Universiteit Leiden

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Thesis and paper writing

When writing a thesis or paper you must make good use of the insights you have gained during your lectures and studies so far. You should also refer to relevant literature and carry out your own research on the topic.

One of the most important things you will learn during an academic study programme is how to write an interesting piece of work that meets the criteria of scientific quality, whilst also being accesible to the broader public.

Refer to our Study tips pages for more information on academic writing skills. 

Fraud & plagiarism

Instances of fraud and plagiarism are taken very seriously by the Institute of Public Administration and will be subject to sanctions. Fraud constitutes cheating on exams or falsifying research data. Plagiarism is a form of fraud and entails violating the intellectual property of someone else. Plagiarism means you take words, thoughts, analyses, reasoning, images, techniques, computer programs etc. that belong to someone else and present them (knowingly or not) as your own.
Since plagiarism is cheating, and because plagiarism by definition undermines the scientific enterprise, cases of plagiarism are taken very seriously by the university community and are punishable by sanctions. The maximum sanction for students amounts to a definite expulsion from the program.

When a student has doubts about what constitutes plagiarism, he or she can always consult with an instructor. 

Rules regarding fraud & plagiarism

  • The Institute of Public Administration has adopted rules and procedures regarding fraud and plagiarism in the Rules and Directives, art.  6.4 and 6.5.
  • The Institute of Public Administration uses the program Turn it in to systematically check plagiarism. Work will, therefore, have to be submitted electronically as well as in hard-copy (see below).
  • In a case in which fraudulent practice is suspected, the examination committee will suspend the assignment of a grade pending investigation of the suspicion. The examination committee will appoint a review committee consisting of three members that does not include those who have had direct supervision of the administration of the examination or the grading of written material from a course.
  • The review committee will solicit testimony from all relevant parties, but will, in any case, hear testimony from those who had the respective supervision and from the student who is suspected of fraudulent practice.
  • If the review committee determines that a fraudulent practice has taken place, the results of a test or of written work will be declared invalid. There are various sanctions which can be applied based on the gravity of the committed offence. These can be found in the Rules and Directives art. 6.5.5.
  • Students have a right to appeal to a decision by the Board of Examiners. See Rules and Directives art. 8.

 Turnitin & Repository

Leiden University uses the application Turnitin to enable instructors to systematically detect plagiarism in students’ written work. Turnitin is integrated into Blackboard as a plug-in. Turnitin compares texts submitted by students with an extensive database of source documents, including papers and theses of other students and sources on the internet.  Texts are evaluated and scanned  for similarities. For each text submitted by a student Turnitin generates a similarity report.  If necessary an instructor can take appropriate measures based on this report . Bachelor and Master theses will also be submitted in the digital Repository of the University.  

Submitting documents with Turnitin

  • When an instructor creates a Turnitin assignment within the context of a Blackboard course, all documents that are submitted to this assignment are checked for similarities against sources from the Turnitin database.
  • A detailed description of how to submit documents  is available on the Turnitin .
  • After successfully completing a submission students recieve a digital receipt. 


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