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plagiarism is a very vague concept for which there is no concrete definition,. although a lot of attempts have been made to define this slippery concept but most of them differ in providing a single definition for plagiarism. hereHere are some popular definations for plagirism :
1. 'Tthe unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of themasthemes one's own original work' Dictionary.com
2. "Tthe wrongful appropriation, close imitation, or purloining and publication, of another author's language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions, and the representation of them as one's own original work." by wikipedia.org
3. 'When students submit work purporting to be their own, butwhich in any way borrows ideas, organization, wording or anything else from another source without appropriate acknowledgement of the fact, the students are guilty of plagiarism.' by Jean Liddell
Ffor some people it is a theft because you use other's work without bringing to his/her notice, and for others it may be a kind of insult because you are are doing unfair to the one who played by the rules. alsoUnderstaning and defining what actually the plagiarism brings many such questions to which Tthere are more than one answer like if some one is helping you in your work, is this plagiarism? ifIf someone knows and you are copying from his material, is this plagiarism? If you are just taking the idea from someone else's material and writing it in your own words without giving him credit, is this plagiarism? The answer to these question can b either 'yes' or 'no' and in some cases 'may be'.
To me when students submit a work considered to be there own, but originally they have taken the idea,expression and wording from someone else and they submit it without the proper acknowledgement of the actual source then it is plagiarism. however,ways of 'proper' acknowledgement of actual source varies for different cases.Depending upon the way you have used other's material, in some cases it can be simply done by only citing the resources and in other cases like for exactly copying you need to use the quotation marks and also it varies the format to format, you are using.
Actually to understand the concept a bit deeper we need to understand what intellectual property is and then we can draw its analogy to physical property. Intellectual property is one's mind's product whether it is in physical form or not. it can consist of words, ideas, organization,drawings, designs, statistical-data, computer-programs, inventions or any creative work. So basically the under lying concept behind Plagiarism is stealing.it may not be in a physical form but still it can be stolen like a physical property can.
There are many types of plagiarism. few of them are being discussed below:
' to copy without giving credit to original owner
It is usually considered the highest degree of plagiarism. that you simply copy from other's material without bringing this to his notice and then you do not give any credit or acknowledgement to him for that. you pretend that the work is original and in actual it is someone else's work or at least some significant part of your work came from his work/publication. in this age of technology this kind of plagiarism is becoming a norm. mainly because every thing is available on the Internet.and it just needs few number of clicks to use others material in your work. for example you have to write a paper on some subject and you go to Internet search for the already established material on that subject and then copy paste from that and submit it as your original work.
' to copy with the mutual consent of original writer without mentioning the original source
This kind of plagiarism is known as 'cheating'. on the contrary to what i have experienced here in US, in my home country cheating is considered a higher degree offense as compared to the plagiarism of copying without credit rather in my 16yrs of education i never heard of any such case. in fact that was the only kind of plagiarism i had heard before coming to US. I have seen many cases happening in my previous university in Pakistan; if a student has been caught 'cheating' than there is a good chance that he will be kicked out of the university. at least reputed universities like FAST University never accept such behaviour. for example , in computing assignments if you copy the code of your class fellow who is doing the same project , even you change the variables/wording, but still their softwares are most likely to catch you.
' To copy paste with giving references
Copy and pasting it as it is not desirable in most of the papers. but when you need to qoute some one then you need to give it a bracket of qotation marks or in some cases a more indent etc etc. This kind of plagiarism is usually a result of mis-understanding. usually it is because people are not following the exact rules required by the format they are writing in. For example APA format requires quotation marks for whatever you directly copy paste. even if you are mentioning the references but still if you did not put quotation marks around the copied material than this is considered a plagiarism.
' Providing inappropriate references
This kind usually involves 'second generation references'. for example you come across some work by lets suppose person A and he has quoted person B in his work. Now you directly quote person B in your paper without mentioning the source which is person A then this is also plagiarism. Because you are not giving the required credit to person A in this case. for example, if i am suppose to write a paper and i come across a paper written by Mr Power. Now Mr Power has used references in his paper from Mr Andy's paper. if i simply quote Mr Andy directly in my paper and directly put the references which Mr Power has used than I am not giving credit to Mr. Power for his work which actually helped me to get the references from Mr Andy.
