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Plagiarism is an unethical act in academics and there are serious consequences surrounding it. Sadly I didn't realize the harsh reality of plagiarism until I felt victim. I didn't intentionally plagiarize but I had to face the consequences. I unknowingly gave up work that was plagiarized. From the very moment I came from the meeting with my lecturer I saw the end of my university education. I kept wishing I could take back the work but it was too late. It was at that moment the harsh reality of plagiarism hit me.
I always heard about plagiarism but never paid it any mind, never cared about the consequences or even thought I would fall guilty but I was wrong. I was force to realize plagiarism is real and is a rather serious act. I was in big trouble and looking for a way out.
During my research I found out there are different types of plagiarism US University of Sussex explained;
This is when a piece of work is copied entirely from one or more sources. Even if the source(s) is acknowledged, and even properly referenced, it is still considered to be plagiarism as it contains no original work, or interpretation of the information, from the student.
This involves inserting sections of directly copied and unacknowledged source(s) within an assignment.
Copy and paste
the availability of information on the internet & electronic journals means that it is now easy to 'copy and paste' information into assignments. It is important that if such information is included in assignments that it is included in quotation marks ("....") and that it is properly referenced.
if you copy a sentence or paragraph into your assignment and change a few words it will still be considered to be plagiarism. It is better to paraphrase than to quote, and if you copy a phrase you should copy it word for word and use quotation marks.
Misinterpreting common knowledge
Common knowledge is information which is (a) well known to all in a particular field, (b) easily verified by consulting standard textbooks or encyclopedias, and not disputed, (c) undisputed historical facts, and (d) known formulas or equations.
if you have cited a piece of work from a text this does not mean you do not have to reference any other text you refer to from that work. No matter how many times you refer back to the text you must acknowledge the source, even if it is in the very next paragraph.
Self-plagiarism is when you re-use your own previously written work or data in a new assignment and do not reference it appropriately. If you use material from a previous assignment you must reference it appropriately. Never use the same essay for different lecturers. If re-sitting a course, do not submit the same essay.
Plagiarism can occur as a result of poor study skills, but it is still considered to be academic misconduct.
I never realize how easy it is to plagiarize. I never considered most of the above as plagiarism. After carefully going through the various types of plagiarism I realize that if one is not rather careful they can easily plagiarize and it's a lot of work to ensure your work is not plagiarize.
Having a clear Understanding of Plagiarism is important, if plagiarism is understood it might be easier to avoid. Plagiarism is very dangerous and is termed an act of fraudulence as it relates to academics, because it is the stealing of another's ideas or work and presenting it as your own. Plagiarism can prevent one from successfully completing their tertiary level education because it is not allowed by colleges and universities. Plagiarism doesn't only affect the person that plagiarizes it is harmful to the whole environment. Plagiarism can lead to an individual losing his/her degree. Colleges or universities can lose their accreditation and may develop a bad reputation or image for an individual and the school. It even leads to mistrust, I remember when I was told to do this assignment my lecturer made it clear he will be investigating this assignment to ensure it was not plagiaries. There and then I realize he didn't trust me and may never because of one silly mistake I made but I was to blame.
Avoiding plagiarism is the safest way to go but if plagiarism is not understood it can easily be commit. It is ok to use someone's opinion or idea but they should be given credit.
The writing centers at the University of Wisconsin- Madison outline the following to help avoid plagiarism; "when using secondary sources in your papers, you can avoid plagiarism by knowing what must be documented. Specific words and phrases; if you use author's specific word or words, you must place those words within quotation marks and you must credit the source, Information and ideas; even if you use your own words, if you obtain the information or ideas you are presenting from a source, you must document the source".
There are different ways of incorporating ones work in your writing e.g. quoting, summarizing and paraphrasing.
A quotation is an exact reproduction of spoken or written words. Direct quotes can provide strong evidence, act as an authoritative voice, or support a writer's statements. When quoting exact words in the identical order must be use and quotations marks placed around those words with the appropriate citation following immediately after.
A summary is an overview of a text. The main idea is given, but details, examples and formalities are left out. Used with longer texts, the main aim of summarizing is to reduce or condense a text to its most important ideas. Summarizing is a useful skill for making notes from readings and in lectures, writing an abstract/synopsis and incorporating material in assignments. Summaries are supposed to be shorter than the original writing (less than half). It's a restatement of the same ideas but in your own words.
Paraphrasing is a way of presenting a text, keeping the same meaning, but using different words and phrasing. Paraphrasing is used with short sections of text, such as phrases and sentences. When paraphrasing you maintain the same length of the original document, changing the wording and sentence structure but maintaining the original idea. A
According to plagiarism.org "Citation" is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again, including:
1. Information about the author
2. The title of the work
3. The name and location of the company that published your copy of the source
4. The date your copy was published
5. The page numbers of the material you are borrowing
I also realize that citation is another tool that can be use to prevent plagiarism and it's very helpful because it gives reader an idea that the work doesn't belong to you and can direct them to the location where you got it from.
Quoting, Paraphrasing and summarizing are gives a clear indication of someone understanding and interpretation and are good techniques of avoiding plagiarism.
Plagiarism appears to be simple and easy, from this experience I learned that there is so much to plagiarism that I need to know and I also realize how easy it is to plagiarize. I now understand why plagiarism is termed a criminal act and why there are such serious consequences behind it. Plagiarism maybe well understood by some while to others it's not that simple though I read about it and do not hope to be a victim of it a second time, I still acknowledge that if my work is not reference properly I can be in big trouble. I still have a lot to learn about plagiarism so I can avoid it and ensure my work is original as possible. I must end by saying thanks to my teacher for correcting me.