How to Avoid Plagiarism
Plagiarism is a growing problem in universities (Matheson & Starr 2013) and becoming too common in the scientific world (Ober et al. 2012). Hence it is important for students as well as researchers to know how to avoid plagiarism. Before discussing the ways to avoid plagiarism, this paper discusses the definition, the types and reasons for plagiarism.
“Copying’ or “borrowing” someone else’s words or ideas may perhaps be the more inoffensive way of explaining plagiarism. However, these two terms may deliver a connotation that plagiarism is not much of a serious offense. Whether the act of plagiarising is intentional or unintentional, it is considered as a fraud. In an academic setting plagiarism may even lead to failure in a course or expulsion. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary provides a more serious definition of plagiarism as to “plagiarize” means: •
to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own •
to use (another’s production) without crediting the source •
to commit literary theft
to present as new and original idea or product derived from an existing source
Nevertheless, the Council of Writing Program Administrators (WPA) believes that the definition of plagiarism needs to be easy and direct in relation to the context it is intended. The definition used by Council of WPA as applicable to texts published in print or online and to the work of students is as the following:
“In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses
someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common knowledge) material
without acknowledging the source” In the definition above, it is important to know what common knowledge because the use of common knowledge in academic writing without acknowledging the source is not considered as plagiarism. Hence, common knowledge can be simply explained as a knowledge that is common or known to the “world” rather than simply common or familiar...
References: Ferree, C. W., & Pfeifer, H. L. 2011. The “write” stuff: Simple techniques designed to teach students how to avoid plagiarism. Journal of Criminal Justice Education 22(2): 286- 303.
Gerdy, K. 2004. Law student plagiarism: why it happens, where it’s found, and how to find it. BYU Educ. & LJ: 431-440
Graham-Matheson, L., & Starr, S. 2013. Is it cheating–or learning the craft of writing? Using Turnitin to help students avoid plagiarism. Research in Learning Technology 21: 1-13
Ober, H., Simon, S. I., & Elson, D. 2012. Five simple rules to avoid plagiarism. Annals of biomedical engineering: 1-2.
Plagiarism 101 by plagiarism.org at http://plagiarism.org/plagiarism- 101/prevention/ [9 May 2013]
Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices by Council of Writing Program Administrators at www.wpacouncil.org [9 May 2013]
Referencing by Cape Peninsula University of Technology at http://libguides.library.cput.ac.za/content_mobile.php?pid=343006&sid=3274934 [10 May 2013]
Plagiarism and ESL: An Overview by Purdue Online Writing Lab at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/958/01/ [5 May 2013]
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