Plagiarism in educational circles has changed a lot in the last few decades. Before technology and plagiarism scanners, cheating was copying things from books and hoping that professors won’t find the original, or looking at your mate’s paper and copying their homework.
These days, with the Internet at our fingertips and a huge portion of the literature put online, plagiarism is more common than ever. But, not only is it easy to copy information – it is also very easy to get caught! Just like you have access to many resources to help you write your papers, professors have easy access to plagiarism detectors. If they catch you in the act, you’re in a lot of trouble!
Understanding Plagiarism: How to Avoid It in Your Papers
If you are a student, you need to be familiar with what comes under the internet plagiarism umbrella. What is internet plagiarism, really? This form of plagiarism is most common in college and university since the majority of students today find most their data on the Web. It’s easy to detect, too, even if the student used various sources and copied just small parts of the data. To avoid having such problems, there’s a simple solution – check for plagiarism before submitting your work. This will help you detect those problematic areas and remove plagiarism altogether.
Reality is, even if you learn all you can about this matter and try to avoid plagiarism, you can still do this unintentionally. This is why it’s always smart to scan your content before sending it out to the professor. It takes a very short time and will help you avoid big problems.
What is Considered Plagiarism in Academic Contexts
A lot of the time, students are assigned papers that require a certain amount of research. This means that they need to source – and mention information found in journals, online sources, books, and other materials in their work.
Here comes the main question – is this not plagiarism? When you speak of someone else’s work in your writing, aren’t you copying what they wrote?
Not necessarily. In academic circles, students are encouraged – and even expected to base their writing on relevant data to the topic they talk about. However, you can’t just copy and paste the things that others wrote into your own writing. That is plagiarism.
If you paraphrase the other person’s content into your own writing and make a reference so that readers can know where you found that information, that’s not considered plagiarism. This is how academics reference the work they use in their writing.
However, paraphrasing someone else’s work to avoid plagiarism without mentioning them as source of information can still get you in trouble. This is considered plagiarism. Even if your professor cannot detect it with the scanner, chances are they have read the original before, and will easily notice that you have rewritten someone else’s work.
Plagiarism and the New Standards for Citations
Research shows that 58% of students plagiarize at some point during their education. As the rate of plagiarism grows in academic circles, the citing requirements and standards change. These days, students are being asked to follow specific citation styles in their writing. Unless they know how to do this properly, they work can be categorized as plagiarism.
Citation refers to quoting or referencing someone else’s writing. Since a lot of the academic content is based on research, this is a necessity for students. To support your arguments and enrich your papers, you need to perform research on the topic and show that you’ve found relevant data in writing.
How do you do this and avoid plagiarizing the source information?
You do it by citing your sources. Depending on your mentor, academic institution, or the type of paper you are assigned, you’ll be asked to use a specific citation style in your writing. This can be APA, MLA, AMA, etc.
Basically, you’ll need to tell the reader where you found the information you are introducing. You can use a citation and mark this at the end of the page, the paper, or introduce the new information by telling who wrote it. For example, you can write: “John Doe in his work X has described this as follows”.
As long as you don’t copy content and cite your sources properly, you will never have problems with your instructors. Don’t forget to check your work with a scanner, too, to avoid unintentional plagiarism.
Scott Witter is an expert academic content writer. His job is to create custom, original content for students and other customers that need confidential, quality assistance. In addition to writing professionally for students, Scott also creates content for educational blogs and websites.