What is plagiarism?
The word plagiarism derives from the Latin word “plagiarius” that means kidnapper. In this case we are not dealing with kidnapping a person, but rather stealing the idea or words of someone else. Thoughts and words of persons are considered as personal property; therefore, plagiarism is considered as an academic offence.
While copying other people’s ideas or words, pupils and students do not dedicate time to come up with ideas of their own. It is important for pupils and students to learn how to properly research a topic and to properly paraphrase the literature they are using. This skill will be useful to you during elementary school, high school, university, work, etc.
Universities are known to be strict regarding plagiarism. If you are expelled from a university, it will be very hard to get accepted into another one, thus you will have to pay attention how to research and how to cite your sources.
Some ways of plagiarism:
- Submitting a research paper that was not written by you
Some students get different research papers from the internet, and some others ask others to write it. Both ways are considered plagiarism, because the ideas and written words does not belong to the person submitting it.
- Copying other people ideas and words without citing the author
When you are researching about a topic, it might happen that you will find exactly what you need in different books or magazines. But copying that material without citing the author is considered plagiarism.
- Wrongly citing the real source where the quote was found
You will have to pay attention to the source (book, magazine, newspaper, etc.) where the material was taken from. In this case, you will not wrongly cite the source.
- Copying photos/videos/music from internet
Plagiarism is also considered when you are taking photos, videos and music from internet and you are not citing the author. If you are including photos or videos in your research paper, you will have to pay attention to whom the author’s rights belong.
It might sound strange, but you will be accused for plagiarism even if you are using your own words from previous research papers without citing them. This happens because you can not be rewarded twice for the same work.
How to avoid plagiarism?
Paraphrasing is when you are reading and understanding a sentence. Then with your own words incorporate that in your research paper. It is important not to forget that if you use more than two words from the original sentence that is considered plagiarism.
This is the best possible way to avoid plagiarism. There are different citation styles that are being used in schools, universities or research institute such as MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, etc. Based on the citation style, you will have to cite different information such as the name of the author, the title, the date and the place of publication.
When you are using this type of citation, you will have to take the original sentence and put it in quotes. If you are not using quotes, that will be considered plagiarism.
Another effective way to avoid plagiarism is including a reference page at the end of your research paper. This reference page must meet the citation style you used in your research paper such as MLA, APA, etc.