analysis and the commencement of writing. You should not feel pressured to work more than the allotted time but may do so if both you and your supervisor consider that the benefits will outweigh the disadvantages (e.g. less time spent on unit work).
Report-writing is a necessary and important part of any scientific project since unless the results are communicated to others the value of the work will be lost. One of the reasons for requiring you to write a research project report is to help you to learn this skill. As your report should be written in the style of a scientific paper (supervisor to advise on journal style), it is important that when you read research papers you pay attention not only to the scientific content but to the style, layout and construction, and ask yourself whether it is clear, readable and conveys all the important information. Your report should emphasise the communication, assessment and interpretation of results, putting them into the general context of the project and the work of others.
The report must not exceed 20 pages of text excluding the title page and list of references. Please use A4 paper. Print on one side of the paper only. Number all pages. Text must be in Arial, 10 point, one and a half line spacing, with margins of at least 2.5 cm all around the text. ALL supporting material, such as figures, tables, text boxes etc must be included in the page limit, and you are advised to ensure that any such items are sufficiently large enough to be read and understood with ease.
If you prefer to prepare your work in a different font, font size or format you are advised to check frequently that the material will convert to the above for submission, as penalties will normally be imposed for exceeding the limits (20% of marks lost for each page over the limit or part thereof).
In exceptional circumstances additional supporting material may be accepted in the form of an appendix. Such material might include sets of grid references for a large field study, or microarray data, for example, but should under no circumstances be material critical to an understanding of the report. This should be agreed with your supervisor at least 2 weeks in advance of submission of the report.
You will be expected to review the literature related to your project topic in your introduction. You are also encouraged to discuss the literature with your supervisor and submit a one-page outline for feedback before starting to write the introduction. A review of the relevant literature should be a substantial part of this introduction.
The mark penalty for reports outside the page limits will be:
a deduction of 10% of the marks for every page or part thereof greater than the page limit.
NB: The report must be in your own words (See Faculty guidelines on Plagiarism at the back of this Guide, in student handbooks, and on the intranet).
In addition, a document called ‘Guidelines for Writing up Erasmus Projects’ is available to download from the ‘FLS Erasmus’ Area on Blackboard.
Suggested Stages in all project
- Do the initial library work.
- Do a literature survey. Keep detailed records of all references referred to. References are best stored via Endnote or kept on index cards, so that sorting is facilitated. You must be aware of copyright restrictions on the use of images in your project.
- Plan the initial experiments in detail with your supervisor. Agree risk assessment, experimental or product designs and statistical analysis before starting work.
- At the outset of practical work you may need day-to-day help from post-docs, post-grads, technicians or your supervisor. Eventually you should become more independent.
- Write down any experimental details or product development daily in a laboratory book given to you by your supervisor. Write critical comments on your results. Draw conclusions and plan future work. Your supervisor will probably want to see your laboratory book and discuss your results and may keep your laboratory book for future reference.
- Try to generate your own ideas for experiments/products and design your own experiments or products if you feel able to. However, always discuss the final experimental design/product with your supervisor before you do the experiment.
- Talk about your work to fellow students and think about what you are doing and why you are doing it.
- Make appointments to discuss your results with your supervisor at regular intervals.
- Agree a timetable for submission of draft work and obtaining feedback on the draft well in advance of the submission date.
- Do all necessary data analysis during the course of the project. Don’t leave it all until the end.
- Evaluation is a key part of product development for teaching and learning based projects.
If, for reasons beyond your control, your project fails to give adequate results or the product is not completely finished, you will not be penalised.
Submission of Projects
Depending of the requirements of your home University you may have to submit earlier than the deadline indicated in the Key Information section at the top of this handbook. For any aspect specific to your home University, please contact us.
SUBMITTING YOUR ELECTRONIC COPY
Submission of your final electronic copy must be via the unit’s presence on Blackboard in PDF format (details of how to convert to PDF can be found in the Blackboard area for the course; you are advised to check your PDF carefully before submitting it). You can submit this from any computer, however if you plan to use one outside the University we STRONGLY recommend that you submit in the morning of the deadline day (at the latest). This is to ensure that you have time to get technical help if you have a problem by calling the IT service desk (0161 306 5544) and asking to be put through to the School of Biological Sciences eLearning team. You should remember to save your project to your P drive in addition to any portable storage device you may be using.
