Nuig english 1ba student Handbook, 2014-2015 contents 2 – Introduction

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NUIG, English

1BA 2014-2015

NUIG English

1BA Student Handbook, 2014-2015


2 – Introduction

4 – Format of 1BA English

6 – Notes on EN126, Tutorial Course & Essay Deadlines

7 – English Department Style Sheet

13 – Plagiarism Policy

15 – Assessment Guidelines

17 - Student code of conduct

This Handbook contains most of the basic information you need to know for First Year English in NUIG. You should consult it regularly. Staff and tutors in the Department will assume that you know the material contained in it. We recommend you read the handbook fully and carefully, as it is your responsibility to acquaint yourself with its contents. When you need information about First Year English, you should look in one of the following three places:

    • English department’s website

    • Blackboard (the online site where you will find information about all your First Year English courses, including booklists, essay topics, lecture schedules, etc.)

    • This 1BA handbook

If you have a serious question or problem that cannot be answered by either the departmental website or Blackboard, then you should come to visit the Head of First Year English, Dr O’Cinneide, in person during her office hours (Tuesdays 3-4pm and Thursdays 12-1pm). Please use e-mail only as a last resort.

About 1BA English

Welcome to First Year English at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). What is English as a university subject? First, let us say what it is not. It is not a passive study of a pre-existing dead body of knowledge about ‘English’. It is the active creation of knowledge about literature and culture in English wherever it is or has been spoken and written: e.g. England, the United States, Ireland, Canada, India, Scotland, Africa, Australia, Wales, South Africa.


You will read the very first things written in English – extraordinary poems written on the skins of animals (vellum) – and you will read literature written today in digital glyphs on the internet - e-books, graphic novels, blogs. You will read epic religious poems (Paradise Lost), erotic lyrics (John Donne, Aphra Behn, Robert Herrick, Allen Ginsberg), epistolary novels (Pamela), literary criticism, literary history, satire (Swift), children’s fiction (the Narnia books), the plays of Shakespeare, Romantic poems (by Shelley, Keats, Blake, Wordsworth), the novels of Jane Austen, the Brontes, Dickens, Margaret Atwood, Nabokov, J. M. Coetzee, plays by Ibsen, Lori-Parks, Beckett, books about being queer (James Baldwin, E. M. Forster, Jeannette Winterson), books about celibacy (Confessions of a Young Man), books about religion (The Faerie Queene), about war, love, sex, murder, insanity, work, creativity, money, family, loneliness, virtue, friendship. You will learn about fiction and non-fiction, about the difference (and kinship) between lies and fiction, about poetics, about the theatre, about style (high and low, and in-between). You will learn about the ways in which literature actually gets made by flesh-and-blood human beings, who change what they write, who scribble, make notes, erase, revise, abandon, persevere, write in bed (Proust, Joyce), in the car (Nabokov), at their desks; great writers who sometimes gnash their teeth over what they write. You will read things that will make you laugh (Flann O’Brien), cry (Troilus and Criseyde), hope (Whitman), despair (1984). You will read things that cannot easily be understood (Ulysses). And those are just a few of the possibilities.

You will have big questions to consider – what is literature? How is it different to history or philosophy or politics? How does it intersect with other areas of life? How does it relate to life? Is it a mirror, a slice-of-life, or an independent created alternative world? Or, as M. H. Abrams put it, is it the ‘mirror’ or the ‘lamp’? Does literature educate us, or ‘merely’ entertain us? Is it moral, immoral or amoral? Does it reflect the personality or life-story of its author? What, if anything, is it good for?

And you will have precise questions to answer: when was a certain work written? Who wrote it? What, as far as we can tell from her letters, her documents, her notes, was the author doing in the rest of her life when she wrote it? Who influenced her work? Whom did she influence? What does it mean? Why did she revise it? What are the differences between the earlier and later versions? What can you infer from these differences?

But the most important point is that ultimately you will have to formulate your own questions, ones that perhaps your lecturer might never ask. And perhaps the questions you generate will take you on quite a different path, leading to different kinds of knowledge than the ones envisaged above.

Talking, thinking and writing:

As you read, not after, but as you read, you will make notes, talk, think and write about what you read. The job of everyone in the university – both lecturers and students – is to think, to pose questions, to create knowledge. That is your work. There is no static final or definitive end to ‘information’ about a writer or a work of literature. Students of English generate new questions all the time, and then they try to answer them. You can do this in your very first essays – by thinking for yourself, actually thinking hard about the thing (poem, play, short story, novel, essay) in front of you. From your first to your last week in the English department, you will be writing about what you are reading and what you are thinking about what you are reading. The study of English leads to the enrichment of your knowledge, your skills as a thinker, writer and reader, and your whole personality. And as you enrich yourself, so you enrich the university, your classmates, and your subject. You don’t receive an education. You make it.