Difference between Research and Plagiarism: the difference that differentiates research and plagiarism from eachother varies depending upon the research type you are doing. First there are different type of researches.In Primary research a researcher does not have any kind of data to take help from. rather he has to start from the very scratch.on the contrary. Iin Secondary research you have sufficient data available and you just use your required data to carry on your research. mainly students till they reach their graduate level come across secondary research. the plagiarism discussed here is focused with respect to secondary research. so practises which are not acceptable and might lead to plagiarism while conducting primary research may not imply the same when a student is doing secondary research.
when student researchers are suppose to submit a paper many of them go to library and look for the required material in books. Some of them even get help of reference librarian. and some even access the required information through remote access. overall many of them end up withthem using material which they geot from Internet,. but even then if they cite the references and acknowledge the original owner in an appropriate manner then it does not cross the fine line between plagiarism and research because all of the above sources including Internet resources are acceptable although, usually it is least desirable to use any unreliable data from Internet asand it effects the credibility of your paper. It is the second part of the research where usually students cross this fine line when they do not document the sources properly. also there is one more problem that creates a guilt for onself that usually there is not proper information on bibliography available on Internet resources and that increases the chance for students not to get theirre work referenced properly. And that ,which eventually leads them ending up with submitting a plagiarised work.
Also Tthere is one important thing to understand that even in daily life what ever we do is the out come of our brain which is effected by the inputs it gets by others. Whatever you experience is goes to your sub-conscious and is stored in some form there. whether its a behaviour we are encountered, reading we did, music we enjoyedlistened, movie we watched or conversation we hadeard ,it gets stored in the sub-conscious of our brain and effects the outcome. An example could befor examplethat some day youu come up with composing a very good tune and youu think its original but in actual it could be the reflection of what you heard may be 10 years ago. Ssimilarly when a student is writing a paper, he might come up with some good idea which he believes is his original but actually he came across that idea a long time ago while reading someone else's paper and his sub-conscious stored that idea. For him its something very original he is doing but in reality it can be taken as the worst degree of plagiarism because you are copying some one's idea and you are not even accrediting the original source because for you it is something original coming out of your mind. Sso in most of the cases its really difficult to completely differentiate b/w plagiarism and original work. also than there is another concept of creative imitation. for example as Poser relates in his book that when T.S. Eliot was accused of plagiarism he said
'Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and
good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good
poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique'' giving this example Poser establishes his point of view that imitation is not plagiarism. similarly according to ____ the copying of an idea is also not plagiarism, in some cases, because Research-psychologists have told that previously read or heard ideas can come up as your original work.
Difference b/w plagiarism and copy right infringement
Copyright voilation occurs when you copy someone else's creative work whithout his permission and without giving approriate compensation where compensation applies.A person can copyright any of his creative work ,for instance students can copyright their papers and then they are the ones who are going to decide who can copy it and who cannot. Unlike plagiarism even if you properly acknowledge and mention the source that can be considered a copyright violation. But for copyright to be formed, the work should be in a physical form. An idea in your brain cannot be copyrighted because it is not a tangible form yet but that same idea can be plagiarized if someone else hears it from you and produces it with the intent as if it is his original work. On the other hand plagiarism does not necessarily have to include copyright violation. For example William Shakespeare's work is not copyrighted and any body can copy it in any form without voilating the copyrights but that would be considered plagiarism if the original source is not properly acknowledged. Similarly, you may copy a definition from online resources without copyright violation but it may be considered as plagiarism according to your teacher's rules . Although the difference is not very trivial but copy right infringement is different than Plagiarism. Copy right infringement usually leads to the court punishment and penalties where on the other hand plagiarism may lead you to lose self respect, credibility among scientific society etc etc. Copy right voilation is taken as a crime where as plagiarism is not considered against 'law'. Usually schools deal with plagiarism and courts deal with copyright infringement.
I am attaching a sentence from US law about copyright:
'The legal or beneficial owner of an exclusive right under a copyright is entitled, subject to the requirements of section 411, to institute an action for any infringement of that particular right committed while he or she is the owner of it. The court may require such owner to serve written notice of the action with a copy of the complaint upon any person shown, by the records of the Copyright.'
Consequences of plagiarism:
Other than harming the whole educational community plagiarism effects the one who is plagiarising in the worst manner. it is a self destructing thing in many ways:
It tarnishes your ability to think creatively
It gives you a feeling of guilt and the reality is that the one who is indulged into this hurts him/herself more than anyone else around him.The main idea of good research is to develop the writing skills,the analytical skills,taking careful notes,for giving the brain an excersice to think and explore the ideas,selecting appropriate wordsphrases and quotations where required but going for plagiarism not only destructs a person with failure to his ultimate goal but leads him to the circle of those who are guilty and shameful because of such humiliating acts.
