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AIT Harvard: Plagiarism

Aviod Plagiarism Checklist

AIT Plagiarism Policy

AIT Policy on Plagiarism



Athlone Institute of Technology aims to foster and maintain an ethos of honesty and academic integrity.  All staff and students have an obligation to act in an ethical manner, consistent with the requirements of academic integrity. 

Academic integrity is underpinned by the academic trust that develops between academic staff and students, and fostered by the provision of a positive modern learning environment, coupled with AIT’s proactive approach to the development of good academic practice.  The institution is responsible for the provision of a fair and transparent policy and process. 


The purpose of this document is to provide a definition of plagiarism and to outline the institute’s policy and procedures for dealing with alleged plagiarism.  The institute will address this in the first instance through advice and through its approach to assessment. Where plagiarism is detected, it is the intention of the institute that it be dealt with fairly, consistently, and in accordance with the principles of natural justice.


This policy applies to all programmes of study leading to an Athlone Institute of Technology award.  This includes both taught and research programmes.    Athlone Institute of Technology has adopted policy on collaborative and transnational provision; this plagiarism policy will also inform such provision. 


Plagiarism is when one presents as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.  It is defined as the unwarranted use of the ideas, words, arguments, concepts, or designs of another.  To avoid the charge of plagiarism, learners need to take care to credit and/or reference those from whom they borrow and quote.

Plagiarism is a serious academic offence.  While plagiarism may be easy to commit unintentionally, it is defined by the act, not the intention.  It is the responsibility of all students to familiarise themselves with the institute’s policy on plagiarism and are encouraged if in doubt, to seek guidance from an academic staff member.

Plagiarism includes:

  • verbatim copying of another’s work without clear identification, appropriate reference, and acknowledgement.
  • close paraphrasing of another’s work by simply changing a few words or altering the order of presentation without clear identification, appropriate reference, and acknowledgement.
  • unidentified/unacknowledged presentation of another’s concept as one’s own.
  • unauthorised use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.
  • accepting unwarranted support from others (e.g. parents, professionals) in preparing continuous assessment material which is submitted as one’s own work.


If a learner provides work to another learner for him/her to copy, he/she may be implicated

in the suspected offence. 


Avoiding Plagiarism

AIT commits to a pro-active approach to the prevention of plagiarism through the

development of good academic practice.


The institute employs the following preventative measures in order to meet this outcome:


  • Provision of training to both staff and students at the commencement of the academic year, or as required, in the practices of referencing and citation and in the use of source material(s).
  • Provision of training in the use of the detection software to both staff and students, as required.[1]
  • Introduction to the concepts of academic integrity and plagiarism at the Faculty induction sessions.
  • On-line resources available through the library website and the Academic Writing Skills Moodle page.
  • The facility to submit assignments to Turnitin is also available on the Academic Writing Skills Moodle page.  Students are encouraged to use this resource to check their work but should discuss the results with their lecturer.
  • Referral to this policy in all assessment instructions provided to students.  There is a requirement on all students, in respect of all work submitted, to include a plagiarism disclaimer declaring that their work has been completed in accordance with AIT’s policy on plagiarism.  This Student Plagiarism Disclaimer (Form A1) can be found in the Appendices to this policy document.


Detection Software

The institute employs detection software under license to assist in ensuring that material is original.   This product is an application that helps support the development of the student’s skills and is available in order to check that the work proposed for submission is not open to the charge of plagiarism.  It allows staff and students to check the academic integrity of work by searching for improper citation or potential plagiarism by comparing it against continuously updated databases.    Training on the use of this product is provided for staff by The Learning and Teaching Unit at various times throughout the academic year, or as requested.  Training will be scheduled for first year students as part of their programme of study.   Students in subsequent years may request training by contacting their lecturer. [2]


Procedures for dealing with incidents of plagiarism

All allegations or suspicions of plagiarism are dealt with ultimately by the Registrar.  However, the process is stepped in nature and allegations are considered and dealt with initially at department and faculty levels.  A record of all cases of plagiarism upheld will be maintained in the Quality office.  The Plagiarism Committee shall ensure consistency in the handling of all cases of plagiarism across the institute.

A Representative from the Academic Staff within each Department will be appointed to  an Institute Plagiarism Committee whose remit is as follows:

  • To investigate cases of alleged plagiarism;
  • To establish whether the allegation of plagiarism is founded and if so to determine whether it is a case of incidental or substantive plagiarism;
  • To impose an academic sanction, where appropriate;
  • To keep up to date with best practice guidelines and national/international developments in the area of academic integrity.

The following outlines the procedure to be followed when dealing with incidents of plagiarism:

  • The Plagiarism Committee will convene a minimum of four times during the academic year to address all suspected incidents of plagiarism.   One additional meeting will be convened in advance of the Autumn Examination Board Meeting.
  • This Committee will be provided with prior training on how to deal with any issues of plagiarism.
  • If an academic staff member suspects plagiarism, he/she may consult with a more experienced colleague on the case.
  • The academic staff member at this point may decide not to continue with a formal report, if they feel it does not meet the criteria for plagiarism.
  • However, if an academic staff member decides to formally report an incident of plagiarism, he/she will complete form A2 after consultation with the learner and forwards it to the relevant plagiarism committee member.  In conjunction with this, the academic staff member will invite the student to attend the plagiarism committee meeting to explain or refute the claim if he/she so wishes. 
  • Form A2 plus supporting documentation is then submitted to the Quality Office by the Plagiarism Committee member one week in advance of the scheduled Plagiarism Committee meeting for circulation to the committee members.
  • The learner may be accompanied to the committee meeting by a member of the Students Union or a friend.  The learner is also entitled to have legal representation present.
  • If the Committee decides that there is not sufficient evidence of plagiarism, the learner will be informed of this decision in writing from the quality office.
  • If the Committee is satisfied that plagiarism has occurred, they will determine the penalty by referring to the Penalty Grid and any additional information presented by the student
  • The decision of the committee will be communicated to the learner from the quality office in writing within three working days.
  • The learner may lodge an appeal through the Registrar’s Office in accordance with the appeals process set down in Section N of the Institute’s Standards, Assessment & Awards document.  
  • At the end of each academic year a report will be issued to Academic Council summarising the incidents of plagiarism which occurred in that particular year.


Additional Information

Exam Boards

Examination Boards may not overturn the decision or change the penalty which has been applied by the Plagiarism Committee.


Group Projects

Where plagiarism has been discovered in a group project, wherever possible the individual(s) responsible for the plagiarised sections will be identified and treated in the normal manner.  If it is not possible to identify individuals responsible, the case will be treated as a serious offence and whatever penalty is imposed will apply in full and equally to all members of the group.


[1] This currently is the Turnitin software which is an internet-based plagiarism-prevention service that checks documents for unoriginal content.  The results can be used to identify similarities to existing sources or can be used in formative assessment to help students learn how to avoid plagiarism and improve their writing.

[2] This proprietary product is currently Turnitin.  See previous footnote.



NOTE: AIT's full Plagiarism policy, including discipline procedures and the plagerism penalty grid are available in the main library on the 2hr shelve under 030 ATH; please ask at the library desk to consult this policy.

Avoiding Plagiarism Checklist