5 Avoiding plagiarism

Learning Objectives

In this chapter you’ll learn…

  • What plagiarism is and why it’s important to avoid it
  • How to cite and reference properly as an important part of avoiding plagiarism

What is plagiarism?

Put simply, plagiarism is the act of presenting another’s work or ideas as your own. NUI Galway has a Code of Practice on plagiarism which defines it as “the act of copying, including or directly quoting from the work of another without adequate acknowledgement, in order to obtain benefit or gain”. It’s exceptionally easy to plagiarise in the digital environment, where you can copy and paste content in a split second at the touch of a couple of keys. It is important to always keep track of where the information you are including in your work is coming from, and to cite these sources rigorously.

Why is it important to Avoid Plagiarism?

You submit work at university with the understanding that it is your own work and that it contains your own unique contribution to the subject-matter at hand. You will usually be building on the work of others; this work needs to be acknowledged by means of citing and referencing.

Avoiding plagiarism is an essential part of broader principles of research ethics and academic integrity, all of which you should be adhering to as a student researcher. A growing area of concern when it comes to academic integrity and plagiarism is the use of essay mills and paid websites for papers. Engaging with such businesses not only consists of contract cheating, it will hinder your own academic growth.

Citing and Referencing

Citing and referencing are two words for the same process: of documenting where you have gotten your information from where that information is not your own. You must refer to all sources you quote or paraphrase within your document. You should always briefly cite the sources you use in your work within the text of your paper as this will refer your reader to your reference list or bibliography where you will provide the full details of the source.

See the following video workshop for more information on how to do citing and referencing. It includes tips on note taking and time management as means of citing properly, and so avoiding plagiarism.

Citing and referencing workshop


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