Lectures and Tutorials:

The First Year program in English is designed to introduce you to three central forms in literature (poetry, the novel, drama), and to introduce you to two important earlier periods in English literature (Medieval and Renaissance).

English in First Year comprises two different kinds of teaching – lectures and tutorials. The role of both student and teacher is different in each. In a lecture (the word comes from the Latin ‘lectura’ which means a ‘reading’) an individual lecturer discusses particular books and ideas. Lectures are valuable because they are given by experts on the subject, and provide students with concise access to this expertise. The student’s role is to read the assigned works carefully before the lecture, listen actively (by taking notes, thinking, questioning) during the lecture, and follow up with more reading and any assigned writing after the lecture. Informed attendance at lectures is the most accessible way to gain knowledge about a topic and to deepen your understanding of the literary genres and/or periods in question.

Tutorials are smaller gatherings of students with a tutor. They are more focused than the lectures on the doing of a particular task (e.g. reading a poem, learning a skill, practising writing), and sometimes in their concentration on a particular topic. But the most important difference between lectures and tutorials is that the students do most of the talking in the tutorials – to each other, and to the teacher. Your input as students is central to the work of the tutorial.

There is a third aspect to the First Year program that has not yet been mentioned, and that is the library, and more important, what it contains – the books themselves. As we saw above, the word ‘lecture’ comes from the word for ‘a reading’. Reading, and thinking and writing about what you read, is the very heart of an arts degree, and of a degree in English in particular.



In Semester 1 you will take a lecture course (EN124). This course meets three times a week, on Tuesdays at 1 p.m., on Thursdays at 5 p.m. and on Fridays at 1 p.m. You attend all three of these lectures. The course comprises three ‘strands’:

  • Poetry 1 (Dr Adrian Paterson)

  • Medieval Literature (Dr Frances McCormack)

  • Renaissance Literature (Dr Lindsay Reid)

EN124 is examined by means of a two-hour written examination at the end of Semester One.

In Semester 2 you will take another lecture course (EN125). This course also involves three strands:

  • Poetry 2 (Professor Sean Ryder)

  • Drama (Professor Patrick Lonergan and Professor Lionel Pilkington)

  • The Novel (Dr Elizabeth Tilley)

EN125 is examined by means of a two-hour written examination at the end of Semester Two.

Lecture Schedule EN124

Semester One

Tuesdays 1-2

Thursdays 5-6

Fridays 1-2

Group 1

(surnames A-L)

Medieval Literature

O’ Flaherty Theatre

Dr McCormack


O’ Flaherty Theatre

Dr Paterson

Renaissance Literature

O’ Flaherty Theatre

Dr Reid

Group 2

(surnames M-Z)


D’Arcy Thompson Theatre

Dr Paterson

Renaissance Literature


Dr Reid

Medieval Literature

O’ Flaherty Theatre

Dr McCormack

Group 1 always meets in the O’Flaherty Theatre on the main concourse of the Arts Block.

Group 2 meets as follows:

Tuesdays 1-2: D’Arcy Thompson Theatre on the main concourse of the Arts Block.

Thursdays 5-6: IT125 (IT Building, off Arts Concourse)

Fridays 1-2: D’Arcy Thompson Theatre

An interactive map of the NUIG campus can be found here:

Lecture Schedule


Semester Two           

Tuesdays 1-2

Thursdays 5-6

Fridays 1-2

Group 1

(surnames A-L)

Poetry II

O’ Flaherty Theatre

Professor Ryder 


O’ Flaherty Theatre

Prof. Lonergan and Prof. Pilkington 

The Novel

O’ Flaherty Theatre

Dr Tilley

Group 2

(surnames M-Z)


UC102, Aras Ui Chathail Theatre 

Prof. Lonergan and Prof. Pilkington 

The Novel

UC102, Aras Ui Chathail Theatre 

Dr Tilley 

Poetry II

AM150 O'Tnuthail Theatre 

Professor Ryder 

Group 1 always meets in the O’Flaherty Theatre on the main concourse of the Arts Block.

Group 2 meets as follows:

Tuesdays 1-2: UC102, Aras Ui Chathail Theatre

Thursdays 5-6: UC102, Aras Ui Chathail Theatre

Fridays 1-2:   AM150, O'Tnuathail Theatre (Arts Millennium Building)

First Year Orientation takes place the week of the 1st-5th September. Regular lectures in English then begin the following week. Detailed information including course descriptions, calendars of lecture schedules and booklists, will be provided at the first regular lectures in the week of 8th-12th September. (Some material will be available earlier on from Blackboard, or see the noticeboards/document holders in Tower 1.)