PLEASE BE AWARE THAT YOU WILL NEED TO SUBMIT ELECTRONIC COPY BEFORE THE DEADLINE IN ORDER TO AVOID A LATE SUBMISSION PENALTY. Electronic submissions completed after 17.00 will be marked as late. Computer problems are not normally accepted as mitigating circumstances for late submission. Please see your handbook for further information.
Instructions on submitting your electronic copy via Blackboard.
- Name the file you wish to upload with your lab supervisors surname and your library card number (for example: Smith_4208890.pdf)
- Go to the BIOL40031/30/32: ERASMUS Project unit on Blackboard
- Read the instructions carefully and follow them to upload your Project
NB. Users who submit before the deadline have the option re-submit their submission if they submit the wrong file. This is done by completing the submission again.
Marking: either your lab supervisor or your University will mark your report. Please ask your home Erasmus coordinator for the rule that applies to you
Support for your electronic submission
Support will be provided by submitting an eLearning enquiry which is located within the “eLearning Support” link in the left hand menu of the Blackboard course. Responses to these enquiries will be sent to your email inbox between 9am and 5pm on working days. Please ensure that you give as much information about where you are encountering problem as possible to enable us to provide you with assistance in the shortest possible time.
In the case of a technical query on the deadline day, contact the IT service desk (0161 306 5544) and asking to be put through to the School of Biological Sciences eLearning team.
The School of Biological Sciences
Student/Staff Liaison Committee
The School values students’ views on academic and organisational matters and welcomes the contributions you can make to the work of its committees. With this in mind, we seek a volunteer to act as the representative for all Biological Sciences Erasmus students on the Student/Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC).
The Student/Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) is the main student-focussed forum for discussion of matters related to teaching. The committee consists of the Programme Director and one student representative from each year of every Degree Programme. Meetings of this Committee consider questions and concerns of a general nature (rather than those specific to a particular Degree Programme).
This committee usually meets three times during each academic year – for this reason only students who are on a Full Year exchange will be able to fulfil this role. Although only one student can be the named representative, he or she can be accompanied by one other student to the meetings if they wish.
Erasmus students will be able to contact the representative to raise issues of concern or interest regarding teaching within the School. These can then be taken to meetings by the representative for discussion, and he or she will be able to provide feedback to you from these meetings on what has been discussed and agreed.
If you feel you could serve as the student representative for Erasmus students in our Faculty, please send an email to email@example.com to express your interest. A representative will then be chosen from all applicants.
Work and Attendance
Teaching methods at the University of Manchester
Please see the University website for a description of the different teaching methods which may be used at the University of Manchester: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/undergraduate/studentlife/teachingandlearning/teaching/.
Online Health & Safety Course Unit
As part of your induction to The University of Manchester you are required to complete an online Health & Safety course, BIOL12000. You will be automatically enrolled on this course unit. The course is compulsory and will be accessed via Blackboard (see section below on ‘eLearning’). The course does not carry any credits but will be assessed.
The purpose of the course is to:
- Provide you with appropriate information on the health & safety policies and procedures in place
- Encourage good practice and set a high standard of health and safety at all time
- Ensure you are aware and understand health & safety procedures and information
- Enable you to take care of your health and safety and that of others who may be affected by your actions
The course is split into 3 sections (below) followed by an online assessment:
- University Standards
- On-campus health and safety
- Good lab practice do’s and don’ts
Programme Pass Requirements
All Sections of the course are compulsory and at the end of the course you will find an assessment, which must be fully completed with 100% achieved to pass the course. You can view your scores in the ‘My grades’ tool in the left hand menu.
The Health & Safety Course must be completed by the following deadlines:
Semester 1 and Full year exchange students: 30th September 2017
Semester 2 exchange students: 26th January 2018
Each course unit you are enrolled on is expected to require 100 hours work, which includes 22 to 25 hours of lectures. For each hour of lectures per week, you are expected to spend a further 3 hours on personal study.
