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Plagiarism as defined by the legal dictionary is "The act of appropriating the literary composition of another author, or excerpts, ideas, or passages therefrom, and passing the material off as one's own creation." [http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/plagiarism]. Quoting from a dictionary without referencing the source is not considered plagiarism, it is considered plagiarism only if you are writing your own dictionary. Plagiarism is both a professional and a moral issue; it can be artistic, academic or professional.
There are many motives for plagiarism but students may have more personal reasons such as being unaware that they are plagiarizing, lacking knowledge and understanding of the subject, poor time management skills, feeling that the subject is unimportant, believing that plagiarism isn't serious, feeling pressured due to over-assessment and even poor teaching skills. The most common reason given by students about plagiarism is that they were unclear about the plagiarism policy and, therefore, unaware that they were doing anything wrong. Some students do not consider plagiarism a serious offence since it does not (in their view) harm other students.[http://www.bobbyelliott.com/Plagiarism.htm]
Plagiarism can occur in different ways. Whole source plagiarism is claiming an entire work as your own. The most common example is when a student puts his or her name on a paper written by another person. This is called whole source plagiarism. It also includes claiming to be the creator of such things as a work of art, an entire song, or a scientific theorem. Examples of plagiarizing an entire paper include turning in as your own work: a friend's paper, a purchased paper, a paper published in another source such as a journal or the Internet.
There is also partial copy plagiarism which occurs when the exact words or content from a source are inserted as part of your paper without giving proper attribution. Examples include cutting and pasting from an electronic source, copying from a printed source, repeating a conversation, interview remarks, etc. inserting a photo, audio clip, or other multimedia element.
Many people believe that putting a piece of text or an idea into 'their own words' avoids the issue of plagiarism. There is a formal term for putting text or ideas into 'your own words' - it is called paraphrasing. The purpose of paraphrase is often to summarize or simplify the author's ideas, making them easier to understand, more approachable. You might also use paraphrase to emphasize a particular idea or train of thought from the original author's text.
However, where trivial changes are made such as substituting similar words or changing the sentence order is essentially the same as copying the author's words directly. This is not enough to count as an original expression of the idea and is still considered a form of exact copy plagiarism. Second, any type of paraphrase includes the original author's ideas, which still must be acknowledged even if it has been substantially re-expressed.
A common mistake is thinking that, because Internet information is free and often appears to have no 'owner,' it can be used without giving credit. However, our definition of plagiarism makes no mention that those ideas and words must be in a published source or a professional source or a well-known source or a valuable source. In fact, the source makes no difference what-so-ever. The important point is that when you use ideas or words that are not your own you must give credit.
People sometimes confuse plagiarism with copyright. Copyright is concerned with whether you have the right to access and use a work. Plagiarism is about whether credit has been given for ideas or words taken from that work. For instance, it may be perfectly fine, as far as copyright goes, to copy a few paragraphs from a book but, if you put these words in your paper without crediting the source, you will have committed plagiarism. The bottom-line is that plagiarism has nothing to do with copyright. You are obligated to acknowledge your sources whether or not their work is copyrighted.
Self plagiarism refers to the use of your own work, or a substantial portion of it, in another course than the one for which it was originally written. While you are not stealing an idea from someone else, it is still considered dishonest unless you have obtained permission from your instructor to reuse the material.
Sometimes people assume credit only needs to be given when there is someone, an identifiable author, to credit. However, giving credit simply acknowledging that the source of the ideas, words, etc. that you used came from somewhere outside your own thoughts. It is the source of the idea, words, etc. that receives the credit, not an individual. You need to cite even if the source doesn't have an author you can identify. [http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061103160956AAwWsKp]
Plagiarism as we know it is a widely growing epidemic in today's world, from school to the workplace. With the risks and consequences associated with plagiarism being clear to everyone, it is confusing as to why so many people still take the chance. There are many ways as (discussed below) for the 'authorities' to deal with this type of dishonesty.
Educational institutions, especially colleges and universities, view plagiarism as a serious violation of academic honesty and integrity. They warn their students of the consequences for plagiarizing the work of others. Students who are found guilty of plagiarism face at the least a failing grade for the course for which they committed the offense. Other possible consequences may include suspension or even expulsion from the relevant academic institution. Students at tertiary level who commit plagiarism can face the loss of their degrees upon discovery of the offense. This type of discipline not only applies to students but also to professors who can face the loss of their jobs and destroy their reputation. If plagiarism is detected in these learning institutions it can lead to a negative impact on the school's reputation.
Plagiarism poisons the relationship between students and teachers by undermining the mutual trust that is an important element of the learning process. Extensive incidents of plagiarism, such as students taking work from the Internet and presenting it as their own force teachers to act as police investigators, constantly searching for wrongdoing. All students become suspect in such an environment, and learning becomes impossible. Suspicion and mistrust replace intellectual curiosity and trust. Plagiarism also damages relationships between students who plagiarize and those who earn their grades honestly. When students or instructors present others' work as their own, they fail to develop and use critical thinking skills, which are necessary for learning and success in life. [http://www.ehow.com/list_6075742_effects-plagiarism-education.html]
Plagiarism can be avoided through the education systems in colleges and universities. For example, Franklin University offers many tools to help students steer clear of plagiarism. Turnitin.com, a website that lets students submit their work ahead of time to be evaluated, searches for matches and possible matches, and notifies students of any suspected plagiarism. Refworks, a program that provides students with pre-made APA layouts for citing references to help avoid intentional or accidental plagiarism, is another feature used by Franklin University.
Like many other universities and workplaces, Franklin has a strict policy in place for academic dishonesty. When the first offense occurs, the professor and the course manager at Franklin determine the student's penalty. In many cases this can range from a score of zero on the assignment in which the plagiarism occurred, up to failing the class in its entirety, with no option for the student to drop the course to avoid failing it.
Any offense thereafter will result in a failing grade in the class, and the student's records and transcripts show a dismissal due to academic dishonesty. [http://www.oppapers.com/essays/Plagiarism-Its-Effect-Academic-Integrity/163383 ]
Plagiarism can simply be avoided by properly crediting the authors and texts used in research and throughout a document. Failure to do this, according to law- In the U.S. acts of plagiarism can lead to prosecution on charges of copyright infringement. [http://www.ehow.com/list_6075742_effects-plagiarism-education.html ]