How to avoid Plagiarism

Find here information about our quality standards and requirements. Also, we collect here recommendations that help to avoid to plagiarise.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism in a term paper or thesis constitutes the copying, paraphrasing, or translating of other people’s work (books, journals, internet etc.) without acknowledging and referencing the original source, thereby falsely claiming this work to be one's own.  The department unconditionally adheres to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation’s) Rules for Good Scientific Practice” as well as the University of Konstanz’s own Regulations for Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice (German and English) and handling of academic misconduct. Please comply with  the university’s guidelines for dealing with plagiarism(German only) and its recommendations for avoiding plagiarism.

How is plagiarism investigated?

The department strictly and surely penalizes any and all attempts to plagiarise.  Instructors will screen all written academic performance assessments when and if they are suspected of containing plagiarised text. It is therefore necessary to submit all seminar papers and theses in electronic form (pdf, rtf or doc) along with the hard copy.

The plagiarism detection software Turnitin is used at the faculty to prevent attempts at deception and to make it easier to detect disregard for the principles of good scientific practice. All students are encouraged to voluntarily upload their theses to Turnitin. Below you will find the instructions for uploading your thesis to Turnitin:

Important: To upload your Bachelor's thesis to Turnitin, you need a link, which you can obtain from your first supervisor. Every case of plagiarism is submitted to the examination board and filed in the student file. This makes it immediately apparent if a student has plagiarized again. 

Every case of plagiarism will be reviewed and ruled on by the examination board. This process will make it easier to detect cases where a student has attempted to repeatedly plagiarize text. Submitted work that has been identified to include plagiarized text will be graded as “fail” (5,0). In cases of extensive plagiarism or repeated attempts at deception, the examination board will disqualify students from repeating an academic performance assessment. As a general rule, this will lead to the complete and final forfeiture of the right to take an examination. The legal justification for these actions can be found in  § 9 para. 5 of the examination regulations of the Bachelor’s Programme Politics and Public Administration, in § 9 para. 6 of the examination regulations of the Master’s Programme Public Policy and Management as well as Politics and Public Administration, and § 8 para. 3 of the examination regulations of the Diplom Programme Public Administration. Since all examination regulations have the same provisions, these regulations apply also to students who are completing a minor at the Department Politics and Public Administration.

What are the consequences of plagiarism?

Submitted work that includes plagiarised text will be graded as “fail” (5,0). The examination board will decide on further consequences for plagiarism violations.  Depending on the severity of the violation, the board can make the following decisions:

  • The student will have to repeat a single or several academic performance assessments.
  • The student’s academic performance assessments that led to a violation will be graded with “fail” (5,0), which will factor into the final grade calculation. Or the assessment or assessment component will be graded as failed.
  • In cases of serious violations, the examination board can disqualify students from repeating an academic performance assessment. As a general rule, this will lead to the complete forfeiture of the right to take an examination.

Which formalities do I have to consider?

When submitting written assessments, all students are required to sign a non-plagiarism declaration that confirms that their work was produced through independent means. The declaration form can be downloaded from the blue info-box on the top-right corner of this webiste. All students are required to upload their final theses to Turnitin. Further instructions for submitting your Bachelor's thesis can be found here and for the Mater's thesis it can be found here.