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It is one of the horrors of modern academic professionals. Words such as fraud, unethical, stealing, and dishonesty have been used when describing plagiarism and point to the unpleasant nature of the act. Stories of student expulsions and suspensions a result of plagiarism are common all over the world. Employees have lost their jobs as a result of the vice. Some perpetrators of the unethical behavior might argue that they were wrongfully accused of plagiarism. In their understanding, the wrongful accusations of plagiarism can be attributed to the vast array of the definitions of plagiarism.
While it can be argued that some institutions regard plagiarism differently as compared to the rest of the academic world, plagiarism is a straight forward concept to understand.
Consequently, understanding the concept provides a basis by which individuals can learn to avoid committing plagiarism or be accused as a perpetrator of the same. According Plagiarism.org, (2019), one is considered to have plagiarised to another’s work if they submit the other persons work purporting to be theirs or adopting the words or ideas of another without including proper credit.
Further, plagiarism also consists of giving false credit as the source of information and quoting someone’s work without adding quotation marks. One might assume that as long as you have given credit to the source, one can copy the structure and ideas of a source and still purport the work to be original. However, duplicating concepts from a source so much that they form a significant component of your work despite giving credit is considered plagiarism.
The definition of plagiarism extends to other works of art such as videos, music, and images. The use or duplication of such media is subject to acquiring permissions from the copyright owners. Failure to obtain such permission with subsequent use of the press is also considered plagiarism.
The source of plagiarism as a concept can be traced back to use of the Latin word “plagiarius” which is a noun for a kidnapper. The word first appeared in the works of a roman poet in his complaint that a colleague had copied some of his poetic verses. Subsequently, people adopted the use of ‘plagiarius’ to refer to the action of stealing the work of someone else. Later in the year 1601, ‘plagiarius’ became part of the English language through Ben Jonson, a dramatist, who utilized the word to relate to perpetrators of literary theft (Maurer et al., 2006). Tracing the history of plagiarism, one understands that the concept is not new. Contrary to the opinions of modern students, plagiarism did not begin as a consequence of the internet and its applications in research. In my opinion, the internet has only acted as a catalyst in the widespread incidence of plagiarism cases. The internet and computer technology provide an easy source of information stored online. The data in these data repositories can be accessed by typing a few words in a search engine. Further, the cut and paste capabilities of most media and word related programs make it easier to commit plagiarism (Quinn, 2010).
However, in a classic example of sending a thief to catch a thief, computer programs also provide easy ways to detect plagiarism in its different forms. It is possible to identify different kinds of plagiarism from a particular document Using search engines and other programs specifically built to detect plagiarism. In particular, the act of cutting and pasting information from web pages is common but detectable via the internet (Zhang, 2010). Another form of plagiarism is verbatim where one duplicates the work of another word for word without proper indentation, quotation marks or cite references. Auto-plagiarism is another detectable form of piracy that involves submitting the work that you presented in other forums. Once the work is submitted, it is considered an independent publication and deriving information from the same must be referenced.
During the production of different artworks that includes writing, an individual can receive assistance from various professionals. In some instances, the support provided by tutors or professors can result in extensive changes in the write-up. Failure to acknowledge such write up is considered plagiarism. Incorrect or inaccurate citation of sources can also be regarded as plagiarism. Research work and other forms of writing should contain only contain references that the author has accessed and consulted (Neville, 2010).
Further, it is critical to inform the audience whether the borrowed ideas are from secondary or primary sources. The different forms of plagiarism can make it difficult for authors to avoid the vice in their writing. The plagiarism trap is however avoidable by employing a few strategies. One of the most common strategies is to include a reference page at the end of write-ups. Reference entries should adhere to formatting guidelines provided by institutions. References should be preceded by appropriate citation and quotation based on the institution’s formatting guidelines (Neville, 2010).
Another strategy that can be employed is paraphrasing information from other sources. Paraphrasing entails reading the work of others and rewriting the information in your own words. One must remember writing two subsequent words together in the same manner as from the source requires quotation marks. Additionally, proper citation of tables, figures, and images used in any publication is critical in ensuring that write-ups are not plagiarised. In some instances, one might copy the ideas or words of another writer without realizing. Consequently, one must ensure they proofread articles and check for plagiarism before submitting the papers. The internet provides various platforms through which one can test for potentially plagiarised content.
Despite understanding the various forms of plagiarism, challenges still exist in the field of research. The nature of any study in its advanced form is that the scholars rely on the works of others to identify gaps that result in new reviews. Additionally, scholars can utilize the work of colleagues to falsify or verify ideas or as it is commonly known as a thesis. Reading through different scholarly articles, one might realize that there is always a thesis accompanied by a series of quotes or ideas from other sources that are aimed at proving or disapproving the main idea (Helgesson & Eriksson, 2015).
In such a scenario, questions have been asked as to whether utilizing the opinions of others in such a context is regarded as plagiarism. It is worth noting that scholarly articles might contain a considerable number of out-sourced material so much so that the paper is filled with citations. Considering the amount of outsourced material on scholarly articles, questions have been put forward as to whether it is right to consider papers as plagiarised or non-plagiarized based on the number of outsourced material.
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