Avoiding Plagiarism: What is Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is taking other people's work and passing it off as your own. Plagiarism is bad. How would you feel if someone took your words, images, data, ideas or anything else that belonged to you and pretended it was theirs? Plagiarism is a form of stealing, and as such, it's taken seriously by educational institutions. If you plagiarise and get caught, there may be serious consequences, and not just in college either:
Both Mr. Biden and Herr Guttenburg asserted that their plagiarism was accidental, arising simply from mistakes made during the referencing process, thus revealing just how important it is to reference your sources correctly.
Given the consequences then, perhaps then the definition of plagiarism should be revised to read:
Plagiarism is taking other people's work and passing it off as your own either accidentally or deliberately.
Here are some examples of types of plagiarism:
- Copying words, ideas, images or other material from someone else without giving them credit
- Failing to cite all of your sources
- Failing to provide citations for material because you believe it is "common knowledge" when it actually isn't
- Minor paraphrasing of other's work - simply making like-for-like word substitutions, while keeping the sentence structure and flow intact
- Not using quotation marks for quotations - this is considered plagiarism even if you reference the source, because the words you have used are not yours
- Paraphrasing or summarising others' ideas or words but not citing the source
- Stitching together bits and pieces of work from multiple sources, and representing it all as your own original work - this is called "patchwork" plagiarism
- Submitting part or all of a piece of your work for multiple assignments, even if it is original and correctly referenced - this is called "self-plagiarism"
There are several ways to avoid plagiarism:
- Direct quotation - using quotation marks "" to let your readers know you're using someone else's words
- Paraphrasing - rewriting the words of others in your own words and style
- Summarising - writing a brief overview of someone else ideas
- Always citing your sources - every time you use the words, ideas or any other material that is not your own, you must
- provide a citation in the text (author, date) where you use the material
- provide a citation in your reference list (full publication details)
- Managing your time well - You might be tempted to plagiarise if you:.
Make a plan for your assignment and get started early. If you don't understand what you're supposed to do, then talk to your tutors. Stress is trickier to manage, but talk to people - family, friends, counsellors
- are stressed:
- near a deadline
- don't understand the assignment
These pages will give examples of plagiarism and will also show you how to avoid it.
After looking at this section you should be able to:
- Define plagiarism and know different types of plagiarism
- Avoid plagiairsm by:
- Using quotations from sources properly
- Paraphrasing sources properly
- Summarising sources