Head of First Year English: Dr Muireann O’Cinneide

Office location: 501, Third Floor, Arts Block

Office hours: Tuesdays 3-4 and Thursdays 12-1pm.



At the beginning of the year you will join a tutorial (the code for this course is EN126). This tutorial meets once a week through the academic year, and you will be in the same group for the whole year. The tutorial is a small group of students and a tutor. In your tutorial you will practice your reading and understanding of literature and you will develop your abilities as a writer (and thinker) about literature. The tutorial also provides an opportunity for discussion with your fellow-students, which will take place both outside the tutorial – online through Blackboard – and within the tutorial time itself. You will write regularly in these tutorials and you will submit four longer essays for grading by your lecturer. Your tutorial is worth one third of your overall marks for First Year English. Tutorial teaching begins in the week starting 22nd September (with students signing up to a particular slot beforehand).

What you should expect of us:

- The tutor will be punctual, and will also end the class on time.

- S/he will let the class know in advance what the topic for discussion is to be.

- S/he will respect and encourage the contributions of everyone in the group, and contribute to the discussion her/himself.

- S/he will adopt methods of discussion which enable the participation of the whole class
What we expect of you:

- You are required to register for a tutorial, and to attend it regularly. We will keep a record of any that you miss. If, for any reason, you have to miss a seminar, you should inform the tutor, preferably in advance. Absences are recorded. It is your responsibility to check what is required for the next session.

- You will arrive on time.

- You will have prepared properly for the tutorial.

- You will contribute to tutorial discussion (on-line and in-class) to the best of your ability, and with due courtesy towards your fellow-students and your tutor.


When you arrive at NUIG you will be given a University e-mail address ( This is the address that the Department and the University will use to communicate with you. You must check it regularly. Failure to check this account is not a valid excuse for missing information or deadlines.


Blackboard is an electronic facility, available via the internet, at On the one hand Blackboard is a storage facility for information about your courses at NUI, Galway. The stored information usually includes booklists, course descriptions, links to relevant websites and electronic texts. Students and lecturers can get access to this information at all times. Lecturers can easily update information and post news, announcements, essay topics, etc. On the other hand, Blackboard also incorporates an interactive dimension, such as online discussion forums, with which you will be encouraged to engage.

Also, many of your courses in the English department will require you to submit your written work (essays, etc.) via Blackboard. Essay topics will be provided on the Blackboard website, as will an electronic ‘dropbox’, into which the student uploads his/her essay by a specified deadline. You will be automatically enrolled on Blackboard once you have registered with the University. Your courses will then appear once you log on with your username and password. You should keep abreast of the developments on Blackboard in relation to your various courses. It is advisable to confirm your access to Blackboard before needing it for important information, online contributions or deadlines.

This course is assessed by four essays, each 800-1000 words long. Essays are submitted online via Blackboard’s Turnitin ONLY. The English Department cannot accept hard copies of essays.
ESSAY ONE: Friday 24th October at noon

ESSAY TWO: Friday 21st November at noon
Before submitting any work for 1BA English your writing must adhere to particular presentation guidelines. Please read this section of the Handbook carefully.
Why do I have to present my work in this way?
All scholarly and published work in the discipline of English is presented in a particular format. This format presents information in a precise and professional fashion. Preparing your work in a specific format also gives you practice in following highly detailed instructions, something that most jobs demand.
Which format does the Department use?
We use the MLA style guide. You must therefore study that Style Guide and adopt its conventions.
The following pages give some of the most important rules of presentation from the MLA, but are not the full guidelines. If you wish to read more, or are citing a source not mentioned in this list, please consult the 2BA or 3BA handbooks on the NUIG English website. You can also read samples of work and MLA citation here:


Margins: You should leave a left-hand margin of at least 1.5 inches for your tutor's comments, plus right-hand, top and bottom margins of at least 1 inch.

Line Spacing and font size: Use double line spacing, and choose 12 point for your font size. Footnotes/endnotes may be in 10 point.

Type face: use a single form of font for the essay (this is, for example, Cambria). Use black throughout. Do not use Bold in your text. Use Italics very sparingly for emphasis and don‘t use exclamation marks in academic writing!

Numbering of Pages: Pages should be numbered at the top right-hand corner, with your surname (e.g. Smith 9).

Paragraphing: To indicate the beginning of paragraphs, indent 5 spaces (or you can use the tab key) at the start of the line.

