What is Plagiarism? What Every Student Should Know About It

Plagiarism Definition

Plagiarism is taking credit for another person’s work or uses somebody else’s words as your own. Essentially, this act is considered intellectual theft and a violation of academic integrity. Even with this definition and emphasis on this act being a violation of academic integrity, many people still doubt it.

Plagiarism as an act is not as simple as copying somebody else’s work but could also be considered as theft of ideas and this might not only be frustrating to the one facing consequences of the crime but to the original composer. And now because information is readily available on the internet, theft of information has even become more rampant. Any time you are writing a paper and you are using someone’s idea, always have it in mind that you must cite where you have gotten the information from and by doing this you can be sure of avoiding plagiarism.

Why does plagiarism still occur?

Maybe it is because they do not have an idea that this form of fraud can be avoided.

Other than completing your work for the sake of receiving a good grade, every writer should remind himself that plagiarism is intellectual stealing and when you engage in this form of act, you are found guilty of stealing one’s intellectual property.

Stealing is heavily punished by the law because the law has designed specific punishments for every individual caught in the act of stealing. In addition, this concept in the dictionary is defined as a form of theft where the offender assumes ownership of a property that is not his own in the literal world.

It is very common to find students who are caught for the second time and are not afraid of being expelled from the institution. But when such students are asked to explain the reasons why they continue to engage in intellectual theft, they give the following reasons.

Reasons Why Students Plagiarize

  1. Lack of enough time to research, write, proofread and edit the paper
  2. It is challenging to have to rewrite information from another source in own words
  3. There are so many people who have engaged in the act but have not been caught.

Looking at the above reasons, it is evident that the concept of intellectual theft is very complicated and comes in numerous forms but whichever the case, solutions can still be found.

What are the constraints of plagiarism?

Whether you have one or two words that directly match the original words of another author or you have the whole paper copy-pasted, the fact still remains that you have stolen another person’s ideas and this act is considered unlawful. The law has developed certain consequences that every victim should face when finding guilty of intellectual theft.

Plagiarism consequences are negative

There are no positive penalties for a crime and therefore those who are caught steal information must go through the penalties designed for such kind of a crime. Depending on the level of plagiarism one has committed and the level in which it has occurred, the consequences are highly regarded as negative.

Copyrighting in Plagiarism

For effective prevention of plagiarism, you can choose to copyright another author’s work. This is a brilliant way to shield yourself from the damaging effects of plagiarism. Copyright law is developed to help an individual protect his work from theft and in this manner, he ensures that he gets acknowledged for his work just in case somebody else uses the same information. Once your work is protected, you have the power to accuse a person of plagiarizing when he has not given credit to you as the original developer. Protecting your work also means that your composition is not publicized or easily available to everyone and this is proof that the law also backs you.

Why do instructors care so much about plagiarism?

Students are learning and most of them are seeking to submit their work in order to graduate well and build their careers. To succeed in your career as a student, you will have to write hundreds of assignments, have your instructor grade your paper and acquire genuine marks to propel you to the next level of study.

When instructors present you with an assignment, they do not care so much about you getting higher grades but they care about having students show their understanding of materials they have been asked to read in the course of the semester, have students show understanding of references and use of sources to support ideas and also expect students to show the difference between individual analysis and the ideas borrowed from the composition of another author.

Therefore, when you taking up an assignment, always make sure you build on other people’s ideas and not use them as your own. Also, make sure you cite your sources as though you are an expert. Citing your sources is a way to show your instructor that your expert ideas have evidence and this evidence will be used in support of individual conclusions.

Failure to cite inside your text could probably mean that these are your own ideas and you did not borrow them at all and it could also mean that you are taking credit for somebody else’s work which is basically theft. Failure to cite exposes you to plagiarism. Feel free to use the tips mentioned above and see your work as a student stand out among your peers. It is not so hard to avoid intellectual theft just cite, build your own analysis and references.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

  • Can I reference to avoid plagiarism? One of the ways to avoid plagiarism is by citing and referencing. Citing comes in the middle of the text and always remembers that when you cite in the middle, a section at the end of your paper should be designed for reference section. When writing your paper, citing should not just be for the sake of but instead, it should be done properly and with a lot of care. In order to careful cite in the middle of your text, you have to follow standard requirements for citing depending on the format given to you by your instructor.

You can choose to browse through the internet to familiarize yourself with these standards or consult with your professor on what he expected you to do with regard to citation styles and standards. The moment you fail to regard the styles and standards, your work can be found with instances of plagiarism. For citing inside the text, make sure that every direct quote is followed by a citation immediately or at the beginning. In this manner, you prove to your audience that these are borrowed words.

  • In addition to citing and referencing, another way not to worry about being found guilty of intellectual theft is by paraphrasing. Paraphrasing demands the one using another author’s source to first read and understand the article and then use his understanding to express his ideas. It is not enough to paraphrase a source but a writer should also remember to change the word structure from the original text but still maintain the idea.
  • Apart from changing word structure, the structure of the sentence should also be changed to show that the writer is using his own words. After accomplishing the change of word and sentence, a citation at the end of the text is still necessary.