How to Avoid Unpremeditated Plagiarism in Academic Papers?

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Plagiarism is one of the manifestations of violation of academic standards. In case of writing, plagiarism is defined as the use of someone else’s text without a full link (that is, without specifying the name of the author and source of borrowing) or with links (still, the volume and nature of borrowing raise doubts regarding the authenticity of the academic paper performed).

Basically, there are Two Forms of Plagiarism:

  • the verbatim presentation of the text written by the other person, the full use of another object of copyright.
  • paraphrasing – the statement of the text of another person with the replacement of some words and expressions without changing the concept of the borrowed text.

According to experts, plagiarism can be conscious (deliberate) and non-deliberate. If the first type means aforethought stealing words and passing them off as yours, then the second is characterized by an incorrect source reference cited in work. The most obvious example is copying and pasting text from websites or presenting a work that was fully compiled by an e-generator or downloaded from a database of written works.

This is an obvious violation of honesty when a person copies another work in order to reduce the amount of the effort to write and process their own. A less obvious, but more frequent example is the situation when a student harmoniously introduces other people’s ideas into the written work but ignores providing the links to the author, and perhaps s/he doesn’t refer to the original. In such cases, students often say, “I had no idea that it was plagiarism! How can I be responsible for something I know nothing about?”

This can be explained by the example of obtaining a driver’s license. When obtaining it, a person agrees to comply with certain laws and regulations related to traffic safety for both the driver and the road users surrounding him. In order to get the DL, one learns all the rules and passes the test. Sitting behind the wheel, a person is responsible for the compliance of their actions with the current rules and laws governing traffic. “Ignoratia juris non excusat” that means “Ignorance does not exempt from liability.” You can disagree with these rules or laws and, of course, you can argue with them or work to change them. However, if you violate these, then you should be responsible for the consequences. The situation is similar to the academic community: when studying in such a community, participants agree to follow certain principles designed to promote creativity and conscientious work. That is why plagiarism, even unintentional one, is unacceptable.

When it comes to more practical tips for avoiding unpremeditated plagiarism, here is something we would like to stress:

  • Manage your time. Plagiarism is very tempting, especially when you are limited in time and experiencing stress.
  • Brainstorm before starting your research paper to let your thoughts unfold.
  • Memorize the “grammar” of academic honesty: plagiarism, paraphrasing, publicly available information, and so on. These are important terms, which you have to be aware of. If you have any questions, ask.
  • Learn how to quote and format the work correctly. One can find some help with academic papers at CustomWritings.
  • When you take notes while copying something word for word, always open quotation marks and indicate the source of the citation. Do not rely on your memory to be sure where the direct phrase is, and where your own interpretation is.
  • If you are not going to quote directly from the book, close the book. Do not keep it open before your eyes when you start writing.
  • Record the full source of information (author, title, web page, publisher, and date) each time you decide to use one of it. It is much easier to immediately notice this information to yourself than to look for it later and remember where the citation came from.
  • Learn to reformulate or rephrase quotes, rewriting them two to three times, avoiding repeating each time. Each time, the result will be less and less like the original.
  • Include a source of information in the bibliography even when you simply rephrased the information. Words may be yours, but the idea still comes from somewhere else.
  • Use online programs that can check the text for plagiarism for free or for a not very big fee.

And finally, no matter what you write, just keep in mind that prudence and careful checking are the best protection against unpremeditated plagiarism.