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Academic Integrity - Referencing, Citation & Avoiding Plagiarism: Avoiding Plagiarism

This guide explains what referencing and citation is and how to use the APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA and Vancouver Styles. It includes links to each style guide.

What is plagiarism and how do I avoid it?

Plagiarism defined

Plagiarism is the inclusion, in any form of assessment, of material without due acknowledgement of its original source. Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty and may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Presenting in your own name, work authored by a third party, such as other students, friends or family (with or without permission), or work purchased through internet services.  The original source may be in written form or in any other media (for example, audio or video);


  • Presenting ideas, theories, concepts, methodologies or data from the work of another without due acknowledgement;


  • Presenting text, digital work (e.g. computer code or programs), music, video recordings or images copied with only minor changes from sources such as the internet, books, journals or any other media, without due acknowledgement;


  • Paraphrasing (i.e., putting a passage or idea from another source into your own words), without due acknowledgement of the source;


  • Failing to include appropriate citation of all original sources;


  • Representing collaborative work as solely your own;


  • Presenting work for an assignment which has also been submitted (in part or whole) for another assignment at UCD or another institution (i.e. self-plagiarism).

Intentional versus Unintentional Plagiarism

Plagiarism can be either intentional (deliberate) or unintentional (mistaken). In both instances it is a serious academic offence and may be subject to University disciplinary procedures.

Definition from University College Dublin's Student Plagiarism Policy, which can be accessed here.


Important Information: Poor paraphrasing, where source material is copied with only minor changes, even if citation is included, still constitutes plagiarism." See our section, Paraphrasing Explained to learn how to paraphrase correctly.

Tips for avoiding plagiarism

Acknowledge all sources – if using information from others, indicate where it came from in your text and reference list using a citation style.

Record where all quotes or new ideas come from – when making notes in preparation for assignments.

Paraphrase correctly – express the information of others in your own words, along with an in-text citation and reference.

Quote correctly – when directly quoting from a text make sure you include the appropriate quotation marks or indentation. Include a reference at the end of your text also (See your School’s Style Guide for details).

Find out the citation style for your school and familiarise yourself with it. Keep the style guide to hand when writing assignments so you can include in-text citations and references in the correct format.

Examples of plagiarism

Using thoughts and ideas from a piece of work without crediting the author in your references

Copying and pasting large sections of text from other sources into your work

Copying a diagram, image, graph or photo, without a reference to the source

Copying a chunk of text, changing the odd word or phrase with or without in-text citation or referencing

Re-submitting your own work in another assignment or module is Self-Plagiarism

Failing to use quotation marks (“”) when directly quoting another person’s words or work

Patchwork plagiarism, where text is copied from different sources and knitted together, without any acknowledgement

Using an assignment, project, essay or dissertation purchased online or from a person

Not acknowledging any collaborative or group work in your own piece of work

Plagiarism tutorial

Click on the images below to view our tutorials on avoiding plagiarism in either English or Irish.


Avoiding Plagiarism Tutorials


Plagiarism - avoid it at all costs!

About this guide

Guide Development Team

The Academic Integrity Guide was created by Jenny Collery, UCD Library, 2013. Nessa Collinge, Maolsheachlann O'Ceallaigh and Jenny all authored content.

This guide is available for re-use and re-purposing under a Creative Commons, BY NC SA license (see below). If you need support to re-use any materials, contact Jenny.

Further questions

Questions about avoiding plagiarism, referencing or citation?  

Contact your College Liaison Librarian or UCD Writing Centre. Alternatively, discuss with your module coordinator. 

Your own work