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Avoiding Plagiarism

Learn how to avoid plagiarism and to reference your sources correctly

Matrix of Levels & Consequences

The University of Dublin Calendar refers to various levels of plagiarism. What constitutes plagiarism at a particular level, and the consequences of being found to have committed plagiarism at that level, are detailed below.

Nothing provided for under the summary procedure diminishes or prejudices the disciplinary powers of the Junior Dean under the 2010 Consolidated Statutes.

**Please read the matrix in full before any determination is made as to the level of plagiarism which applies.**

Range of Penalties

Characteristics of Offence

Level 1

You receive an informal verbal warning from the Director of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning/Postgraduate Teaching and Learning.

You have little previous exposure to the norms and conventions of different types of academic work (essays, reports, group or individual projects, dissertations, presentations, etc.) or you bring different cultural assumptions to your work.
Students at postgraduate level can reasonably be assumed to be familiar with rules in respect of plagiarism, therefore any plagiarism occurring in the context of any postgraduate work cannot normally be deemed to constitute Level 1 plagiarism. 

The piece of work in question is inadmissible. You are required to rephrase and reference correctly all plagiarised elements. Other content should not be altered. The resubmitted work will be assessed and marked without penalty.

Your work* demonstrates one or more of the following:

  • Poor use and/or understanding of referencing conventions, including how to present direct quotations;
  • Poor understanding of how to acknowledge sources of direct and indirect quotations;
  • Poor paraphrasing skills;
  • Lack of recognition of the boundary between material in the public domain which does not require acknowledgement and that which does;
  • Poor understanding that borrowing the language of another author for stylistic purposes constitutes plagiarism.

Level 1 Plagiarism is not deemed to be academic misconduct.

Generally, only small amounts of material (text, graph, computer code, images, etc.) are unacknowledged. If more substantial amounts are involved, the offence should be classified as Level 2 or 3 plagiarism.

Level 2

You receive a formal written warning from the Head of School.

Level 2 Plagiarism occurs when you should have been aware of what constitutes plagiarism.

The piece of work in question is inadmissible.  You are required to rephrase and reference correctly all plagiarised elements.  Other content should not be altered.  The resubmitted work will receive a reduced or capped mark (at the pass mark) depending on the seriousness/extent of plagiarism.

Your work* demonstrates one or more of the following:

  • Failure to utilise referencing conventions, including the use of direct quotations;
  • Failure to acknowledge public and private domain sources;
  • Paraphrasing without appropriate recognition;
  • Sections copied from other sources and presented as your own;
  • Borrowing the language of another author for stylistic purposes, knowing that it is incorrect to do so.

Level 2 Plagiarism is considered as academic misconduct.

 

Level 3

You receive a formal written warning from the Head of School.

Level 3 Plagiarism occurs when you should have been aware of what constitutes plagiarism.

The piece of work in question is inadmissible. There is no opportunity for resubmission with corrections. The student is required to submit a new piece of work as a supplemental assessment during the next available session. Provided the work is of passing standard, the assessment mark and the module mark will be capped at the pass mark. Discretion lies with the Senior Lecturer/Dean of Undergraduate Studies and the Dean of Graduate Studies (as appropriate) in cases where there is no standard opportunity for a supplemental assessment under applicable course regulations.

Your work* demonstrates one or more of the following:

  • It contains elements of another student’s work, even if they gave you permission to use their work;
  • You have submitted, on more than one occasion for credit, a correctly cited and referenced assignment from your own research. This work may have been submitted either in whole or in part, for separate marks in a different module or in previous years;
  • Substantial sections copied from other sources and presented as your own;
  • It borrows, substantially, material and/or language from a source without correct acknowledgement;
  • It makes extensive use of synonyms instead of the author’s original voice, but keeps to the same structure and meaning of the original work;
  • It contains fabricated referencing, is without referencing or citation, or lacks, to a large degree, appropriate citation and/or referencing.

Level 3 Plagiarism is considered as academic misconduct.

 

Level 4

Case referred to the Junior Dean for disciplinary procedures.

Level 4 plagiarism cannot normally be dealt with under summary procedures (Levels 1-3 above). For example, plagiarism in the context of postgraduate theses or dissertations will always be categorised as Level 4. The following constitute examples of Level 4 plagiarism:

  • You have previously committed plagiarism and this is a repeat offence;
  • You have sought, bought or commissioned work with the intention of representing it as your own work;
  • You have improperly enlisted editorial input, eg. engaging a paid proof reader or copy-editing service, having a language assignment edited by a native speaker where language competence is being assessed;
  • Your submitted assignment is identical to another student’s work, even if they gave you permission to use their work.

*The term 'work' refers to individual or group work