Title: Make sure you include the essay title.

References & Documentation

In MLA style, you acknowledge your sources by including parenthetical citations within your text. These refer the reader to the alphabetical list of works cited, or bibliography, that appears at the end of the document. For example:

The close of the millennium was marked by a deep suspicion of the natural world and an increasing reliance “upon the pronouncements of soothsayers and visionaries, who caused hysteria with their doom-laden forecasts of the end of humanity” (Mulligan 234).

The citation “(Mulligan 234)” informs the reader that the quotation originates on page 234 of a document by an author named Mulligan. Consulting the bibliography, the reader would find the following information under the name Mulligan:

Mulligan, Grant V. The Religions of Medieval Europe: Fear and the Masses. London: Secker, 1977. Print.

The bibliography might list a second work by this author, which, in accordance with MLA style, would appear in the list with three hyphens substituting for the author’s name:

---, The Tudor World. London: Macmillan, 1981. Print.

In this case, the parenthetical reference above would include more information in order to make it clear which of the two books contains the quoted passage. Usually, a shortened form of the title is sufficient: (Mulligan, Religions 234). Parenthetical references should be kept as brief as clarity will permit. If the context in which the quotation appears makes it clear which document in the bibliography the quoted text comes from, then no further identification is needed:

Reva Basch reports that the Georgetown Center for Text and Technology, which has been compiling a catalogue of electronic text projects, lists “over 300 such projects in almost 30 countries” (14).

The parenthetical reference “(14),” in combination with the mention of Reva Basch at the beginning of the passage, makes it clear to the reader that the quoted text comes from page 14 of the following document listed in the bibliography:

Basch, Reva. “Books Online: Visions, Plans, and Perspectives for Electronic Text.” Online 15.4 (1991): 13-23. Print.



by one author:

Hillman, Richard. Shakespeare, Marlowe, and the Politics of France. New York: Palgrave, 2002. Print.

by two authors:

Hand, Richard J. and Michael Wilson. Grand-Guignol: the French Theatre of Horror. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2002. Print.

three authors:

Cargill, Oscar, William Charvat, and Donald D. Walsh. The Publication of Academic Writing. New York: Modern Language Association, 1966. Print.

more than three authors:

Howe, Louise, et al. How to Stay Younger while Growing Older: Aging for all Ages. London: Macmillan, 1982. Print.

no author given:

The Chicago Manual of Style. 15th ed. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003. Print.

an organization or institution as “author”:

American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 5th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2001. Print.

an editor or compiler as “author”:

Updike, John, comp. and ed. The Best American Short Stories of the Century. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. Print.

an edition of an author’s work:

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Ed. Robert P. Irvine. Peterborough, ON: Broadview P, 2002. Print.

Milne, A. A. When We Were Very Young. New ed. New York: Dutton, 1948. Print.

Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night's Dream. Ed. R.A. Foakes. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003. Print.

a translation:

García Márquez, Gabriel. Living to Tell the Tale. Trans. Edith Grossman. New York: Knopf, 2003. Print.

a work in a series:

Renwick, William Lindsay. English Literature, 1789-1815. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1963. Print. The Oxford History of English Literature 9.

a work in several volumes:

Gardner, Stanley E. The Artifice of Design. New York: Hill & Wang, 1962. Print. Vol. 2 of A History of American Architecture. 5 vols. 1960-64.

Parker, Hershel. Herman Melville: A Biography. 2 vols. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1996-2002. Print.


in a periodical: Issues paginated continuously throughout the volume:

Loesberg, Jonathan. “Dickensian Deformed Children and the Hegelian Sublime.” Victorian Studies 40 (1997): 625-54. Print.

York, Lorraine M. “Rival bards: Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women and Victorian poetry.” Canadian Literature 112 (1987): 211-16. Print.

Each issue starts with page 1:

Wilkin, Karen. “A Degas Doubleheader.” New Criterion 17.1 (Sept. 1998): 35-41. Print.

in a newspaper:

Jonas, Jack. “A Visit to a Land of Many Facets.” The Irish Times 5 Mar. 1961, sec. F: 4. Print.

in a magazine:

Funicello, Dori. “Portugal’s Reign of Terror.” National Review 19 Aug. 1999: 34-37. Print.

in a review:

Burt, Struthers. “John Cheever’s Sense of Drama.” Rev. of The Way Some People Live, by John Cheever. Saturday Review 24 April 1943: 9. Print.

an article in a reference book or encyclopaedia - signed and unsigned:

Haseloff, Arthur. “Illuminated Manuscripts.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1967 ed. Print.

