Many things make an essay a good one. Of course, it includes the style, research, logical integrity, etc. But what many students tend to forget is uniqueness. Plagiarism is a serious offense in the academic world that can lead to significant consequences.
The majority of students think that they do not need to worry about it as they do not simply copy and paste their essays. But plagiarism is a more complex issue and it often happens accidentally. But one will still be subject to penalty, even if plagiarism happened due to a lack of focus or knowledge.
That’s why it is essential to know what plagiarism means, when it might happen, and how to avoid it.
What is Considered Plagiarism?
According to Oxford Dictionary to plagiarize means to use someone else’s ideas and words and pretend like they are your own. It includes words, terms, opinions that a person presents without acknowledging the original author.
First of all, it is the question of ethics. To put it simply, it is stealing someone’s work. Secondly, it is illegal and, depending on the situation, it can also result in legal actions.
Plagiarism ruins scientist’s integrity and reputation. And when it comes to students, it shows that they have not been working on their essay hard. If caught, you will fail your assignment at the very least. At worst, there might be other consequences, up to being expelled.
And even if you do not intentionally use someone’s words or ideas without crediting, it can happen just because a student is not careful enough.
It is not always easy to avoid plagiarism. Some students prefer to delegate this task to professional service EssayPro.com, which can help with plagiarism, editing, and writing any type of academic paper. It is a valid option that ensures great results. After all, experts will take care of it and you do not have to worry about a thing.
Types of Plagiarism
To understand how to avoid it, one should start with all the types of stealing that can happen in an essay or other academic paper.
This is word-for-word stealing. This is the most straightforward type of offense when someone just copies and pastes something to their paper. It is extremely easy to spot for a professor. There is always a change of writing style and wording. And, of course, if something sounds too good to be coming from a second-year student - it probably is.
Coping from Internet
Another mistake many students make is copying from internet sources without referencing them. These are not books or original peer-reviewed articles, so students think that they are good to go. But it is not the case. Even if you copy an idea from a YouTube video, it can still be considered plagiarism.
All the sources one uses should be referenced in the essay, whether it is a blog post or podcast.
Some might think that changing the wording will help them pass other’s work as their own. But if you do not credit the author, it is still considered a case of misconduct. Especially, if paraphrasing leads to misrepresentation of original work or new interpretations. It is important to always reference the source, even if you alter the exact wording.
This happens when several students work on a project or one gets help from another student. So you are not stealing ideas from other researchers, but you still incorporate other people’s work and call it your own.
In such a case, plagiarism might occur accidentally. For example, a student didn’t reference the source correctly or forgot to include it in the bibliography. It is completely normal to cite sources, but make sure that the quotation is correct.
This is the most surprising one for many students. But if you recycle and use your previous work, it is still considered plagiarism. It shows the lack of effort to complete the essay. And general lack of motivation and interest in the subject. In the case of scientific publications, it can lead to copyright issues. So if you cite your work, you need to reference it too.
The main issue with all of these is that any scientific writing is based on the work of other researchers. Whether it is an essay, a term paper, or a thesis, proper research is a necessary step. Students read several sources and instances to understand the topic better.
How to Avoid Plagiarism?
Even though it is a serious problem, there are several things one can do to avoid it. It just takes some time and extra effort to make sure that everything is done properly.
There are several steps a student can take to make sure that their essay is unique and doesn’t misrepresent the work of others.
Keep Track of All Sources
One of the main reasons why plagiarism can happen unintentionally is that you do a lot of research. You read all the articles, books, posts about the subject and just lose track of them. After some time digging in heaps of information, a student might forget where they’ve stumbled upon a particular idea.
So the best preventive measure is to always keep track of what you are reading. Make a file with all the sources and references, you might use them for works cited later. And if a particular idea seems relevant for an essay, highlight it and put the reference in the draft immediately.
If it is an internet source, like a video or podcast, also put the link in the draft.
Define Common Knowledge
Some might do the mistake of referencing absolutely everything in their essay just to avoid plagiarism. It is not necessary. After all, the goal of academic writing is to show your ability to think independently and make a conclusion based on the provided information.
If your essay looks like a mosaic of references, there is little to no space left for original content.
It is crucial to define what common knowledge is and what the author’s opinion is. A piece of common knowledge is something everyone can agree on without verification. For example, London is the capital of Great Britain. It is common knowledge and you do not need any references for that.
But if you want to say something like “London fire 1666 has severely influenced culture and outlook of the city” you’ll need proof or reference. It is not an obvious fact and needs some backing up.
Quote and Paraphrase
These are two main ways to include other people’s ideas and words in your essay without violating anything. You need to form it clearly and put a reference in the text and full acknowledgment in the works cited section.
Quoting is relevant when you need to put a text word-by-word in. Use quotation marks and do not change anything in the original. Put a reference right after or before the quotation.
Make sure that you do not go overboard with it. Quotations are appropriate if you cite something unique or quote the author of original terms or concepts. Students can also use it when it is impossible to paraphrase. Or in case you want to maintain the original writer’s style.
Paraphrasing is another way to put something in your essay. You can take the most essential part of the information from the source and reference it.
There are no quotation marks, but it is important to make sure that you present the message correctly. It is sometimes better than quoting as it shows that students worked with the material and understood it enough.
Use Plagiarism Checker
Another great tip is to always check all of your writing with plagiarism detection software before submitting it. It helps to make sure that everything is perfect.
Several online platforms offer plagiarism checkers, like the SMALL SEO tool. Grammarly also has such functionality but only if you get the premium subscription.
How can it help? Such software shows the overall uniqueness rating and similar source if there are any. For example, if you didn’t paraphrase enough and the sentence is still too close to the original, it will get flagged as plagiarism. You can choose whether to use a quotation or edit the text a bit more.
There are also cases when you write an original idea but it happens to be very similar to something said before. Plagiarism detection software will highlight it and offer you to edit the writing.
It is a simple but very important step that helps a ton.
Plagiarism is a severe offense in academia. It is against the ethics and morals of fair research. But it also shows to the professor one’s lack of responsibility, motivation, and desire to work on your essay.
The main goal of any academic writing is not to present someone else’s ideas, but to form your own opinion. That’s why one needs to make sure that their paper is unique.
Always keep track of your sources, use proper references, put them in works cited, and make use of online software. And if you do not want to deal with it, leave it to professionals.