All about Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined at the act of taking the writings or ideas of another person and submitting them as your own according to Webster’s New World College Dictionary. From this definition, it is evident that plagiarism comes in different kinds and forms.

The most common form of intellectual theft is cyber cheating. This happens when a writer takes the entries of another writer from the internet and copies them onto his submission as a way to show that these words are his. Another instance in which this can occur is when one buys a paper from the many available sites that offer essay writing services and claim to be his original work. A third instance in which cyber cheating can happen is when a writer chooses to download any information from the internet and submits it as his final output.

In addition to the cyber cheating form, plagiarism boils down to two distinct categories of conscious and unconscious plagiarism. Regardless of whether one engages in plagiarism with or without knowledge, both kinds are still subjected to the same consequences as determined by the law. Plagiarism without knowledge normally happens when the writer is ignorant about the concept of plagiarism. Most times, taking a material from the internet and paraphrasing it can lead to unintentional plagiarism which has its own consequences. In as much as one changes the wordings and mixes them with his own or changes everything but still maintains the idea, plagiarism happens because there is no proper citation.

When there is no proper citation, then your paper is still not original because these ideas have been derived from a different composition and for your paper to be original you must give credit to the original author of the source in which your data is borrowed from. Paraphrasing demands one to change the word structure and the sentence structure but even with this kind of change, a writer is not licensed to consider this article as his own because the ideas of another writer are used in different words. To make sure you do not commit plagiarism out of ignorance, as a writer you should make sure you have the knowledge of paraphrasing; in that, when you paraphrase, you are not coming up with original ideas but instead changing using the original author’s ideas but in different words. After all paraphrasing still uses original ideas.

On the other hand, plagiarism that is conscious happens on purpose when a writer knows very well that these are not my words but still goes on to submit them as his. Intentional plagiarism is prohibited and the results of this lead to greater consequences upon discovery. One instance of plagiarism with knowledge is downloading an article from the internet and presenting it without changing anything. Another instance of plagiarism is copying a statement from a source found online and fail to give credit to the original author of the phrase. In addition, every time a quotation is not used to accompany the copied phrase, you will be said to have committed the act of plagiarism blatantly. Giving credit to the original author of the source in a research paper can be time consuming and tedious but the moment you master proper ways of doing so them you stay away from the dangerous consequences of plagiarism.

When learners or professional writers are found guilty of stealing information, one of the most common reasons they give for doing so is that they were not aware of what plagiarism entails. This reason they give to show that they engaged in plagiarism without knowledge. But like we have mentioned before, whether one knows or does not know whether he is committing plagiarism, the consequences for both forms are the same. This means that whether plagiarism is intentional or unintentional, every writer should always remember that the punishment for both forms is the same. But there are certain basic rules one can follow to avoid plagiarism. One basic rule is have an idea of the concept and what entails plagiarism and with these facts you can be sure to avoid being found guilty of information theft. Another basic rule knows how to give credit to original authors through citation. Citing references should be done even when you are summarizing, paraphrasing and also when you use direct or changed quotes. If you follow the above rules, we can assure you that you will be free from any accusations of plagiarism. A general rule when you are writing your paper is that when you are using another source, remember that this is not your idea and with this in mind, you will reference properly.

To help writers further in avoiding plagiarism, there are other guidelines that one has to follow. One of the extra guidelines is that paraphrasing and summary should be done in one’s own words. When paraphrasing, remember the words, sentence structure and the structure of the paper should be changed but because the idea is still the original author’s, you should mention them. Another simple guideline that should not be forgotten is when one decides to use quotes. You can use the quote directly or change it and the quote should be followed by proper citation.