". . . think about who is really being cheated when someone plagiarizes."Robert Harris, Anti-Plagiarism Strategies
The Punishment for Plagirism:
As with any wrongdoingunlawful activity that takes place,the degree of intention and the nature of the wrongdoing sets its status.If the plagiarism has taken place in an academic setting,it has to be most often settled by the individual's mentor/instructor and the involvement of the institute may take place,if however it involves money,prizes or job placement,it constitutes a crime punishment in court.However I believe the punishments for plagiarism varies from country to county or from place to place.For example as per my observation the case of plagiarism here in USA simply may lead to explusion of a student who is involved into plagiarism,the level of integrity is too high which is quite appreciable however if I look back in Pakistan this might sometime get simply ignored.Anyhow,this fact cannot be ignored that the good repute organizations and institutes take a very serius note on the plagiarism in Pakistan too.I would like to throw light on my country,Pakistan's conduct over plagiarism as follow.:
The Effects of Plagiarism:
As all of us know that plagiarism has increased now a days due to technology and internet which should be used for its good reasons and not to harm one self but like most great advancements in modern technology,the purposes of internet have become altered and used for other disreputable acts.It is a person who has to make use of things in a right or a wrong way .Our society somehow gets tempeted towards the negative things more rapidly if we compare it with adopting of good and positive sides of any technology.For example if we see internet is there to help us in gaining knowledge,in communicating with friends and relatives in minutes,rather seconds,it is meant to make the things easier but it does not allow us to stop working,to stop thinking,to stop creating,its still with our mind,soul and conscience,but people take it easy and feel better not to work or make effort,they feel it more convenient to open up the search page and copy the material with just replacing few words and making the assignments as their own.In short internet is playing some major role in providing the opportunities for students to become better cheaters and has created the challenges for educators.
Undoubtedly plagiarism is effecting the fresh minds and creating hurdles in creativity,hardwork,and development.Plagiarism is a form of cheating,and when a person commits it,he/she is not doing their own work rather moulding someone else's work to their own.If for some reason the plagiarism goes undetected then the cheater may get successful in getting higher grades than what he deserves and if the cheater is successful in getting away with it once ,then this may lead him to think of getting away with it everytime which ultimately results into being his habit and this can ruin a person's integrity,sense of hardwork,unless someone is there to make them realize where they are taking themselves.
Plagiarism results into embarrasement for both the individual involved in plagiarism as well for those who failed to catch the plagiarist sooner.This is specially the case when the invidual is already passed off with the work that he showed as his own and has gained high grades.This issue can lead to a loss of face for the organization and ofource can also lead to a loss of face for the individual who was caught guilty of the act.
How to Avoid plagiarism:
Since we have defined in the previous discussions that plagiarism is a vague concept for which there is no concrete definition that means plagiarism may be taken as differently at different places.To avoid plagiarism ,the best and safest way is that a student must consult his university Rules and regulations or should carefully go through the student handbook.
This is never like that of remembering exactly what we have gone through in our reading some articles,books or newspaper and this way a person can be trapped so easily into plagiarism.However there are ways that can help us to make sure that plagiarism is not involved in the piece of work we are working at and therefore can save an individual from being ashamed of doing unlawful act.
' When a person takes notes from a book,or article should make sure to write or reproduce the same in his own words and should keep a record of author,title page number,publisher and date of publication next to any notes that contain direct quotes.
' If internet is used as a resource,it is the responsibility of an individual to make sure that anything that is being copy pasted should be clearly referenced.
' A list of references should always be included (mentioning every resource that is the part of your work) and the bibliography at th end of the assignement..
' There is most of the times when students are given an assignment or research work that has to be done in groups or teams,probably such work is assigned to the individuals to develop their team work skills,well in such a manner it is always preferable to make clear if any of the work is required to be written independently and ideas should be discussed but the thing to keep in mind is to avoid drafting the work together,that may create confusion or may lead to plagiarism.
' If it is allowed to submit the joint work then it is worth to reference each section indication which student was involved in that particular part of writing.
Writing to Avoid Plagiarism:
We know that good writing is an art and everyone is not good at it,This might be the reason that many people go on adopting other author's words and work,however developing the writing skill is not that difficult.All that a person is required to do is to start practicing ,keep writing whatever is in his mind,this may take few months,years for him to learn but then it would be easy for him going with his own work rather borrowing the work of others.Writing is more than just replaying the words which a person hears or reads from his surroundings.There is a famous saying 'Practice make the Man perfect'.Writing your own makes you free from being trapped into plagiarism more over avoids creating ambiguity of using other's words.