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Plagiarism is the act of representing an individual's or organization's words, ideas or thoughts as one's own. Plagiarism is a form of fraud. Plagiarism refers to presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own, with or without their consent, by incorporating it into your work without full acknowledgement. All published as well as unpublished material, whether in manuscript, printed or electronic form, is covered under this definition. Plagiarism may be intentional or reckless, or unintentional. Under the regulations for examinations, intentional or reckless plagiarism is a disciplinary offence. Plagiarism is a breach of academic integrity. It is a principle of intellectual honesty that all members of the academic community should acknowledge their debt to the originators of the words, ideas, and data which form the basis for their own work. Passing off another’s work as one own’s is not only poor scholarship, but also means that one has failed to complete the learning process. Plagiarism is unethical and can have serious consequences for one’s future career; it also undermines the standards of the institution and of the degrees it issues.

Types of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is stealing and it represents information illiteracy. There are various types of plagiarism and all are serious violation of academic honesty. The different types of plagiarism are discussed below: -

  • Direct plagiarism- Direct plagiarism is the word-for-word transcription of a section of someone else’s work, without attribution and quotation marks. The deliberate plagiarism of someone else's work is academically dishonest, unethical, and grounds for disciplinary actions, including expulsion.
  • Self-Plagiarism- Self-plagiarism occurs when a student submits his or her own previous work, or mixes parts of previous works, without permission from all professors involved. Self-plagiarism also applies to submitting the same piece of work for assignments in different classes without previous permission from both the professors.
  • Mosaic Plagiarism- Mosaic Plagiarism occurs when a student borrows phrases from a source without using quotation marks, or finds synonyms for the author’s language while keeping to the same general structure and meaning of the original. This type of plagiarism is sometimes called “patch writing,” this kind of paraphrasing, whether intentional or not, is academically dishonest and punishable – even if a student footnote the source.
  • Accidental Plagiarism- Accidental plagiarism occurs when a person neglects to cite their sources, or misquotes their sources, or unintentionally paraphrases a source by using similar words, groups of words, and/or sentence structure without attribution. Students must learn how to cite their sources and to take careful and accurate notes when doing research. Lack of intent does not absolve the student of responsibility for plagiarism. Cases of accidental plagiarism are taken as seriously as any other plagiarism and are subject to the same range of consequences as other types of plagiarism.
  • Paraphrasing Plagiarism- This is the most common type of plagiarism. It involves the use of someone else’s writing with some minor changes in the sentences and using it as one’s own. Even if the words differ, the original idea remains the same and plagiarism occurs.
  • Inaccurate Authorship Plagiarism- This kind of plagiarism is of two types; in one form, when an individual contributes to a manuscript but does not get credit for it. The second form is when an individual gets credit without contributing to the work. This type of plagiarism, whichever way it occurs, is a violation of the code of conduct in research.

Penalties or Consequences of Plagiarism

The penalties of plagiarism can be professional, ethical, personal, and legal. With plagiarism detection software so readily available and in use, plagiarists are being caught at an alarming rate. Once accused of plagiarism, a person will most likely always be regarded with suspicion. Ignorance is not an excuse. Plagiarists include academics, professionals, students, journalists, authors, and others. The penalties and consequences of plagiarism include: -

  • Plagiarism allegations can cause a student to be suspended or expelled.
  • Plagiarism can result in the work of student being destroyed.
  • Plagiarism can result in legal action; fines and penalties etc.

Potential ways to avoid Plagiarism

It’s easy to find information for most research papers, but it’s not always easy to add that information into the paper without falling into the plagiarism trap. Follow these simple steps to avoid plagiarism while writing the research paper.

  • Paraphrasing- Develop the ideas and opinions about different issues, which can be reinforced and supported with the research of other scholars. Along with this, know about the different ways which student can correctly and appropriately use other writers' or researchers' voices in the assignments.
  • Referencing- In order to reference correctly one need to understand the rules clearly. The various styles of referencing in use are Author-Date styles and Numbering styles. It's very important that one take the time to learn the rules, especially as different courses may require different referencing styles within either of these systems (for example, APA (American Psychological Association), Harvard, CIBA, Endnote, MLA.
  • Citing- Citing is one of the effective ways to avoid plagiarism. Follow the document formatting guidelines (i.e. APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) used by the educational institution or the institution that issued the research request. This usually entails the addition of the author(s) and the date of the publication or similar information.
  • Quoting- When quoting a source, use the quote exactly the way it appears. No one wants to be misquoted. Most institutions of higher learning frown on “block quotes” or quotes of 40 words or more. Quoting must be done correctly to avoid plagiarism allegations.

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