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Referencing: Plagiarism

All you need to know about referencing

What is plagiarism?

See alsoStudent Guide: Academic Integrity

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, you need to take care to credit and/or reference those from whom you 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 your responsibility to familiarise yourselves with the institute’s policy on plagiarism and you are encouraged, if in doubt, to seek guidance from an academic staff member.

Avoiding Plagiarism Checklist

Paraphrasing and avoiding plagiarism

Paraphrasing is writing the thoughts and ideas of others in your own words. All paraphrased information included in your work must be cited. An in-text citation must be included beside the paraphrased piece of text. You must include a full reference in your reference list to the source of your paraphrased information. Some citation styles also require a page number for the paraphrased information to be included as part of the in-text citation.

The following ORIGINAL text has been taken from the book The Google Story.

“Not since Gutenberg invented the modern printing press more than 500 years ago, making books and scientific tomes affordable and widely available to the masses, has any new invention empowered individuals, and transformed access to information, as profoundly as Google.”

From: Vise, David A. (2005) The Google Story. Macmillan: London

Unacceptable paraphrasing of above text - plagiarism

The most important invention that has affected access to information since Gutenberg invented the modern printing press and made books affordable and widely available, is Google, an invention that has empowered individuals and transformed access to information around the world.

This passage is considered plagiarism because

  • The writer does not cite the author as the source of the ideas

  • The passage is too close to the original text

  • Only a few phrases or words have been changed

Acceptable paraphrasing of above text - not plagiarism

It has been stated that Google has revolutionised the information world by providing access to information through the internet. Vise notes that Google is the most radical information development since Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. (Vise, 2005, p.1)

This is acceptable paraphrasing because

  • The author of the text has been cited correctly

  • The writer has used their own words

  • The writer gives credit for the ideas in the passage


With thanks to Jenny  Collery, Liaison Librarian, College of Arts and Humanities, UCD library for permission to re-use this section.


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Plagiarism explained

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