What is Plagiarism – Complete Guide

What is Plagiarism

Writing a research paper or other form of academic writing might be a daunting task. You spend much time and effort to produce high-end work and pass your grades. Now, can you imagine the pain of getting a call or email that your work content is available somewhere else with a different author?

It might frustrate you. Such offenses are called plagiarism acts; ever heard of it? Do not worry if this is new to you.

There are many definitions of plagiarism available on the Internet. However, we can say plagiarism is the exercise of taking someone else’s thoughts or ideas and making them your own without giving credit to the respective source. Plagiarism can have serious consequences for students and researchers, even when it’s done accidentally. It is a form of cheating. And did you know it comes with serious legal penalties?

Why Does Plagiarism Matter?

Plagiarism is a solid matter in academic institutions, media, blogs, and many other niches. Several reasons why plagiarism is a big deal might include:

  • Work integrity is crucial in academic papers

Scholars and academic professionals play crucial roles in human information. They do in-depth research and narrow the gaps in research studies. As a beginner or intermediate writer, you are only required to detail your understanding of the expert work. And this means your analysed work needs to come out original from the primary source.

You can try different ways to ensure academic integrity, including giving sources, crafting examples to support your information, logically presenting your ideas, and shun from copy-pasting. We shall look more into these methods of avoiding plagiarism below.

  • Citing your sources is mannerly

You might think duplicating portions of someone’s work is not a pretty bad thing. But it is a serious and disrespectful action when you do not ask for permission or give credits to the owner. If you use another person’s ideas in your work and do not give them credit this is called academic dishonesty.

  • Important to critically analyse your work

Most times, your instructor might assign you tasks that need critical research and analysis. You have no option but to rely on different online sources, connect the meanings, and draw solid conclusions. Even when dealing with experts’ work, you can develop questions while utilising their information.

  • Dishonesty in writing devalues one’s ideas

Plagiarism has been here since the olden ages. Some of these offenders get individual penalties for their actions. While others might get lucky and escape this serious crime – it might, however, devalue the original author’s efforts. Others might even lose honors or spoil their reputation from their learning institutions.

  • Writing acts as a form of conversation

Almost all forms of writing involve responding, discussing, and drawing conclusions on content from other authors. When you use citations, it proves that you have permission from other writers. And you have done thorough research, and even your readers can fetch information with the help of the citations list. When you draw your conclusions at this time, you might have fewer plagiarism problems.

Types of Plagiarism

There are different types of plagiarism. Some of the popular ones might include:

Popular Types of Plagiarism

  • Paraphrasing

It is a popular type of plagiarism where a student alters a phrase or sentence but still maintains the sentence structure of the original work. Paraphrasing is mostly committed in the academic world. Most learners employ this technique to trick their professors into detecting the duplicated sources, which might not work in most cases.

Instructors rely on the sources in their work to spot matching content. But, if you leave out the citations, it might be tough to detect plagiarised sections.

Paraphrasing and putting your sources is ideally not cheating.

  • Verbatim plagiarism

Verbatim plagiarism comes along when you use the copy-paste technique from someone’s work to your own and lacking attribution. When your assignment has a similar sentence structure and most words, you produce a plagiarised work. If you opt to eliminate or change several words, you are still omitting verbatim plagiarism.

If you desire to use someone’s exact words, you can enclose the copied content in quotes. And remember to include some in-text citations.

  • Deliberate plagiarism

The type of plagiarism has been common for multiple years. Deliberate plagiarism is where a student intentionally submits another person’s work as his content. One of the plagiarism forms that come with heavy penalties – is because the affected individual shows clear traces of indiscipline and laziness.

  • Mosaic plagiarism

Mosaic plagiarism also referred to as patchwork plagiarism, is a type of cheating where a student uses synonyms to transform some original content into personalized sentence structures. Most times, learners only alter a few sentence structures and retain the primary meaning of the content.

It is simple to trick your instructor with the mosaic plagiarism act. Alongside that, it is more effective than the verbatim plagiarism form. However, it might be difficult to beat this cheating on the Turnitin platform.

  • Misleading attribution

The plagiarism type mostly involves students failing to detail solid and supporting citations while writing their write-ups. Rather than giving out three sources on the bibliography sections, students only give a single source. It raises suspicious activities when your institution professor goes through your work. And this negligence might get you into serious trouble.

  • Accidental plagiarism

As the name sounds, accidental plagiarism is where a student mistakes views of different authors. The citations might also be missing, and the student might have to paraphrase from a whole different source.

The lack of knowledge might affect the plagiarism score and the student’s overall performance on the graded assignment. You can shun accidental plagiarism by putting your references correctly before submitting your work. Or, you can use online tools to generate your references automatically.

  • Self-plagiarism

Self-plagiarism is all about re-submitting your previous work. Even though you own credits to that assignment, you might be cheating when you re-use it for a different program or study.

Some other different methods of self-plagiarism might include using a similar sentence structure from an earlier course program. If you are paraphrasing your work, remember to cite your references to make it original. Or consult your instructor to comply with the university self-plagiarism policies.

Avoiding Plagiarism

You can avoid getting in trouble due to plagiarism by following the below methods to overcome plagiarism.

