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Academic Integrity Guide: Home



Academic integrity means being true to yourself and being fair to your classmates. By using your own thoughts and words in your written work, taking of exams, and other course-related activities you are upholding academic honesty. Academic writing is built on trust and students are expected to be honest. The purpose of an academic course is to learn information and skills that can be taken into the workplace. If a student decides not to do the work themselves, then they won’t learn and won’t be equipped with this information when entering the workplace.

Academic integrity is highly valued at the National College of Ireland. Plagiarism is a serious academic misconduct and the penalties can be severe if a student is found to have deliberately plagiarised the work of another, including copying the work of other students in any format, participating in contract cheating, or using essay mills..

Be fair to your classmates, your lecturers, and most importantly to yourself, by being honest in your academic work.

International Centre for Academic Integrity (ICAI) (2013) The fundamental values of academic integrity. Available at: [Accessed 12 January 2022].

Academic dishonesty means not being true to yourself and not being fair to your classmates through means of cheating. Types of cheating include but are not limited to plagiarism, collusion, fabrication, misrepresentation, bribery, duplicate submissions, and essay mills.

When information has been taken from another source, you are expected to give full credit for the use of another person’s thoughts and ideas. Intentional or unintentional use of another’s thoughts and ideas without acknowledging the source constitutes plagiarism. As a student, it is your responsibility to avoid plagiarism.

Examples of plagiarism

The following are a few examples of plagiarism:

  • Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving them credit
  • Copying illustrations, graphs or computer code (for code, check permitted use with your lecturers)
  • Paraphrasing another's work too closely, with only minor changes, but with the essential meaning, format and/or progression of ideas maintained
  • Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks – this is considered plagiarism even if you reference the source because you have presented the working as a paraphrase
  • Relying on a specific idea or interpretation which is not one's own, and which has not been properly cited
  • Piecing together the work of others from multiple sources, and representing them as original work
  • Presenting work done in collaboration with others as your own (i.e. collusion)
  • Preparing an original and correctly referenced assignment and submitting part or all of the assignment twice for separate subjects/courses

See Page 11 of the NCI Library Referencing Guide, 5th edition for more examples of where and how plagiarism occurs.


The use of contract cheating sites or ‘essay mills’ is another form of plagiarism and these sites are illegal under the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) (Amendment) Act 2018. Be fair to yourself, respect your lecturer, and respect your classmates. Lecturers will have become familiar with your writing style and know what to expect for students who study your course; anything out of the ordinary will automatically ring alarm bells.

How contract cheating is detected in assignments:

  • Lecturers know your writing style and know what to expect from students in your class
  • If your assignment is written at a higher level than expected (either for you or for the students in your class), this will raise suspicions about the originality of the content
  • If the language, ideas and/or readings used in your assessment were not covered in class, this can also be suspicious
  • If specific word choices used in the assessment are unusual or particularly sophisticated, this will also bring into question the integrity of your work
  • If the resources you reference in your assignments cannot be accessed by your lecturer, this is also an area of concern

As a student, not only is it important to maintain academic honesty when submitting assignments, but to also be aware of the costs of cheating. By using contract cheating sites, not only are you damaging your academic integrity, but you are putting yourself into danger outside the academic institution.

Dangers of contract cheating or essay mill sites:

  • Loss of academic integrity
  • Financial cost
  • Repercussions in your later professional life
  • Risking the threat of blackmail by the company to extract more money (O'Brien, 2019)

Along with being true to yourself and your classmates, it is essential to avoid the perils and dangers of using these types of sites.

O'Brien, C. (2019) 'Academic cheating using paid-for essays 'poses threat to integrity of third level'', The Irish Times, 14 November. Available at: [Accessed 24 April 2020].

Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) (2019) 'QQI launches National Academic Integrity Network', QQI, 14 November. Available at: [Accessed 24 April 2020].

When reusing code developed by someone else in computing projects or assignments at NCI, you are required to give credit to the original source to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism of code can occur in the following scenarios:

  • The reuse of code that is based on the learning outcome of a module
  • The use of another student's code as your own
  • Allowing another student to use your code
  • Accessing and reading the code for an assessment conducted in previous years
  • Reusing code without being able to demonstrate an understanding of the code
  • Reusing code from other locations that is not substantially modified
  • Taking code and making minor changes like class or variable names

Documenting Reused Code

When looking at another person's code to get an idea of how to solve a problem, if you reuse any of their code in your own project code, you must clearly identify the origin of the reused code by referring to the source and the author. This can be done by using an inline comment in your code. When reusing code from another source, make sure you are familiar with the code and are able to clearly explain it. If you are modifying someone else's code in your own work, you still need to acknowledge the origin of the original code and clearly identify your own contribution as this is what you will be marked on. 


Your lecturer will have a wide range of knowledge both on their subject as well on academic writing. They will be able to detect differences in writing styles and they are also able to find the same information you have found on the internet.

Turnitin is used to detect matching text in a piece of written work and checks the originality of the work against the internet. The software creates a similarity report which may be a requirement by your lecturer to be included in your assignment submission. Please see our Turnitin guide for further information.

If a lecturer has serious concerns about plagiarism or cheating, they will notify you and then seek a second opinion. If concerns are found to be justified the consequences can range from the following:

  • Your written work grade being capped
  • Loss of mark in part or whole
  • Submitting a new piece of work
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion

Keep in mind that it’s always possible to repeat an assessment that got a genuine low grade, but it’s not always possible to repeat a plagiarised assessment and even when it is, often the grade will be capped, also it is never too late to contact us for help, even if you have committed plagiarism we are here to help and try to resolve the issue. The Counselling and Wellness Service is also available if you are ever stressed or overwhelmed.

At NCI library, we recognise the difficulties of remote learning - some of these may include:

  • Lack of access to some books
  • Increased anxiety with navigating the library's online resources
  • Difficulties with studying
  • Lack of motivation
  • Reduced lack of personal accountability due to reduced face to face time with lecturers
  • General difficulties with technology options at home

Academic Support

The Library Academic Support Centre is available to support your academic integrity and help you with any anxiety you may have over your assignments. Contact us by email with any queries or for assistance:

The following are resources that support academic integrity and provide standards for best practice.

NCI Library Resources:

External Resources:

Academic Integrity Statement @ National College of Ireland

At National College of Ireland, we are committed as staff and students to acting responsibly and ethically; to embrace integrity in all our actions and interactions as members of the college. Understanding that academic integrity requires the pillars of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage. In this light we agree to:

• Strive to do what we say we will, ensuring that we are aware of our commitments and responsibilities in order to fulfil them. We agree to abide by NCI and other relevant policies and the highest standards of conduct.

• Give credit to whom credit is due; recognising and acknowledging the contributions and achievements of others in scholarship, teaching, and research.

• Tell the truth, as a student, lecturer, researcher and as individuals; we will name problems and honestly acknowledge mistakes. • Hold ourselves and others to account for the things for which we are each responsible.

• Use resources for the purposes for which they are intended. • Deal fairly, consistently, and in a transparent manner with others.

September 2022

A pdf version of this statement can be found along with other Academic Integrity resources on NCI's Academic Integrity Page.

For information on NCI's policy regarding generative AI and assessment see this policy supplement. This can also be found, along with other policies relating to academic integrity, on the college's Academic Integrity page.


library academic support centre logo

The Library Academic Support Centre is available to support your academic integrity and help you with any anxiety you may have over your assignments.

Contact us by email:

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Communications from the Library: Please note all communications from the library, concerning renewal of books, overdue books and reservations will be sent to your NCI student email account.