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Plagiarism is the passing off of someone else’s work as one’s own, and is cheating.


Plagiarise - "Take and use as one’s own (the thoughts, writings, inventions etc., of another person); copy (literary work, ideas etc.) improperly or without acknowledgement; pass off the thoughts, work, etc., of (another person) as one's own."

From: The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.


The key to avoiding plagiarism is to give credit where it is due
-- if in doubt, cite.

To avoid plagiarism you must give credit whenever you:

  • Use another person’s opinions, ideas, or theories.
  • Use facts, statistics, graphs, drawings etc. that are not common knowledge.
  • Use quotations of another person’s spoken or written words.
  • Paraphrase another person’s spoken or written words.


So, Reference it if...

  • it's a quote;
  • it 's a paraphrase;
  • it's another person's idea, words, theory or image!


Examples of Plagiarism 

  • Failing to cite all the sources you used
  • Copying text from a source and pasting it into your essay  
  • Getting someone else to write your essay
  • Buying a paper and turning it as your own work.

Common Knowledge

The only source you can use in an essay without crediting it, is information that is considered common knowledge and as a result not attributable to one source.

Common knowledge is information generally known to a knowledgeable person, such as commonly known facts and dates.

Examples of common knowledge are:

  • Known time and date information (There are twelve months in a year)
  • Known historical facts (Julius Caesar was a Roman)
  • Geographic pieces of information easily verified by a non-specialized map (Dublin is in Ireland)

Intentional / Unintentional Plagiarism

Detecting Plagiarism

ATU Galway-Mayo uses URKUND, a leading academic plagiarism detector, to check students' work for plagiarism by comparing it against a large academic database.

URKUND is an automatic text-recognition system made for detecting, preventing and handling plagiarism.

URKUND shows lecturers’ how much of a student's work matches content from their databases; so they can understand how much of the work is original.


Further Reading

ATU's Policy

Plagiarism is closely related to academic integrity and is a serious academic offence.

ATU Galway-Mayo Policy on Plagiarism:


Plagiarism cover sheets:

Listen & Learn

» Avoiding plagiarism


» Common knowledge


The following videos are brought to us by Cite them Right online:

Login required (registered students & staff).


» How can I avoid plagiarising?

The authors of Cite them right share their top tips to help you correctly acknowledge sources.


» Understanding plagiarism

Whether quoting, paraphrasing or summarising, using someone’s work without crediting the source can lead to claims of plagiarism.

It's Freely Available Online

Using an image, video or anything else you find online in your work without providing a correct citation is plagiarism.

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