What Is Plagiarism? In Search of Clear and Definitive Answers

what-is-plagiarismThe word plagiarism is frequently used by educators and researchers. Moreover, students are continuously reminded that this form of academic dishonesty is almost always penalized. However, people who have only started their college studies often cannot answer a question such as “What is plagiarism?” The understanding of this concept is crucial in order to write a good paper.

What Is Plagiarism? Defining This Notion

There are many definitions and interpretations of plagiarism. As a rule, it is understood as representing the ideas of other people as one’s own. This definition is most often used in academia. Many students believe that plagiarizing means only using someone else’s words without providing an in-text citation. However, this is only one type of plagiarism, and there are many other forms, such as:

  1. Paraphrasing other people’s words without providing an in-text citation;
  2. Using a visual aid like a chart or a diagram without specifying its source;
  3. Including a fictional source in the reference list;
  4. Using excessive number of block quotations in the paper. Sometimes students use so many block quotations that their papers look like a compilation of quotes on a specific topic. From a legal point of view, it is not plagiarism, but such a paper is most likely to receive a failing grade.
  5. Submitting a paper written by someone else.

As you can see, there are different types of plagiarinone of them is in any acceptable. You can check you paper against this list to make sure that it does not contain plagiarism in any of its forms.

What Is Plagiarism and How to Avoid It?

what-plagiarism-isNow that you have a good idea of what plagiarism is, you probably want to know how to write good papers without plagiarizing. Overall, there are several things that students should do:

  1. First, students should understand that, by plagiarizing, they cheat themselves, rather than their instructors or teaching assistants. A person who plagiarizes misses an excellent chance to develop critical or analytical skills, which is an important goal of education.
  2. Secondly, students should always try to express even very complex ideas in their own words. This is one of the best ways of learning new things and avoiding plagiarism at the same time.
  3. You also need to provide in-text citations every time when you are borrowing some else’s ideas.
  4. Finally, you should make sure that every bibliography entry has at least one corresponding in-text citation in the body of your paper.


What Is Plagiarism? Follow-Up Thoughts

At this point, you can better answer the question “What is plagiarism?” You’ll have to write many academic papers and plagiarism shouldn’t be a part of any of them. This is the main thing that you should always keep in mind.

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