Plagiarism is considered a form of intellectual theft and fraud. It involves using someone else’s words or ideas and passing them off as your own by not providing credit, either deliberately or accidentally. However, it can also involve reusing your own work from a previous course, and passing it off as new work.

Plagiarism can include:

  • Copying and pasting from a source without enclosing the text in quotation marks and providing a citation.
  • Summarizing or rewording someone else’s ideas without providing a citation.
  • Reusing an assignment you submitted for a previous course.This is called self-plagiarism.
  • Submitting an assignment completed by someone else.
  • Collaborating on an assignment with a classmate or friend on an assignment meant to be completed individually.
  • Writing a paper that strings together quote after quote or paraphrases, even if cited correctly. Your work must include your own original expression of ideas. To add originality to your assignment, include your own critical analysis, interpretation, and examples.
  • Incorrect paraphrasing. When a paraphrase too closely resembles the original it is considered patchwriting. 

Plagiarism can be:

  • Accidental -Accidental plagiarism happens when you are not sure when to cite, paraphrase or quote. This tutorial is meant to help you understand when you need to cite! 
  • Blatant – This type of plagiarism happens when you purposefully use another person’s words and try to pass them off as your own.
  • Self – Self plagiarism occurs when you reuse a paper you wrote in a previous semester for a different course. You must submit original, new work for each course! 

So, there are several basic factors to consider when evaluating a case of possible plagiarism:

  1. Amount or quantity (full paper, a section of a paper, a page, a paragraph, a sentence, phrases)
  2. Use of quotation marks for all copied text.
  3. Appropriate placement of credit notices.
  4. Improper paraphrasing.

Follow these four steps to ensure your paper is free from plagiarism:

  1. Keep track of the sources you consult in your research.
  2. Paraphrase or quote from your sources (and add your own ideas).
  3. Credit the original author in an in-text citation and reference list.
  4. Use a plagiarism checker before you submit.

Examples of plagiarism

  • A writer decides that he wants to create an Internet website to generate ad revenue. Instead of writing his own articles, he visits twenty other websites that have articles on the topic in which he is interested. He copies each of the articles, changes the titles and the authors’ names to his name and posts the articles on his own website.
  • An academic is expected to publish papers but he doesn’t have time to research because of family obligations. He looks through old professional journals in another country and he copies a 10-year-old article from someone else in the field. He submits the article as his own and hopes that no one finds the article from which he copied.
  • A student is expected to write a book report about a book that his teacher has assigned. The student doesn’t want to read the book and is bored with the subject. He visits websites that provide reviews and book reports and he copies from each of the different book reports to create one report of his own.

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