You must attend all scheduled lectures and classes for the course units on which you are registered.
As a student at the University of Manchester, you will find that most of your units contain sections of work that you have to complete online (known as electronic (e)Learning). The University uses a website-like environment for this called Blackboard.
Online eLearning support for your course means that it is easy to fit your learning into your everyday life, as you can complete the work from almost any computer in the world with an internet connection.
Your eLearning work will often have strict deadlines and marks will be awarded for successful completion of assessments. Every Blackboard course is different, so read the rules regarding the course before you start, to ensure that you don’t miss any work.
Technical support from the eLearning team is available between 9am and 5pm on all working days. This is accessible by selecting ‘eLearning Support’ and then ‘eLearning enquiries’ from the menu bar on the left of your online courses; the eLearning team will reply to your University email address.
More information on eLearning will be available on the Blackboard area of individual courses.
On your Blackboard Area, you should see a Community Space called ‘FLS Erasmus’. This area contains useful information for Erasmus students in the School of Biological Sciences such as ‘Alternative Assessment Request’ forms and guidelines on writing an Erasmus report. The FLS Erasmus Blackboard area will be updated on a regular basis so please make sure that you check this area frequently.
Lecturers often provide a reading list for specific lectures and you should make every effort to read the articles they mention and use them to answer exam questions. Reading relevant material that you are guided to by your lecturer is an essential part of your studies and will help you to gain improved understanding and knowledge of the subject, as well as providing you with vital preparation for your exams. One lecture unit is expected to represent 100 hours of work by you, of which reading is an integral part. If you are unsure about any aspect of this, you should ask the Unit Coordinator or lecturer concerned.
General advice: The University and the Faculty communicate with you using your Manchester e-mail address. Please read your University e-mail every day.
Help with English – University Language Centre
The University Language Centre provides a range of English language support services for registered students whose first language is not English. These include classes in Academic Writing, Speaking and Listening, which are free of charge.
The Language Centre also provides an English language proficiency testing service for international students, which you will be asked to attend. Sessions are specially arranged for Erasmus students and you will be sent details of these before you arrive in Manchester. Details can also be found at http://www.langcent.manchester.ac.uk/english/academicsupport/testing-service/.
If you wish to take any English Language courses with the School of Languages, or to prepare for a Cambridge ESOL qualification, you must take this test, regardless of any other tests you may have taken elsewhere.
Further information about the Language Centre and the support offered can be found at http://www.langcent.manchester.ac.uk/english/academicsupport/.
The Language Centre also provides links to online resources that can help you improve your English language ability http://www.langcent.manchester.ac.uk/elplinks/.
If you have any queries or are interested in courses with the Language Centre, please use the relevant contact details found at http://www.langcent.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/contact/.
Student Services Centre
The majority of the University’s administrative services for students (except Accommodation Services) are available from our centralised Student Services Centre, off Burlington Street.
Student Services Centre
The University of Manchester
Telephone enquiries: 0161 275 5000
January exams: Semester 1 course units – all levels
May/June exams: Semester 2 course units – all levels
As an Erasmus student you are registered as a full time student of the University of Manchester and, like any other students of the University, must attend the University examinations of the course units which you have enrolled on.
ERASMUS students who are registered for Semester 1 only are expected to attend the University examinations in January (the Semester does not end until those examinations are finished).
Only if it is impossible for these students to return to Manchester for the exams will the alternative option of assessment through an essay be available. Adequate reasons for inability to attend examinations would normally be limited to the timetable demands of the student’s home University and must be notified in advance to the Erasmus Coordinator in the School of Biological Sciences by the Erasmus Coordinator in the home University. Any other reasons for inability to attend examinations must be discussed in advance with the Erasmus Coordinator in the School of Biological Sciences.
Erasmus students who are registered for both Semesters are expected to attend all University examinations, in January and in May/June
Assessed essays are not an optional alternative to the normal examination process and will only be authorised in the above circumstances. Some Erasmus students find that writing essays in English takes them significantly longer than expected, and you should bear this in mind when planning your work in preparation for deadlines.
