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Plagiarism in academic writing and how to avoid it

Avoiding Plagiarism in academic writing

When writing the paper, it is important to cite sources when in doubt and to make it clear who said what. Knowing who said what and when is also key so as to avoid an outdated citation.
Plagiarism is deception that encompasses:  pirating someone else’s work and not admitting it later. It is the practice of using someone else’s work and saying that you thought of it first or created it. Although there are unclear guidelines and rules between research and plagiarism, a student researching is required to acknowledge the author of certain words, phrases or data that have contributed to the originality of the student’s material. To avoid plagiarism therefore, one must acknowledge the original composer of ideas used in one’s material whether research or otherwise.  In academia plagiarism for students found guilty is punishable by suspension or expulsion. In other areas like journalism plagiarism is punishable by suspension or termination of employment. This clearly shows that plagiarism is a serious offence with some dire consequences and must be avoided at all costs. However paraphrasing and re-quoting of a material is important as it allows one to add their own ideas and statements too.

Plagiarism definition in academic writing

Plagiarism is stealing another person’s idea and passing it off as your own or creating a new product from an existing idea or product. However there are unclear rule and guidelines that define the difference between research, paraphrasing and plagiarism. Learning institutions consider plagiarism as a serious offence punishable by suspension, expulsion or failing a course. This is because the institution require a student to understand the unit without taking anyone else’s ideas and making them their own. This essay will explain the effects, types and how to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism can be an expensive crime to commit in the long run for anyone.
According to iParadigms, LLC. (2014), supposing to newspaper companies, company A and company B, a journalist from company A decides to copy words from a newspaper from company B and publishes them. Company A notices and decides to publicly defame company A or sue for plagiarism? Company A not only loses millions of shillings and customers but also the journalist, no matter how good at their job may be fired. Even when a writer paraphrases and adds their own words to the sources’ words, if not quoted and the source mentioned it is still considered plagiarism. Even though the writer’s words may be written in a completely different way, as long as the main idea of the paragraph/ phrase does not belong to the writer, credit must go to the original source and the source must be cited and acknowledged.

Types of Plagiarism

Direct plagiarism
A student copies word to word of another person’s work without citing the author. This is mostly common in assignments where one student does the work and other students copy from it because maybe they did not complete theirs on time or did not research enough.

This is copying work done by one’s self;submitting statements of an assignment handed in to another professor without permission from both professors, or handing in the same assignment to different professors without their permission.

Mosaic plagiarism
This is where the writer copies words from an author without quotation marks or citing the author of the phrases and statements. Sometime the writer may quote the author of the text but may quote them wrongly (wrong author to a quotation.)

Plagiarism can land one into a lot of problems. So citations are crucial in any research work done, to give credit where its due: if you did not write it yourself, you must give credit. If not cited even paraphrasing a person’s work may also be considered plagiarism.


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