Plagiarism: Academic Crime and How to Avoid it

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Plagiarism is a cankerworm of academic life. It’s quite an easy concept, but very detrimental.

Let me briefly explain what plagiarism is.

To plagiarize simply means to steal another person’s idea or part of work and deliberately use it as your own without acknowledging the source.

But why exactly it is considered to be so bad and immoral? And it is really considered immoral and a serious offense. In situation a sample plagiarized essay is found or discovered, it may lead to very unpleasant consequences; the higher the position of the offender is, the more unpleasant they are.

The two major harms caused by plagiarism:

1.Plagiarism is as simple as stealing and lying

You are  just stealing another person’s work and trick somebody into believing it was you who had competently written it, which is as immoral as any other kind of theft is.

It simply means that somebody had actually spent time and effort in order to create something beneficial, while you did nothing but ripping it off and submitting it.

2.Plagiarism is a crime you commit against yourself.

If you are a student studying at any educational institution, there are certain tasks you are given in order to ensure that you learn something.

And when you succumb to plagiarism, you undo all these efforts for, instead of actually doing something and understanding it in process, you use other people’s work and the required amount of experience that you were supposed to get just misses you.

Indeed, plagiarism is a very serious offense. At the university level it will usually get you an F on your assignment.

If you continue plagiarizing, you may even get kicked out of the institution.

The penalties vary outside the academy.

Being caught plagiarizing definitely hurts your reputation and you might lose your job or pay for damages as deemed right.

But you shouldn’t  be an original?

Obey the law just to avoid getting caught or molested.  If you ever value original thoughts, personal integrity, and scholarly research, then you will naturally do everything possible to avoid plagiarism. That’s why it’s very crucial to cite your sources and know how to integrate quotations properly.

Well, you might think that you would never plagiarize. But know thatmany plagiarism cases are the result of negligence, ignorance, or a lack of self-confidence.

Below are the reasons why even good students sometimes plagiarize:

*Last minute panic: When some students don’t devote enough time  to think on what they are asked to do or not starting the work earlier usually leads to tension and subsequently plagiarism.

*Feelings of inadequacy: low self-esteem or self-confidence  results to plagiarism.

The way out of this, is believing in yourself and doing your best. And if you must use someone else’s work, always do it right.

*Slavishly copying someone’s ideas, often in the same order: This is piracy and subsequently plagiarism. Avoid it in all means.

*Working on an assignment with others and handing in similar papers citing sources in the bibliography, but not in the paper itself: This leads to plagiarism. Try to be unique.

Why should you avoid plagiarism?

Plagiarism is  not good. It is an ethical issue. For instances, when a writer submits plagiarized work, he is committing theft with the hope of benefiting from that theft. This is real fact whether you are turning in a school paper to get an “A” or you are a writer by trade expecting monetary compensation.

Making efforts to voiding plagiarism is important as a writer, because it leads to compromising your integrity. And apart from losing the respect of your mentors and contemporaries, it could cost you valuable professional referrals and future career advancement.

As a student  still in school,it may result in lost financial aid or leadership roles.

# It devours or takes credit/profit away from the original creator of the work which may mean more trouble if the source takes legal action against you.

# To website owners, it damages SEO,lose website traffics and also destroys reputation

5 simple ways to avoid plagiarism

You are here?  You want to avoid plagiarism? Wow! That is a bold step. I like that.

Well,it’s not hard at all. Now that you have a foundational understanding of what plagiarism is, avoiding plagiarism will actually be easier for you to do.

Here are how to avoid plagiarism in your writing:

1.Cite the  source you use in your writing:

Whenever you are using an idea or wording that’s not your own, make sure you add a citation in your writing that reveals the full name of the source, the date the work was published, and any other citation element that’s required by the style guide you’re adhering to.

2.Include quotations in your writing

If you are using other people ’s words or works into your writing verbatim, it’s better  to avoid plagiarism by using quotation marks around the text to denote that the words aren’t your own.

Moreover, a direct quote should also cite the source so that readers know who the quote is from. It invigorates the reader that you are good in writing.

3.Try paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is the act of rewriting a source’s ideas or information using  your own words without changing its original meaning. But try to be very careful—paraphrasing can turn into plagiarism if not done properly.  

Correct paraphrasing without plagiarizing involves a series of step. Understand the basics of grammar.  That would help you to reword and format your article in an original way, and try to avoid using too many similar words or phrases from the source.

Be careful not to alter the meaning of the idea itself when you’re paraphrasing. Note that you’re still using another person’s  idea, therefore, you’ll need to include a citation to the source.

4.Present your own idea Clearly

Instead of wasting your energy pirating other  people’s ideas or words, explore the creativity in you,what you have to say about it.

Sit down for a while. Ponder deeply on what you want to write about.  Then ask yourself what unique perspective or point you can contribute in your article that’s entirely your own. Bear in mind that if you’re using other source’s ideas or words to frame your own point, you’ll still need to apply the guidelines above to avoid plagiarizing.

Whenever you’re writing on the same topic for multiple assignments, don’t be tempted to recycle some of your previous words—this is called “self-plagiarism”. And the risk involved with self-plagiarism is just as high if the publisher or your instructor didn’t give you  chance or permission to reuse your old work.

5.Use a plagiarism checker

Whenever you are in doubt that you might have plagiarized, try using an online plagiarism checking tools. They  can help you sort out these issues before submitting your work.

There are several online plagiarism checkers; some are paid while some are free.   These tools let you know the areas or parts of your writing that are plagiarized—and there are  some that can even highlight the specific words or sentences of concern and identify where the text originated from. For instance, this does that!

Ignorance is never an excuse. Always cite your good sources and present your own argument perfectly. Let us join hands together to make a better academic world.

U.N Sampson Demian

About Post Author


A blog scientist by the mind and a passionate blogger by heart. A practicing Health specialist(pharmacist assistant & Registered Midwife). Motivational speaker & philanthropist by calling.Life motto: Live while you can! Teach & inspire while you could & smile while you have the teeth. Leaving no man better and happier than I met.
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