“Painting, The History of Western.” Encyclopaedia Americana. 13th ed. 1998. Print.

a work in a collection or anthology:

Davidson, Cynthia A. “Alyson Hagy.” American Short-Story Writers Since World War II. Fourth Series. Dictionary of Literary Biography 244. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 164-169. Print.

Arnold, Matthew. “Dover Beach.” Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M.H. Abrams et al. 4th ed. Vol 2. New York: Norton, 1979. 1378-79. Print.

Shapcott, Tom. “Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing.” Commonwealth Literature in the Curriculum. Ed. K. L. Goodwin. St. Lucia: South Pacific Association for Common-wealth Literatures and Languages Studies, 1980. 86-96. Print.

Electronic Texts

The following are examples of some commonly cited types of electronic sources:


an entire book converted to electronic form:

Connolly, James. Labour in Irish History. Dublin, 1910. CELT: The Corpus of Electronic Texts. Web. 16 Jan. 2002.

Holder, William. Elements of Speech: An Essay of Inquiry into the Natural Production of Letters. London, 1669. Early English Books Online. Web. 19 Apr. 2003.


Irving, Washington. Wolfert’s Roost, and Other Papers, Now First Collected. New York: Putnam, 1855. 20 March 2003. Wright American Fiction 1851-1875. Web. 15 May 2008.

an article or chapter in an electronic book:

Lernout, Geert. “Reception Theory.” The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism. Ed. Michael Groden and Martin Kreiswirth. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1997. Web. 13 June 2004.

a work that has no print equivalent:

Shute, Sarah, ed. “The Canterbury Tales: The Miller’s Tale.” KnowledgeNotesTM Student Guides. Cambridge: Proquest Information and Learning Company, 2002. Web. 22 May 2003.

an article in a journal accessed through an online database:

Aird, John S. “Fertility Decline and Birth Control in the People’s Republic of China.” Population and Development Review 4.2 (1978): 225-54. JSTOR. Web. 12 Nov. 2002.

Haskins, Rob. “Four Musical Minimalists.” American Record Guide 64.1 (2001): 281. Research Library. Web. 10 Dec. 2003.

an article in a journal accessed directly from the publisher:

Boyd, Alex. “Comfort and Canadian Poetry.” The Danforth Review: n. pag. Web. 14 June 2004.

a review or article in a newspaper accessed through an online database:

“Ford plans job cuts.” The Guardian 19 July 2003: B7. Canadian Newsstand Atlantic. Web. 6 Aug 2003.

a review or article in a newspaper accessed directly from the publisher:

Scott, A.O. “Flower Children Grown Up: Somber, Wiser and Still Talking Dirty.” Rev. of The Barbarian Invasions, dir. Denys Arcand. New York Times: n. pag. 17 Oct. 2003. Web. 3 Nov. 2003.

an article posted on an open-access or personal website:

Berardinelli, James. Rev. of Return to Paradise, dir. Joseph Ruben. Reelviews. 1998. Web. 20 Nov. 2000.

Dyer, John. “John Cheever: Parody and the Suburban Aesthetic.” Web. 3 March 2002. .

Other Electronic Resources:

an internet site:

Literature Online. ProQuest Information and Learning Company, June 2004. Web 5 July 2004.

a single page from a larger internet site:

“Northern Ireland Timeline: Early Christian Ireland.” British Broadcast Corp, 2004. Web. 20 May 2004.

a posting to an online discussion group or listserv:

Romney, Paul. “Most Important Elections.” Online posting. H-Canada: Canadian History and Studies. 19 May 2004. Web. 1 July 2004.

a personal homepage:

Bernholdt, David E. David Bernholdt’s Personal Homepage. 8 Oct. 2001. Web. 23 Aug. 2003.

a cd-rom publication:

The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 1992. CD-ROM.

a blog posting:

Steeleworthy, Michael. “Copyright and the Abuse of User Rights – a Canadian Perspective”. the zeds. WordPress. 6 Aug. 2009. Web. 20 Aug. 2009.

*This information is adapted from a style sheet produced by the Killam Library at Dalhousie University, Canada. Copies of the MLA Style Guide are in the Humanities Reference section of the Library.
Is it Plagiarism?

A Quick Guide for Students


Is it Plagiarism?


SparkNotes says:
A university student whose studies are interrupted by his father’s death, Hamlet is extremely philosophical and contemplative.
Sam writes an essay that says:
A university student whose studies are interrupted by his father’s death, Hamlet is extremely philosophical and contemplative.


It is never acceptable to incorporate online (or any other) materials in your essays without crediting the original source. Even if Sam lists SparkNotes as a source on his Bibliography/Works Cited page, his failure to put this sentence in quotation marks still means that he has plagiarised. Remember: just one sentence in your essay that is uncredited could mean that you risk failing the entire assignment.