If you believe that you may be eligible to write an assessed essay for any unit instead of sitting the examination, you must obtain approval from the appropriate Unit Coordinator for each assessed essay you wish to write in place of an exam. In addition, you must check that your home Erasmus coordinator is happy with this form of assessment. An ‘Assessed Essay Approval Form’ (available to download from the Blackboard ‘Biosciences Erasmus’ area), must be completed in all cases and returned to Lisa Monks (G.483 Stopford) no later than Friday 17th November 2017 for semester 1 exams. This option is not available for semester 2 examinations.
Nearer the time of the examination period, Lisa Monks will contact the Unit Coordinator(s) concerned to request the assessed essay title(s). You will then be sent an email with the essay title and instructions on submitting your work.
This procedure ensures that we are able to obtain marks for students for the units concerned. Failure to follow this procedure leads to delays in marks being received and can mean that a formal transcript cannot be sent to a student’s home University in good time.
Please note that an assessed essay is a personal piece of work and cannot be reviewed by a member of staff before submission. In addition, please be aware that penalties are applied where students are found to be guilty of plagiarism, e.g. using copy and paste material from internet sources with no acknowledgement and rephrasing from internet sources. If you are unsure about what plagiarism means or how to avoid it, see the section on plagiarism at the back of this guide and review the resources on plagiarism on the intranet. Penalties will also be applied for late submission. Details of penalties are included in the email containing your essay title(s).
Submission of assessed essays
Assessed essays should be submitted by the student by the following deadlines:
Semester 1: No later than 30th January 2017
The guidelines for assessed essays in lieu of examination are as follows:
- the submission must not exceed 4 pages excluding the title page and the list of references
- please use A4 paper
- number all pages
- text must be in Arial, 10 point, one and a half line spacing, with margins of at least 2.5 cm all aroundthe text
- ALL supporting material, such as figures, tables, text boxes etc. must be included in the page limit, and you are advised to ensure that any such items are sufficiently large enough to be read and understood with ease
In addition, attached is a ‘Practical Guide to Writing Essays’ which may help you prepare for your essay.
- exceeding the specified page limit will result in a deduction of 20% of the marks per page or part thereof over the limit
- late submission will result in a deduction of 10% of the marks per day or part thereof beyond the deadline
- penalties will be imposed where a piece of work is found to have been produced with the aid of unfair practices such as plagiarism or collusion
Essays are marked according to the standard marking scheme (available on the intranet) at the level expected of Manchester students taking the unit.
You should be aware that an electronic detection system is likely to be used to screen your work. This system checks students’ work for proper citation or possible plagiarism by comparing it against web content, subscription-based publications, and student papers previously submitted to the system.
Use of Dictionaries in Examinations
As an Erasmus student, you are permitted to use a language translation dictionary (dictionaries which give equivalent words or phrases in two languages, without further explanatory text or description) in examinations, provided your first language is not English. For further information see the University’s policy on dictionaries in exams at
http://www.campus.manchester.ac.uk/tlso/map/teachinglearningassessment/assessment/sectiondtheprocessofassessment/useofdictionariesinexaminations/Shortly before each exam period the Faculty will provide a letter for you confirming that you are an Erasmus student. It is your responsibility to take this letter to all examinations to certify that you may use a translation dictionary.
Please note: This type of dictionary cannot be borrowed from the University Library – you may therefore wish to purchase your own language translation dictionary in your home country or when you arrive in Manchester.
You will be able to access a personalised exam timetable shortly before the examination period. Details of how to do this will be provided at that time.
Examination Results / Transcripts
At the end of your study period in Manchester, we will provide you with a report of the results you have obtained in each course unit you have studied. Any exams that you do not attend will be marked on your report as a ‘FAIL’. This report will be sent to both you and your home Erasmus Coordinator by email. If you require a paper copy this can also be provided upon request. Transcripts cannot be sent out until all Examination Boards have taken place and marks confirmed. This is normally the beginning of July.
