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Biomedical Sciences - First Year: Study Skills and Plagiarism

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The web is a great source of information, but sometimes it can be difficult to separate the good information from the bad. Library online resources can provide reliable sources of information available over the web. If you are looking further afield, then here are some tips for evaluating information on the web:

  • Is the information likely to be biased in any way? Has it been written by a commercial company with an interest in promoting its products?
  • Who has written the information? Has it been produced by a recognised expert in their field?
  • Who has published the information? Has it been produced by a respected University or academic research body? Are there contact details?
  • Is the information properly referenced? Is there evidence of peer review?
  • Is the information up to date? Is there a clear indication of the date at which the information was created or revised?



Plagiarism involves taking somebody else's work and trying to pass it off as your own. This might be done intentionally by, for example, copying text into an essay from another person's work. Plagiarism may also be unintentional. This can happen if you forget to provide a citation for a particular piece of information, or when you haven't realised that a citation is required. Either way, plagiarism is a serious matter and should be avoided. More information about plagiarism and how to avoid it can be found in the links box on the left.



In scientific writing it is very important to acknowledge sources for any fact, idea or quotation that has not come directly from you. This is important to avoid charges of plagiarism, but it also ensures that your work can be put in the proper context of existing research, and that other scientists can check the sources you have used to develop your ideas. The rules governing how to format citations and when to add them can be confusing, and there are many different citation styles. The Harvard style is a popular style for creating citations, and you can find out more about it by following the link in the box on the left of this page.

Books on Scientific Writing

You will find a number of books in SOLO which cover writing skills in the sciences. Below are a couple of examples.

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