In the new edition for citing in MLA, the handbook has included a whole chapter that discusses plagiarism while making a point that plagiarism can also be unintentional. This instance could happen maybe when a student at the elementary level has been charged with a responsibility of doing a report on a particular topic and gets home only to find a similar topic that has been done by a previous author. When copying the material, the student uses a word to word phrases and puts them in a quote but forgets to cite them. In this instance, the student does not have an understanding of how to accurately quote or paraphrase a quote effective and indicate where the quote comes from. It is very possible that in this instance, the student’s possible plagiarism what without the realization that he is doing so. Whether an instructor judges an instance of plagiarism to be intentional or not, his judgment must be dependent on three factors of; the nature of the offense, the scope of the offense and the age of the student.

The nature of the offense

It is one thing to have the student include word after word from an author’s development without any understanding of how he is expected to paraphrase or what it means to plagiarize. This offense is the difference between having a student insert a whole paragraph or chunks of sentences from another author’s work into his essay but failing to incorporate quotation marks.

Offense scope

Having a student incorporate a passage that has been paraphrased poorly in a somewhat meticulous essay or having a missing citation or has a word for word incorporations without quotation. All these offenses can be punished differently.

Student’s offense

A student who just joined university has little research experience and could provide a successful argument that the poor paraphrasing was as a result of zero knowledge about intellectual theft. A senior student who has been completing several assignments in school is expected to have better knowledge about plagiarism and should tackle assignments better with care because he might not be excused for plagiarism.

It is however unfortunate that whether the student has knowledge of plagiarism or not, the concept is considered a very serious offense and punishable by the law. It is common to find young students not knowing that they are committing an offense while senior students assuming that they might get away with it. Whether committing plagiarism is intentional or not, students must first realize that stolen work is anything that is copied without consent and is a crime that should not be excused.

Below are examples to illustrate further the concept of unintentional or intentional plagiarism;

  • Having a paper or an article from another author and failing to cite where the source of your paper, the name of the author inside the text or in a bibliography section make your work plagiarized.
  • In the event you use a quote from a different source, make sure you give the name of the person and the article in which you have gotten the quote from. This instance should be a reminder that anytime a student’s quotes using original words or paraphrased the words, they should always remember to give the name of the person in which the quote has been borrowed from.
  • Having a paper or an article mentioning the references inside the text but fails to develop a bibliography section. Such a paper is considered plagiarized. As a writer who has used another person’s work, it is your obligation to always do a short in-text referencing and give a full bibliography section.
  • Another instance of plagiarism is when a paper comes only with a bibliography section and has no citation inside the text. A writer has to develop his paper with a clarity of where he got the information both inside the text and in a bibliography section. Proper documentation of the source is very important because professors are interested in checking the level of originality on your paper from the borrowed text.

In general, an instructor would judge an instance of plagiarism depending on whether it was intentional or unintentional depending on the errors listed above. The point of finding plagiarism is not to have the student punished or embarrassed but to familiarize learners with the rigorous standards of writing in American learning institutions which treat all cases of plagiarism the same. It is very common to find students give reasons of not being aware of plagiarism when found guilty but this article is developed to let students know that every instance of copying is treated the same and that it is the responsibility to the student to learn the variety of ways in which plagiarism can be avoided. Writing assignments is a critical process that determines the success of one’s career after school and failing to adhere to writing standards and rules can land one into great trouble with the law. But with the clarity of plagiarism in this article, learners can follow the simple rules of citing and composing a bibliography section and be sure of not having to worry about being caught with plagiarized work.

In defining plagiarism, this concept has always been understood as the presentation of another person’s work. You could probably be familiar with this concept but do not know that it could happen intentionally and unintentionally. Plagiarism has often been associated with conscious cheating and knowing very well that the author is taking credit for work that is not his own. The truth is, sometimes we engage in plagiarism without knowledge. Intentional plagiarism is cheating with the knowledge that you are presenting somebody else’s ideas and words that are not yours. Unintentional plagiarism, on the other hand, is failing to give proper credit to the ideas of an author you are using in your research. We can discuss every student’s popular mistake, cutting from an article and pasting. Now that the internet is all over with information for every topic, students are tempted more than ever to present work that is not theirs. Instead of copying the whole paper, learners could cut and paste paragraphs or sentences that they feel would add to their concept.

Many of them do not understand that their work should be taken seriously and that the concepts and ideas being developed should mirror their level of creativity. In an attempt to make the professor not notice the pasted sentences, students find specific information on their and insert into copied ideas. Unfortunately, in as much as the internet has surprised us with unlimited access to information the same internet has developed tools and strategies to detect even the slightest forms of plagiarism. There are internet websites that provide plagiarism detection tools. So what is the difference between conscious and unconscious plagiarism? The main difference between the two is that unconscious plagiarism happens when the author does not have proper documentation while intentional plagiarism occurs when the author copies another person’s work in a bid to try and finish their development in an easy way.

So if plagiarism is punishable with serious consequences, why do students still submit copied work? The following reasons are some of the excuses learners give when found guilty of plagiarism;

  • I have lots of work from courses and I am expected to meet every deadline
  • I do not have so much time to research, write and proofread my paper
  • This paper was not good enough to be presented in my former school
  • I have family issues

Learners also underestimate the fact that they can still submit a good job. They present copied work because they believe all they have to do is finish the assignment given to them and for some reason ignore that mistakes are unavoidable because it is part of the learning process. In as much as assignments are developed for learning, students also believe that however good an article is, the real purpose of the paper is only to express ideas and so it is not a must that these ideas are original. It is through presenting copied work that learners will learn the importance of presenting original and customized papers. Now that we have made the difference between intentional and unintentional plagiarism clear, students have the larger responsibility to make sure that whatever they develop is not plagiarized regardless of whether they are aware or not. Plagiarism should not happen at all costs. It is also vital that students avoid purchasing papers from the internet because services that claim to offer original work can also deliver copy pasted work.

Did you also know that the numerous plagiarism checkers online are simple to use and are not only for instructors but students as well? As a student, it is very easy for you to find plagiarized instances by performing a Google search for your document. Every student has an individual writing style and it should be a norm to pass the paper through plagiarism checkers to find the mistake before your instructor does. Every time you are incorporating words and phrases from another author, it is vital that you give credit to the real author. If portions of your paper are borrowed, you can learn how to cite correctly and create a reference page for your paper. Plagiarism is an academic offense and to put it in simple terms, students should not engage in it because the university expects them to submit original work. If you are a student and you do not have an understanding of how to submit your assignment correctly, feel free to use our website or ask for help from your instructors.

In as much as learning is a process, students have no excuse for presenting plagiarized papers in the name of learning. There are many other resources that are available to help you go along the career way. This development is not for making students nervous and scared about writing assignments. We fully understand how intimidating and confusing referencing and citing can be. It is very important to realize why learners have the greater responsibility to put much effort to avoid being found guilty of plagiarism by citing correctly. You might not know all of these rules instantly but if you are not sure about anything, feel free to use this guide as a starting point.