SparkNotes says:
Faced with evidence that his uncle murdered his father, evidence that any other character in a play would believe, Hamlet becomes obsessed with proving his uncle’s guilt before trying to act.
Sam writes an essay that says:
Hamlet is cautious when it comes to interpreting this evidence, evidence that any other character in a play would believe.


It still counts as plagiarism if Sam has copied a unique phrase (i.e. less than an entire sentence, or, in this example: ‘evidence that any other character in a play would believe’) from a source without using quotation marks properly crediting that source. How do you know if a phrase is unique? Try googling ‘evidence that any other character in a play would believe’—it takes you straight back to SparkNotes.

In an article called ‘“Thy State Is the More Gracious”: Courtly Space and Social Mobility in Hamlet and Early Modern Culture’, Peter Sillitoe argues:
Hamlet (1601) depicts hierarchy and social mobility because the play focuses its attention onto a royal court. Clearly, this approach could be applied to many plays but Hamlet takes things much further with its emphasis on role-play and confused social identities. Crucially, the major characters are either nobles or the socially mobile, and the play highlights the workings of courtly power and the social challenge of the revenger in light of this.
Sam writes an essay that says:
Hamlet portrays chains of command and social movement because the drama focuses its concentration onto an imperial court. Evidently, this approach could be useful to numerous plays but Hamlet takes belongings much further with its highlighting on role-play and perplexed

community-based identities. Vitally, the chief characters are either aristocracy or the socially itinerant, and the drama showcases the machinery of courtly authority and the social test of the revenger in illumination of this.


This phenomenon has recently become known as ‘Rogeting’ (in fact, you can read a humorous article about this phenomenon here: It is not acceptable to cut and paste from a source and then use a thesaurus to simply insert synonyms for the words. Moreover, the results are often nonsensical when students do this!

A blog post found online at says:
The men throughout the play fall into two categories. There are those like Claudius and Polonius, as Hamlet states about Polonius, which is true also for Claudius, “A man of words.” And then there are those like Hamlet, Fortinbras and Laertes who are men of action. Claudius is more of a politician king, he has a way with words. This is vastly apparant through out the play, but more so at the beginning and also near the end.

[Note that this blog post contains words that are spelled incorrectly and that Sam inadvertently improves the quality of the writing.]
Sam writes an essay that says:
There are two categories of men in Hamlet: men of words (as Hamlet describes Polonius) and men of action. Claudius and Polonius fall into the first group, whereas Hamlet, Fortinbras and Laertes all fall into the second. It is apparent throughout the play—particularly at the beginning and near the end—that Claudius is a political creature who has a way with words.


It is never acceptable to cut, paste and then slightly reword online (or any other) materials in your essays—even if it is ‘just’ plot summary that you are using. Even if Sam lists blog post as a source on his Bibliography/Works Cited page, his failure to cite this material correctly in the body of his essay still means that he has plagiarised.

Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor’s introduction to the Adren edition of Hamlet says:
Unsurprisingly, feminist critics have expressed difficulties with the play, deploring both the stereotypes of women depicted in it and the readiness of earlier critics to accept Hamlet’s view of the Queen and Ophelia without questioning whether the overall view taken by the play (or its author) might be different.
Sam writes an essay that says:
Unsurprisingly, feminist critics have expressed difficulties with the play, deploring both the stereotypes of women depicted in it and the readiness of earlier critics to accept Hamlet’s view of the Queen and Ophelia without questioning whether the overall view taken by the play (or its author) might be different (Thompson and Taylor 35).


Whenever you take sentences and phrases directly from a source, you must indicate that the words are not your own by using quotation marks. Even if Sam includes a parenthetical citation at the end of a sentence or paragraph that he has reproduced from another source (as in this example), this is not enough on its own!

Sam is a good student who has high marks in all of his other modules, but was found plagiarising just three sentences in one essay that he submitted this year.


When plagiarism cases are being considered, it is impossible for lecturers to take into account a student’s overall academic performance or marks in other modules.

Sam and Charlie are good friends who are taking the same module. They submit two copies of the same essay, on which they collaborated.


This is a type of plagiarism called ‘collusion’, which means that students are collaborating in an unauthorised manner on work that they are both submitting for credit.

Sam and Charlie are good friends who are taking the same module. They submit essays that have distinct arguments, yet incorporate many of the same sentences, phrases, or paragraphs.


This is still collusion, even if the entire essay is not identical (see the example above).

Sam hires Charlie to write his essay for him.


Any essays you submit must be your own work.