  • Be aware

You cannot escape something unless you know the definite details about it. It applies the same when it comes to plagiarism. Being aware of plagiarism is the ultimate step of avoiding it. And for your information, most plagiarism cases are due to unawareness or not knowing there are legal actions involved.

It would be wise to go through the different types of plagiarism alongside its repercussions.

  • Use citation

Citations are mandatory, either within the text or at the footnote when you employ quotes or paraphrase your work. Normally, these citations have the publication year and page numbers.

Remember these citations need to match with the details on the reference list or bibliography. With the vast citation styles, you can use the one instructed by your professor. Some of the popular citation styles might include Chicago, APA, and MLA styles.

  • Paraphrase your work

While gathering information online, rephrase your work and bring out a similar meaning. Avoid using synonyms during the paraphrasing. Only alter the sentence structure and the work content. It would help if you had an elegant choice of words to avoid plagiarised content on your assignment.

  • Use quotes

Quoting enables you to use someone’s exact words in your work. You can start with your own words, followed by enclosing the copied content within the quotes. Then, finalize by attributing the source.

  • Utilize online plagiarism checking tools

Most learning institutions utilize online plagiarism checkers to scan their students’ documents and detect the originality of their work. There are many options online that vary on budget and accuracy.

Students can pass their work through these tools before submission to confirm the work’s integrity. In case of missing quotes, the plagiarism checker will highlight the affected work. These tools provide an elegant guideline on how to fix the duplicated issue.

Also read: Is Plagiarism a Crime?

How is Plagiarism Detected?

Academic tutors have different ways how to detect plagiarism in their students’ work.

  1. Professors are high-skilled individuals with significant knowledge depth. So, when you use ambiguous jargon word that exceeds your education level, it might be easier for your instructor to detect plagiarism. If you are using published ideas, remember to cite your sources as discussed above.
  2. With the consistent assignments done in school, your tutor is certainly familiar with your writing style. When you copy-paste online content in a specific assignment, your lecturer will notice the work is not original at all.
  3. Tutors critically check on the sources in your work. If the citations, paraphrasing, and quotations do not align with the sources list, the instructor will raise some plagiarism concerns.
  4. The existence of Google today made anything possible. Your lecturers also use this online searching tool to look for duplicated content. If you deliberately cheated your term paper, you will be held liable for plagiarising your academic work.
  5. Lastly, almost all tutors have access to services from plagiarism checkers. They use these tools when marking your assignment, and your grade will depend on the plagiarism score on these online tools.

Online Plagiarism Checkers

Plagiarism checkers can be free or might include service costs. Some of the popular online plagiarism checkers to suit your writing or academic needs might include:

  • Grammarly

The platform is among the cream tools for detecting plagiarism across the Internet. Top universities trust Grammarly for its automation and elegant proofreading of documents. The trusted website contains a reliable repository and has access to ProQuest’s database – to look for similar content in a million web pages.

It immediately highlights duplicated sections in a document together with the referenced links. Some of the documents you can use on Grammarly might include academic, business, and other writing styles like novels. Alongside that, the platform can also detect grammatical and spelling errors.

You can begin using Grammarly through a browser, an application, or integrating it as an add-in on Microsoft Word or Outlook software. However, the free Grammarly version cannot detect the uniqueness of your assignment.

  • Quetext

The plagiarism checker was initiated as a basic tool for detecting duplicated content. With the consistent updates, the software has more advanced features and has grown its popularity. Quetext has a simple user interface and contains both free and paid versions. The platform is suitable for teachers, content writers, and students.

Quetext’s paid version utilises DeepSearch Technology that allows intensive searching for copied content.

  • Copyscape

If you are for software speed, then Copyscape might be an effective option. It takes mere seconds to check for duplicated contents. You can key in your URL, and the platform will display websites containing the copied content. Copyscape has unique features – it can point out the respective details of the individual who posted the copied content online.

  • Duplichecker

Duplichecker is a free plagiarism checker that all writers and instructors need to have. If you have a blog to submit to your boss, you can rely on this platform. It is simple to use – you need to copy-paste your work to a text box when checking for content plagiarism.

The ultimate challenge with the Duplichecker site is that you cannot upload content exceeding 1000 words.

  • Peachy Essay plagiarism checker

The UK-leading plagiarism checker uses modern technology to detect the uniqueness of an essay, resume, and even website. Peachy Essay plagiarism checker is a free tool that utilizes algorithms to help with looking for duplicated content.

The good thing about this software is that it has no word limit. After scanning your document, you get a report of your plagiarism score. Also, the software has high-qualified and trained writers who ensure elegant customer satisfaction. For high-quality work, you can trust Peachy Essay plagiarism checker services.

Is Paraphrasing Considered Plagiarism?

Paraphrasing is not an act of plagiarism. However, you might be held liable for a plagiarism offence when you fail to credit the source. It will be useful to cite your sources well and provide a relevant reference list. Always remember to put your words while paraphrasing your work carefully.

Are Plagiarism Checkers Accurate?

The accuracy of a plagiarism checker depends on the respective tool you are using. These tools vary in the size of the database and the in-built algorithms. You need to go for software that scans across all sources; books, journals, and websites to get accurate results.

Concerning the algorithm factor, pick software that can detect all types of plagiarism, including mosaic plagiarism.