Thesis Guidelines in Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School

Plagiarism and Avoiding Plagiarism

Tallinn University uses the definition of The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity for plagiarism. As defined by them, plagiarism is using other people’s work and ideas without giving proper credit to the original source, thus violating the rights of the original author(s) to their intellectual outputs. It is important to understand that intellectual property does not only include texts but it also encompasses audiovisual materials (graphs, drawings, music etc.)!
 
For more information, please visit the webpage of URKUND and test your plagiarism-related knowledge (see page 5 of the linked materials) or the detailed material created in S. Fraser University of Canada.
 
Writing and creative work skills which would follow good academic practice cannot be acquired within a couple of hours during an introductory lecture. Students need to have their time for learning and practice and it is acceptable and normal to make mistakes within the process. Therefore, during studies at Tallinn University, the gravity of cases is determined depending on the paper in which plagiarism is detected:
 
I Offense occurs in papers created during regular daily studies. In this case member of academic staff must give feedback to the learner and point out what learner has done wrong and instruct on how to use citations in an appropriate way in papers.
The student corrects the mistakes and resubmits the paper. There will be no penalty for the offense.
 
II Plagiarism occurs in one of the last, more important papers of the course (e.g. exam paper) and the paper is the basis for grading the course.
In this case the lecturer makes a remark by the grade in the Study Information System about plagiarism, gives feedback to the learner about the offense(s) occurring in the paper, the student corrects the mistakes and resubmits the paper. The remarks in the Study Information System do not expire, and the head of studies as well as the study counsellor can see them. If the student collects several remarks due to plagiarism, the student gets a warning. After the third remark the academic unit shall issue a directive for plagiarism.
 
III Plagiarism occurs in Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD thesis. 
When making the decision, the assessment committee must consider whether plagiarism is deliberate or accidental. This decision forms the basis for issuing a warning or initiating deletion from the Matriculation Register. Accidental plagiarism is a term used to refer to non-fundamental mistakes in using references and citations.
 
Deliberate plagiarism: paying to another person for writing or having the paper written by another person (ghost-writing); deliberate word-for-word presentation of a text or parts thereof without appropriate reference to the author or the source (text plagiarism or word by word plagiarism); presentation of arguments and ideas of another author in their own words without appropriate reference to the author or the source (argument plagiarism, plagiarism of ideas and structure of the paper); translation of parts of a text or of arguments without appropriate reference to the source (translation plagiarism); passing off the citations of another author as one’s own without appropriate reference to the original source (citation plagiarism, set of citations); passing off the formulations and expressions of another author as one’s own (imitation plagiarism); making minor changes in the text of another author and presentation of the text without following the requirements for citing and providing references; other forms and plagiarism.
 
If deliberate plagiarism is detected in the final thesis, the student is deleted from the Matriculation Register. In case the student is given a possibility to defend the thesis as an external student on a new topic during the following academic year, the student should be obliged to take a course on academic writing/intellectual property rights.
 
Issues of plagiarism during studies or in final theses have so far been dealt with at rather random basis. They should be addressed more systematically in all academic units.