The purpose of this guide is to explain how to avoid plagiarism in academic writing and what methods are implemented by college professors to detect it.
The majority of universities in the USA and UK may set their specific rules, yet knowing the basics will help you to stay safe regardless if you are a student or an educator.
What Does Academic Plagiarism Term Stand For?
If one puts it briefly without getting into details, academic plagiarism is copying any information (to any existing degree) that is not yours while claiming that you are an original author. Another definition of academic plagiarism relates to providing your argumentation and direct quotes with correct references and credit in terms of who wrote the part and where the original information is coming from. As we are living in the digital age with a plethora of academic sources, it is also important to realise that even if you are using YouTube video or a photograph that you have obtained online as you took time to search online, you should provide the original source and give due credit.
Of course, not every type of plagiarism is intentional like self-plagiarism or incorrect paraphrasing, which often happens to first-year students who do not know how to explain their thoughts correctly and how to incorporate ideas from the course in their work. Therefore, it is crucial to understand what is considered academic plagiarism because it is the only way to avoid unintentional mistakes that can also lead to serious consequences or a decline in your professional or academic reputation.
Summing things up, one can see that academic plagiarism also relates to the honesty and professionalism of every student and educator in terms of original ideas presented and knowing well how to use citations in various formats when writing an essay or working with a lengthy dissertation.
The Consequences of Academic Plagiarism
It will always depend on your university, your academic counsellor, and the severity of your case. While the cases of self-plagiarism or brief formatting mistakes would be discussed as you will be asked to correct things and remove a paragraph or some passage that you have already used in the past, the cases of direct plagiarism and completely plagiarised works of some other researcher will be penalised in a more serious way. Some of the consequences include:
- Detention from the academic course. In certain cases, it may be possible to recover your reputation if you failed to provide citations or missed some parts by paraphrasing.
- The permanent ban from your college. It usually happens when you copy more than 40% of someone else’s content or provide non-existent or incomplete sources, which is a serious issue for medical or engineering works.
- Ruining of your academic and professional career. This part is quite serious not only for students but for every researcher regardless of their degree.
- Inclusion of your credentials and data in the list of untrustworthy researchers.
- Questioning and additional review of your past works. It is one of the worst things that can happen in an academic environment, which is why one must take time and check things twice!
Without a doubt, even if you appeared in the middle of a plagiarism-related issue, you must at least try to explain your reasoning if it has not been intentional and try to settle down the problem. It will always depend on whether you have been spotted before, which means that if it is not the first time you are appearing in the list of students who plagiarise content, your chances are not that high.
How to Avoid Plagiarism in Academic Writing?
The short answer: by checking things twice and proofreading your paper before you submit or publish it. Since we already know what academic plagiarism is, it becomes easier to make a mental outline in terms of what must be checked and what are the riskiest parts.
- Start with your quotations and the bibliography part to ensure that every in-text citation has a corresponding entry in your Works Cited or References list.
- Double-check the formatting rules regarding their being complete. Look for the author names, journal names, dates of publication, or anything that is required.
- Check the parts that you have paraphrased in terms of originality and the similarity index, which can be detected and analysed with the help of our Onlineplagiarismchecker. It will help you to see what parts to edit and where your highest risks are.
- Take time to proofread your paper aloud because it is the only way to check the credibility and change or replace the quotes in case something sounds wrong. Since no student wants to be trapped in academic dishonesty accusations, one must remember that it is only your responsibility to know what parts represent certain risks.
- Check for images or any multimedia sources that you have used. Add captions and "fig. 1" references to ensure that nothing is missed.
The majority of plagiarism at university happens because of incorrect paraphrasing and formatting mistakes, which relates to unintentional plagiarism, yet represents a serious issue. Remember that the number of quotes in your paper must not be excessive because it is your analysis that matters.
To avoid plagiarism, students should develop good research and writing habits. It is crucial to properly cite and reference all sources used in their work, whether it's through in-text citations or a bibliography. Additionally, students should strive to understand the concept of paraphrasing and ensure that they express ideas in their own words while still giving credit to the original source.
Johnson Adegoke, Education Consultant, Researcher & Blogger at wetalksch.com
How Do Universities Check For Plagiarism & What is Academic Plagiarism Detection?
It will always depend on the university in question, yet in the majority of cases, your university will have at least one software solution installed like TurnItIn or any other plagiarism detection tool. However, even if this report is bad or even when it represents good results, there are some other tricks that will always show whether your paper is original or not. Here are some ways how universities and college professors check for plagiarism:
- Software Solutions. It will be the usual suspects like TurnItIn, electronic screening solutions, and those options that may be provided by your university, which means that it will scan through some custom database.
- Knowing The Writing Style of Each Student. This is what helps each college professor see those sudden changes in the style of writing and skills. It is exactly the same as when a school teacher will know if the paper has been composed by your parent or if you have written it. Those who remember those middle-school times will be able to relate to the experience. It means that even if your plagiarism report shows high originality, it will always be possible to tell if your paper does not match your past works, and so on.
- Detection of Grammar and English. If English is not your first language and you have serious grammar flaws, submitting a paper that is written by a native or has certain parts that look and sound perfect will bring up certain plagiarism concerns and will force your university professor to double-check things manually.
- Special Search Services. Finally, the universities have access to various search services and academic databases that will help them to scan through millions of print and online sources to check each paper that they have to deal with. It is one of those cases where universities have a certain benefit, yet our academic plagiarism detection tool also includes the majority of databases that will help you to stay safe in terms of similarity index.
- Review of References List. Every college professor will check the list of academic references and skills of each student regarding formatting and knowing the definition of indents, referencing, italics, and things like that. It is an important part that also shows whether certain parts or even bibliographies one could plagiarise. Always check the accuracy of your sources!
You Can Avoid Plagiarism Easily
Why risk your academic future and deal with plagiarism accusations when you can check your paper online while wasting no time? It will only take you about five minutes to check things with a detailed plagiarism and similarity report by uploading or copying your text. Our academic plagiarism checker does not store your information anywhere, which means that you are not dealing with any risks as you have with Turnitin where you cannot re-submit your paper after editing. Our plagiarism detection tool will help you to check things as much as you require. It is your secure and fast way of getting your academic writing checked and avoid the most common types of plagiarism.
How much plagiarism is considered normal in universities?
Unfortunately, the majority of universities will turn to TurnItIn software that helps to detect plagiarism, which is why it is considered that 15% of plagiarism detected is acceptable for the majority of reports that an average college professor will receive. Still, plagiarism at university will always depend on what kind of plagiarism is detected, which is why you must study the rules and talk to your academic advisor when in doubt.
What is the relationship between plagiarism and academic integrity?
In simple terms, academic integrity stands for a person's readiness to live by the values of staying true to high academic morals. Plagiarism is only one of those vital aspects related to academic integrity, which means that you will not use someone else's ideas, words, vision, theories, graphics, facts, or surveys. It is a matter of honesty and being a true researcher.
Does your free plagiarism detection tool provide a similarity index?
Yes, it provides you both with a plagiarism report index that contains similarity details and the percentage of risks that you have. You can safely edit your academic paper to ensure that you meet the best academic standards.
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