Plagiarism is the most popular offense under the code of Academic Conduct. The Academic code of conduct defines plagiarism as the submission of words and ideas of another person regardless of the form as one’s own development without proper acknowledgment of the original author. With this understanding, it can be concluded therefore that plagiarism entails copying another author’s material either by paraphrasing or having one word after another being similar.

Plagiarized materials can be lifted from a wide range of sources either from internet sites, lab reports, artist works, course notes, visual or oral presentation or even computer assignments and library books. In defining plagiarism, there is no particular emphasis on words alone but this act can also refer to direct lifting of graphs, tables, images, ideas, and algorithms. Presenting means stealing more than work that is written. Presenting also means the method through which one decides to submit his work to his audience or instructor. In addition to the method of presentation, having to translate works of other people in another language without proper citation and referencing is another form of plagiarism.

There are so many other definitions people have developed as individual definitions for the same word. Apart from defining the term, people have also designed individual strength and depth of the consequences of engaging in the act. In as much as they know about the consequences, they still continue to present stolen materials.

Why does this still occur? Maybe it is because they do not have an idea that this form of fraud can be avoided. So how does one avoid being found guilty of plagiarism?

Other than completing your work for the sake of receiving a good grade, every composer 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. In the many cases of writers and presenters founds with theft of information, 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

Reason 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.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

  • One of the basic solutions to avoid being caught for intellectual theft is acknowledging the original author. Giving credit to the original author is made possible through in-text citations and completing a list of references at the end of your paper. Before referencing the author, it is vital that every writer learns the foundations of citations and the many styles of citations that can be used.
  • 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.

For the purpose of repeating to a writer who did not understand the idea behind plagiarism and also have the idea sink into the head of our audience, always have it is the mind that using another person’s idea is stealing. Stealing of any form is unacceptable.

  • Regardless of whether you have copied word for word or used your own words and failed to cite or paraphrased but still found the slightest of instances of plagiarism, what you have done is still theft. With this in mind, you should also remember that stealing just like any other crime is punishable by the law and therefore if you do not want to face the damaging consequences of theft, make sure you follow the rules of avoiding theft.
  • This can be done by taking time to read an original source and then use your understanding to write the paper properly. Once you stick to this, you can be sure to avoid the consequences of plagiarism. You can also make use of online plagiarism checkers that could help you correct instances of plagiarism before submitting your work.