Should the need arise, you may be permitted the opportunity to ‘resit’ units you have failed, subject to the agreement of your home Erasmus Coordinator. This may be necessary for EU countries which require their Erasmus students to pass their exchange year in order for them to progress to their next year of study at their home institution. Students are not permitted to resit a unit if it is not a requirement of their home University. Please ask your home university coordinator about possible compensations for failed units that may allow you not to resit some or all of your failed units.
Students must formally request an assessed essay (see section on assessed essays above) for each course unit they wish to resit no later than Tuesday 11th July 2017 by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Submission of Assessed essays in lieu of resit examinations
Assessed essays should be submitted by the student to the Unit Coordinator for marking by:
Semester 1 & 2 units: No later than 30th August 2017
University Examinations Policies and Information
ECTS/UK Grade Conversion Table
|GRADEUniversity of Manchester School of Biological Sciences||ECTSStudent Class||ECTS Definition||ECTS GRADE|
|70% or over – I grade||Best 10%||Excellent: an outstanding piece of work, only marginal mistakes||A|
|60-69% – II1 grade||Next 25%||Very Good: some mistakes, but overall still excellent work||B|
|55-59% upper II2 grade||Next 30%||Good: good and sound understanding but some basic mistakes||C|
|50-54% lower II2 grade||Next 25%||Satisfactory: an average piece of work, clearly showing some deficiencies||D|
|40-49% III grade||Next 10%||Pass: the work fulfils the requirements||E|
|30-39% fail||Fail: minor improvements would be necessary in order to achieve a pass||FX|
|Below 30||Fail: considerable further work is required||F|
Plagiarism, collusion and other forms of academic malpractice
These topics form an important part of the first stage of the Critical Writing Skills module (BIOL21701) but general guidelines and advice are given hereunder.
Plagiarism is a serious offence – it is treated as seriously as cheating in exams.
- As a student, you are expected to cooperate in the learning process throughout your programme of study by completing assignments of various kinds that are the product of your own study or research. Coursework, dissertations and essays submitted for assessment must be your own work, unless in the case of group projects a joint effort is expected and this has been indicated by the Unit Coordinator. For most students this does not present a problem, but occasionally, whether unwittingly or otherwise, a student may commit what is known as plagiarism, or some other form of academic malpractice, when carrying out an assignment. This may come about because students have been used to different conventions in their prior educational experience or through general ignorance of what is expected of them, or of what constitutes plagiarism.
- This guidance is designed to help you understand what we regard as academic malpractice and hence to help you to avoid committing it. You should read it carefully, because academic malpractice is regarded as a serious offence and students found to have committed it will be penalized. At the very least a mark of only 30% would be awarded for the piece of work in question, but it could be worse; you could be awarded zero (with or without loss of credits), fail the whole unit, be demoted to a lower class of degree, or be excluded from the programme, depending on the severity of the case. Academic malpractice includes plagiarism, collusion, fabrication or falsification of results and anything else intended by those committing it to achieve credit that they do not properly deserve. Further guidance is available here: http://www.regulations.manchester.ac.uk/guidance-to-students-on-plagiarism-and-other-forms-of-academic-malpractice/ and online exercises are available on the ‘My Essentials’ pages: https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/learning-objects/mle/avoiding-plagiarism/. It is well worth visiting these sites in your spare time to ensure that you fully understand. All students are required to confirm that they have read and agree to the University’s declaration on Academic Malpractice as part of the online registration process.
The University uses electronic systems for the purposes of detecting plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice and for marking. Such systems include TurnitinUK, the plagiarism detection service used by the University.
As part of the formative and/or summative assessment process, you may be asked to submit electronic versions of your work to TurnitinUK and/or other electronic systems used by the University (this requirement may be in addition to a requirement to submit a paper copy of your work). If you are asked to do this, you must do so within the required timescales.
The School also reserves the right to submit work handed in by you for formative or summative assessment to TurnitinUK and/or other electronic systems used by the University.
Please note that when work is submitted to the relevant electronic systems, it may be copied and then stored in a database to allow appropriate checks to be made.
Different types of academic malpractice are explained over the next few pages.