Charlie writes an essay for his English seminar and reuses portions that he earlier wrote for an essay due in one of his lecture modules.


This is called ‘self-plagiarism’ or ‘auto-plagiarism’. It is forbidden to reuse materials that you have already (or simultaneously) submitted for credit in another module.

Last year, Charlie submitted a number of essays that incorporated passages of reworded information that he’d cut and pasted from online sources, but he’s never been accused of ‘plagiarising’ before.


If you have been doing this sort of thing habitually but never lost points for it, count yourself lucky that you haven’t been caught yet, and change your writing habits immediately!

Turnitin says that Charlie’s essay is only 3% ‘unoriginal’.

Maybe, maybe not!

Turnitin is merely a guide that your lecturers use to help identify problematic essays. The number that it produces is not really meaningful in and of itself. It is possible to have a low number returned for an essay that does, in fact, plagiarise sources.

Turnitin says that Charlie’s essay is 46% ‘unoriginal’.

Maybe, maybe not!

It is possible to have a high number returned on Turnitin for an essay that does not, in fact, plagiarise any sources and has properly credited all quotations.

Charlie writes an essay in which he uses quotation marks appropriately and cites everything parenthetically. However, he does not attach a Bibliography/Works Cited page, as required in MLA format.

Perhaps not exactly, but it’s not a good idea!

Attaching a Bibliography/Works Cited is never optional (even in those cases where you may only have used one primary source in your essay and no secondary sources at all). You will lose marks on your essay for failing to attach a Bibliography/Works Cited page.

Charlie writes an essay and attaches a Bibliography/Works Cited page listing all of the secondary sources that he consulted. He puts everything that he has quoted directly from these secondary sources in quotation marks to indicate it’s not his own words, but he doesn’t bother putting any parenthetical citations in the body of his essay to show the source of each individual quotation.

Perhaps not exactly, but it’s not a good idea!

Even if you put quoted material in quotation marks, if you fail to give your reader an indication of where each quotation is from, it’s still not properly cited. You will lose marks on your essay for failing to cite your sources parenthetically.

Sam writes an essay that uses his secondary reading to help him position his own argument. He writes:
Hamlet can be interpreted as a play that is focused on social class and that reinforces the patriarchal views of its time. Peter Sillitoe, for example, argues that the play ‘highlights the workings of courtly power and the social challenge of the revenger’ (Sillitoe 208). Thompson and Taylor, on the other hand, consider feminist approaches to the play, which have challenged ‘the stereotypes of women depicted in it and the readiness of earlier critics to accept Hamlet’s view of the Queen and Ophelia’ (Thompson and Taylor 35). What unites these interpretations is their attention to the play’s social dimensions. This essay argues that Shakespeare’s play explores social structures – both class and gender – in order to critique Elizabethan society.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor. London: Arden Shakespeare, 2010. Print.

Sillitoe, Peter. “ ‘Thy State Is the More Gracious’: Courtly Space and Social Mobility in Hamlet and Early Modern Culture.” Shakespeare 9 (2013): 204-19. Print.


Sam has used his reading of criticism about the play in order to develop his ideas about its representation of society. He has engaged with this reading in order to formulate a new argument. He acknowledges the fact that these sources have informed his argument by quoting from them directly and citing them correctly. He has also cited them in his Bibliography/Works Cited page.

Discipline of English Grading Scheme

for Plagiarism and Incorrect Documentation of Sources
A good English essay should take into consideration a range of possible interpretations of the primary text, using these to develop an argument that shows independent critical thinking. When citing interpretations made by other authors, you must credit them accurately. Use other authors/sources to inform and develop your own thinking about the primary text(s). Plagiarism occurs when these sources are not correctly acknowledged.

Category of plagiarism

Maximum points awarded

More than two sentences plagiarised from a single source OR evidence of plagiarism from multiple sources


Sentence(s) taken directly from a source without quotation marks employed nor attribution in parentheses, but with the source cited in Bibliography/Works Cited

20% with stern warning in feedback

One or two sentences plagiarised

40% with stern warning in feedback

Sentence(s) taken directly from a source without quotation marks employed, but with subsequent attribution/reference in parentheses

40% with stern warning in feedback

Fails to attach a Bibliography/Works Cited

discretionary penalty with stern warning in feedback

1BA Assessment

English at University level is much more demanding than at Leaving Certificate. The study of English at undergraduate level is designed to improve critical thinking but it does so by training students in correct, persuasive, and analytic use of language. Knowledge of sentence structure, grammar, and syntax is an integral part of studying English and those writing skills are crucial to undergraduate study at NUIG.