Plagiarism is presenting the ideas, work or words of other people without proper, clear and unambiguous acknowledgement. The most obvious examples of plagiarism would be to copy another student’s work, or to copy text from a book or website. Even if you acknowledge the source in a citation, you must put the ideas or concepts into your own words, unless you are using a direct quote (although over-reliance on quotes is poor practice). It also includes ‘self-plagiarism’ (which occurs where, for example, you submit work that you have presented for assessment on a previous occasion), and the submission of material from ‘essay banks’ (even if the authors of such material appear to be giving you permission to use it in this way). It is as serious to use material from the internet or from a computer based encyclopaedia or literature archive as it is to use material from a printed source.
Paraphrasing, when the original statement is still identifiable and has no acknowledgement, is plagiarism. Taking a piece of text, from whatever source, and substituting words or phrases with other words or phrases is plagiarism. It is not acceptable to put together unacknowledged passages from the same or from different sources linking these together with a few words or sentences of your own and changing a few words from the original text; this is regarded as over-dependence on other sources, which is a form of plagiarism.
It is essential to make clear in your assignments the distinction between the ideas and work of other people that you may have quite legitimately used and developed, and the ideas or material that you have personally contributed.
To assist you, here are a few important do’s and don’ts:
Do get lots of background information on subjects you are writing about to help you form your own view of the subject. The information could be from electronic journals, technical reports, unpublished dissertations, etc. Make a note of the source of every piece of information at the time you record it, even if it is just one sentence. Consider writing skeletal notes of your own rather than storing original text.
Don’t construct a piece of work by cutting and pasting or copying material written by other people, or by you for any other purpose, into something you aresubmitting as your own work. Sometimes you may need to quote someone else’s exact form of words in order to analyse or criticize them, in which case the quotation must be enclosed in quotation marks to show that it is a direct quote, and it must have the source properly acknowledged at that point. Any omissions from a quotation must be indicated by an ellipsis (…) and any additions for clarity must be enclosed in square brackets, e.g. “[These] results suggest… that the hypothesis is correct.” It may also be appropriate to reproduce a diagram from someone else’s work, but again the source must be explicitly and fully acknowledged there. However, constructing large chunks of documents from a string of quotes, even if they are acknowledged, is another form of plagiarism.
Do attribute all ideas to their original authors. Written ‘ideas’ are the product that authors produce. You would not appreciate it if other people passed off your ideas as their own, and that is what plagiarism rules are intended to prevent. A good rule of thumb is that each idea or statement that you write should be attributed to a source unless it is your personal idea or it is common knowledge. (If you are unsure if something is common knowledge, ask other students: if they don’t know what you are talking about, then it is not common knowledge!)
As you can see, it is most important that you understand what is expected of you when you prepare and produce assignments and that you always observe proper academic conventions for referencing and acknowledgement, whether working by yourself or as part of a team. In practice, there are a number of acceptable styles of referencing depending, for example, on the particular discipline you are studying, so if you are not certain what is appropriate, ask your Advisor or the course Unit Coordinator for advice. This should ensure that you do not lay yourself open to a charge of plagiarism inadvertently, or through ignorance of what is expected. It is also important to remember that you do not absolve yourself from a charge of plagiarism simply by including a reference to a source in a reference list that you have included with your assignment; you should always be scrupulous about indicating precisely where and to what extent you have made use of such a source.
So far, plagiarism has been described as using the words or work of someone else (without proper attribution). However, it could also include a close paraphrase of their words, or a minimally adapted version of a computer program, a diagram, a graph, an illustration, etc., taken from a variety of sources without proper acknowledgement. These could be lectures, printed material, the Internet or other electronic/AV sources.
Remember: no matter what pressure you may be under to complete an assignment, you should never succumb to the temptation to take a ‘short cut’ and use someone else’s material inappropriately. No amount of mitigating circumstances will get you off the hook, and if you persuade other students to let you copy their work, they will be disciplined as well.
Collusion is any agreement to hide someone else’s individual input to collaborative work with the intention of securing a mark higher than either you or another student might deserve. Where proved, it will be subject to penalties similar to those for plagiarism. Similarly, it is also collusion to allow someone to copy your work when you know that they intend to submit it as though it were their own and that will lay both you and the other student open to a charge of academic malpractice.