Essays are assessed for overall quality of thought, expression, analysis and argument. The guidelines below are designed to give you an idea of the raised expectations of undergraduate English and are adapted from your EN126 textbook Studying Literature by Tory Young (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 82-85.



Qualities of essay

First Class (A)


Perceptive and original thought. Clearly structured argument that pays attention to the question. Fluent expression and analysis. Sophisticated awareness of the complexity of issues raised by the question. Well-organized, progressive argument. Use of relevant evidence to support argument, sophisticated use of context or theory and correct use of referencing and documentation.

Upper Second (B+)


Good powers of analysis and a clear organization. Thorough treatment of the topic and a clear, accurate addressing of the question. A well-developed argument. Correct, literate use of English. Use of detailed supporting evidence. Good command of context and theory.

Lower Second (B-)


Reasonable analysis but less developed than 2.1 or first class work. Generally good approach to the subject but leaves out some crucial points. Partial address of the question. Argument isn’t fully developed. Work is too reliant on lecture notes or secondary reading. Occasional imprecision in English. Too generalizing an answer. Inconsistent or thin use of evidence.

Third class (C)


Limited analysis, lacks depth or focus on the subject. Misunderstands or doesn’t address the question. Essay tends toward plot summary, or paraphrase. Limited knowledge of the text. Poor referencing. Shows poor use of language, and has grammatical errors.

Pass (D)


Some knowledge of the text, but very thin. Attempts an answer but does not manage to address the question properly. Shows lack of knowledge or is inadequate in length. Language and grammar are poor.

Fail (E)


Inadequate but shows some awareness of the text. No analysis, no argument. Ineffective use of English, incoherent syntax.

Fail (F)


Absent answer or one that is totally inadequate.

Main points from the Student Code of Conduct

Any student who enrols for any course in the University in doing so accepts the objectives of the University and is giving a commitment, as a responsible individual and as a member of the University community, to behave in an appropriate manner. 

The Student Code of Conduct offers guidelines as to the norms of behaviour that accord with the obligations of students, but where more specific requirements are in place, they are available on the University’s web site. It should be noted that Students of the University cannot claim any privileged position in regard to the general law of the land.

Rights and obligations of staff, students and others

  • Every student and staff member has the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

  • Students are expected to acknowledge the authority of the staff of the University, both academic and support staff, in the performance of their duties.
Academic Conduct

  • Every student is expected to approach his/her academic endeavours with honesty and integrity.

  • Each student shall comply with his/her academic programme requirements in terms of lectures, practicals, assignments and assessments and with all University registration, fees, library, use of computer facilities and examination regulations associated therewith.

  • No student shall provide false or misleading information to or withhold relevant information from any party regarding his/her academic achievements

  • Every student is required to behave in a manner which enables and encourages participation in the educational activities of the University and does not disrupt the functioning of the University.

  • The maintenance of the good name of the University is in the interests of all of the University community and, as the standing of the University depends largely on those who represent it, it is the duty of its students at all times to behave, both inside and outside of the University, in a way which does not bring discredit to the University. This includes students’ use of social media (Twitter, Facebook) where those resources are publicly accessible.

The observance of the Code, so far as it applies to the individual student, is his/her personal responsibility.

Breach of any of the regulations of the University will be dealt with either under the appropriate approved University procedure or the Disciplinary Procedure. (The Disciplinary Procedure is laid out in Section 6.0 of the Code of Conduct)

Some Examples of Breaches of the Student Code of Conduct

  • Obstruction of members of the University staff or other students in the performance of their duties.

  • Any violence or threats of violence or any abuse, either physical or verbal.

  • Any behaviour that endangers the welfare of the individual or others.

  • Making derogatory or insulting comments or allegations against a member of staff or other student either in person or utilising electronic media such as e-mail or social networking sites including Facebook.

  • Publicly claiming (e.g. on social networking sites such as Facebook) to have cheated in assessment, by plagiarism, copying notes from the internet, etc.

  • Cheating, plagiarism and circumstances where a student submits the work of another as his/her own or allows another person to undertake an assessment or assignment for him/her.

  • Failure, without reasonable explanation, to carry out all or any of the following to the satisfaction of the Academic Council: attend lectures; attend prescribed practical classes, or laboratory, drawing-office or clinical sessions; attend tutorial classes; meet requirements laid down for project-work, essay-writing, or any other prescribed course exercise.

  • Conduct likely to disrupt teaching, examinations, study, research, or administration of the University.

  • Failure to abide by the regulations governing enrolment on the academic programme, attendance at lectures and other prescribed exercises and the conduct of examinations.

  • Abuse of alcohol or other substances on the campus.

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