On the other hand, collaboration is a perfectly legitimate academic activity in which students are required to work in groups as part of their programme of research or in the preparation of projects and similar assignments. If you are asked to carry out such group work and to collaborate in specified activities, it will always be made clear how your individual input to the joint work is to be assessed and graded. Sometimes, for example, all members of a team may receive the same mark for a joint piece of work, whereas on other occasions team members will receive individual marks that reflect their individual input. If it is not clear on what basis your work is to be assessed, to avoid any risk of unwitting collusion you should always ask for clarification before submitting any assignment.
Fabrication or falsification of results
For many students, a major part of their studies involves laboratory or other forms of practical work, and they often find themselves undertaking such activity without close academic supervision. If you are in this situation, you are expected to behave in a responsible manner, as in other aspects of your academic life, and to show proper integrity in the reporting of results or other data. Hence you should ensure that you always document clearly and fully any research programme or survey that you undertake, whether working by yourself or as part of a group. Results or data that you or your group submit must be capable of verification, so that those assessing the work can follow the processes by which you obtained them. Under no circumstances should you seek to present results or data that were not properly obtained and documented as part of your practical learning experience. Otherwise, you lay yourself open to the charge of fabrication or falsification of results.
If you commit any form of academic malpractice, teaching staff will not be able to assess your individual abilities objectively or accurately. Any short-term gain you might have hoped to achieve will be cancelled out by the loss of proper feedback you might have received, and in the long run such behaviour is likely to damage your overall intellectual development, to say nothing of your self-esteem. You are the one who loses.
For further guidance, please go to https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/learning-objects/mle/avoiding-plagiarism/
AVOIDING PLAGIARISM: TOP TIPS
- SEARCHING vs. RESEARCHING
Within your essays you are being asked to analyse and interpret. Use references to support your argument and don’t just report or copy what you have found
- DEVELOP YOUR OWN STYLE & VOICE: This is an important part of what examiners are looking for. You have to use your own words, not those of another author.
- PRESSURE TO GET THE GRADES:
Attending University is not just about gaining the end result of a grade, but about gaining research and writing skills in the process. If you have any problems developing these skills, contact tutors (academic, programme director or unit co-ordinator).
- PARAPHRASE, DON’T PLAGIARISE: A footnote is not sufficient to indicate that any direct text you have used is not your own. Either put the sentences in quotation marks, or write them in your own words and include a footnote to the source.
When making notes from sources put direct quotations in quotation marks and always keep track of sources. This will ensure you do not accidentally plagiarise and also make collating your references easier when you are writing up work.
Common knowledge does not need to be cited but when in doubt reference your source.
- CUT & PASTE:
Either don’t get into the habit of cutting and pasting from e-resources (the internet, electronic journals etc.) or put them directly into quotation marks and note the source.
If you are having personal problems that mean you will have difficulty meeting deadlines, go and speak to the relevant person who can help -Dr Patrick Gallois (Erasmus Coordinator), or Dr Nicky High (Senior Advisor).
Compliments of the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (Anne geschrieben)
Academic writing is filled with rules that writers often don’t know how to follow. A working knowledge of these rules, however, is critically important; inadvertent mistakes can lead to charges of plagiarism, or the unacknowledged use of somebody else’s words or ideas. While other cultures may not insist so heavily on documenting sources, American and European institutions do. A charge of plagiarism can have severe consequences, including expulsion from university. This handout, which does not reflect any official university policy, is designed to help writers to avoid accidental plagiarism.
The Contradictions of Academic Writing:
Show you have done your research –But- Write something new and original
Appeal to experts and authorities -But Improve upon, or disagree with experts and authorities
Improve your English by mimicking -But- Use your own words, your own voice what you hear and read
Give credit where credit is due -But- Make your own significant contribution
Since teachers and administrators may not distinguish between deliberate and accidental plagiarism, the heart of avoiding plagiarism is to make sure you give credit where it is due. This may be credit for something somebody said, wrote, emailed, drew, or implied.
Choosing When to Give Credit:
Need to Document
- When using or referring to someone else’s words or ideas from a magazine, book, newspaper, song, TV program, movie, Web page, computer program, letter, advert, or any other medium
- When you use information gained through interviewing another person
- When you copy the exact words or a “unique phrase” from somewhere
- When you reprint any diagrams, illustrations, charts, and pictures
- When you use ideas that others have given you in conversations or over email
No Need to Document
- When you are writing your own experiences, your own observations, your own insights, your own thoughts, your own conclusions about a subject
- When you are using “common knowledge” folklore, common sense observations, shared information within your field or cultural group
- When you are compiling generally accepted facts
- When you are writing up your own experimental results
Making Sure You Are Safe:
|Action during writing process||Appearance on the finished product|
|When:Researching Note-taking Interviewing||Mark everything that is someone else’s words with a big Q (for quote) or with big quotation marksIndicate in your notes which ideas are taken from sources (S) and which are your own insights (ME)Record all the relevant documentation information in your notes||Proofread and check with your notes (or photocopies of sources) to make sure that anything taken from your notes is acknowledged in some combination of the ways listed below:• In-text citation• Footnotes• Bibliography• Quotation marks• Indirect quotations|
|When: Paraphrasing Summarizing||First, write your paraphrase and summary without looking at original text, so you rely only on memory.Next, check your version with the original for content, accuracy, and mistakenly borrowed phrases||Begin your summary with a statement giving credit to the source: According to Jonathan Kozol, Put unique words or phrases you cannot change, or do not want to change, in quotation marks: “savage inequalities” exist throughout our educational system (Kozol)|
|When: quoting direct||Keep the person’s name near the quote in your notes, and in your paper Select direct quotes that make the most impact in your paper -too many quotes may lessen your credibility and interfere with your style||Mention the person’s name either at the beginning of the quote, in the middle, or at the endPut quotation marks around the text that you are quotingIndicate added phrases in brackets [ ] and omitted text with ellipses ( . . . )|
|When:quoting indirectly||Keep the person’s name near the text in your notes, and in your paperRewrite the key ideas using different words and sentence structures than the original text||Mention the person’s name either at the beginning of the information, or in the middle, or at that endDouble check to make sure your words and sentence structures are different from the original text|
Material is probably common knowledge if . . .
- You find the same information undocumented in at least five other sources
- You think it is information that your readers will already know
- You think a person could easily find the information with general reference sources
Exercises for Practice:
Below are some situations in which writers need to decide whether or not they are running the risk of plagiarizing. In the Y/N column, indicate if you would need to document (Yes), or if it is not necessary to provide quotation marks or a citation (No). If you do need to give the source credit in some way, explain how you would handle it. If not, explain why.
|Y/N||If yes, what do you do? If no why?|
|1. You are writing new insights about your own experiences.|
|2. You are using an editorial from the Exponent with which you disagree.|
|3. You use some information from a source without ever quoting it directly.|
|4. You have no other way of expressing the exact meaning of a text without using the original source verbatim.|
|5. You mention that many people in your discipline belong to a certain organization.|
|6. You want to begin your paper with a story that one of your classmates told about her experiences in Bosnia.|
|7. The quote you want to use is too long, so you leave out a couple of phrases.|
|8. You really like the particular phrase somebody else made up, so you use it.|
(Adapted from Aaron)
Aaron, Jane E. The Little, Brown Essential Handbook for Writers. NY: HarperCollins, 1994
Gefvert, Constance J. The Confident Writer, second edition. New York: Norton, 1988 Heffernan, James A.W., and John E. Lincoln. Writing: A College Handbook, third edition.NY Norton, 1990
Howell, J F. and D Memering. Brief Handbook for Writers, third edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993
Leki, Ilona. Understanding ESL Writers: A Guide for Teachers. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1992. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers, sixth edition. New York: HarperCollins, 1990. Rodrigues, Dawn, and Myron C. Tuman. Writing Essentials. New York: Norton, 1996. Swales, J, and C B. Feak. Academic Writing for Grad Students. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1994. Walker, Melissa. Writing Research Papers, third edition. New York: Norton, 1993.