What is Plagiarism?

About Plagiarism

01 Jul 2021

The worst nightmare of any college student, researcher, or even a famous blogger is dealing with plagiarism, which can easily result in detention from the course or even dealing with copyright disputes. Before one turns to plagiarism detection tools, it is vital to understand what plagiarism is and how avoiding plagiarism can be achieved. This set of skills will help you to keep safe regardless of your number of sources or paper’s structure. Our guide will help you to stay safe!

plagiarism meaning

Understanding The Plagiarism Meaning

In simple terms, plagiarism is often explained as copying someone else's work or borrowing the vision or ideas of another person that are original. However, there are major differences between copying and borrowing something since one may be dealing with the synthesis of available information for analytical purposes where the "borrowing" part starts to make sense. Nevertheless, the plagiarism definition is:

  • Stealing or passing off certain ideas and direct quotes as your own.
  • Using intellectual property content without crediting the original source.
  • The act of literary theft when you just copy and paste.
  • Presenting something in your essay or research work as new and original when the thoughts and ideas have been derived from an existing source.

While it may seem that ideas are just like musical pieces, stealing them does exist according to the American and many world's laws. One must remember that once an original idea has been expressed, it is protected under intellectual property laws. You may approach it just like an original invention or a patent. Since the majority of expression forms belong to copyright protection cases, one must be extremely careful when dealing with the quotes and references by doing it properly (so you do not steal unintentionally) and mentioning things exactly the way they have been written.

The following belong to the cases of how the academic community may define plagiarism:

  • Stating that it is your idea when it has been taken from someone else's research work. 
  • Copying the list of ideas or certain structures without giving due credit. 
  • Failing to implement quotation marks when quoting some source. 
  • Providing incorrect information about your sources or failing to provide it fully. 
  • Changing the original word of a quote without providing the original source. 
  • Turning your original research into a collection of various quotes, which represents the majority of your work. While some college assignments may require up to 25 sources in total, it does not mean that you should not provide due research and synthesis of information.

Simply put, it is copying other individuals’ written thoughts and ideas in order to express them as your own.

Jay McCurry, Ed.D. adjunct professor for Southern Nazarene University

Without a doubt, the majority of plagiarism cases can be handled with the proper citations and the use of original references. However, some systems installed at major colleges will look for similarity reports, which means that if the quotes represent a large part of your work in total, it can end up in mild plagiarism issues that will question the “fair play” rules of your research work.

The safest solution that you can consider is using our free plagiarism detection tool that makes it possible to check things more than once by paraphrasing and editing them. Remember that if you provide your audience with a list of sources where the information can be found is mostly enough to stay safe. It also makes it quite challenging to represent your original ideas, which is why the correct phrasing matters when you proofread and edit your work.

As you may remember, the majority of college campuses will have instructions for the writer regarding the rules and consequences of plagiarism, which will usually say something like having to quote and reference anything that does not represent your original idea. Remember that even if you talk about common knowledge or use a quote of a famous person, it has to be referenced for the sake of staying safe in terms of originality and the standards of academic writing.

The Types of Plagiarism You May Encounter

If we turn to the survey of various academic research projects, we can see the ranking of various plagiarism types, which makes it important to know and differentiate. While we may encounter cases of complete plagiarism, which will represent a serious offence, paraphrasing with a high similarity index is what you might encounter in your academic life. Therefore, take your time to read through the types of plagiarism to know what must be avoided and what counts as the worst-case: 

  • The Intellectual Theft and Stealing

It is what we may define as intentional plagiarism where the entire work has been stolen or when the manuscript has been copied without changes. It is one of the most serious cases of intellectual crimes that may end up in legal disputes and rejection from the university and academic community.

  • Source-based Plagiarism

It is usually dealing with the list of sources that have not been referenced in a proper way. When you place a source reference that is incorrect or does not exist, it is considered a misleading citation. When you are using some secondary source and only cite the primary source, it is also considered plagiarism. Your citations must include every source that you have referenced.

  • Data Fabrication and Falsification

It represents a serious form of plagiarism. It happens when a person provides sources and citations that do not exist to create a false impression. It is especially relevant and dangerous when you are dealing with medical research.

  • Direct Plagiarism

It stands for those cases when the quote has been copied word for word without turning to quotation marks or any credit. While it is not the case of copying the entire paper, it is still a serious plagiarism offence.

  • Auto-Plagiarism

It is also known as self-plagiarism or dealing with duplicates. For example, when you are using large portions of your work that have been submitted or published in the past, it is the exact cause. It usually happens to those researchers who have their works published since the students may have to use prior parts of their works for analytical purposes. Still, the severity of this offence is often debated because it will always depend on the particular case. It is the reason why the publishers will process your manuscript through their plagiarism detection tools before even reviewing them.

  • Paraphrasing

It is the most common type of plagiarism that you might see. It is when you make some minor changes to the original text to pass them as your own ideas. Even if you change the words, the original idea is still there. College students often use this approach as they write, which is why paraphrased parts must be checked with an online plagiarism checker like the one that we offer.

  • Inaccurate Authorship Challenges

The misleading attribution cases can happen in either of one scenario: when you contribute a certain manuscript without getting any credit for it or when someone gets credit without contributing anything to the research paper. It is the case when the violation of conduct in the research code is affected. This problem usually happens when some other person is editing the original manuscript and misses the references in terms of authorship. Therefore, one must check this aspect more than once at the final editing stage.

  • Mosaic Patterns

It is a matter of honesty because when some original phrases and ideas are placed within your original research in a mosaic pattern, it is hard to detect the cases of being dishonest.

  • Unintentional Plagiarism

Without a doubt, there is no excuse for any type of plagiarism being encountered, yet one may also see accidental plagiarism. If it has taken place because of formatting mistakes or neglect, it is one of those cases. Of course, paraphrasing is what may lead to this result. It is one of the reasons why universities take good care of providing information regarding plagiarism.

Take your time to see how you can avoid plagiarism and use our detection tool to keep your academic future safe regardless of your subject and the plethora of sources that you may have to use.

How to Avoid Plagiarism?

While there are many ways how you can avoid plagiarism by taking care of what you write and how you obtain your information, the most important steps to consider include:

- Keeping track of your sources that you consult and reference in your research. Make a list of your academic citations as you write your assignment in advance. It will help you to come up with a list of quotes as you write. Remember that some sources also have citation info, which will save you some time. Always provide sources for every idea that is not yours.

- Paraphrasing or quoting your sources by adding your unique ideas with due analysis. The most frequent scientific pattern is “introduction - quote - your analysis”, which means that you should paraphrase the ideas by adding your reflection. If you are turning to a direct quote, ensure that it is not taking too much regarding your total word count.

- Always credit the original author in any in-text citing and your References list. Look for the original author and do not forget to cite both original and secondary sources as you write. If you are in doubt, make sure to look for the “quote in quote” sources in your style manual. Remember that you should look for the primary sources if possible as it will increase the confidence of your research.

- Using our plagiarism checker before you submit your paper. Most importantly, you should turn to our Fixgerald plagiarism checker because it will help you to edit your paper as you are looking through the similarity index and the detailed report that will contain the links where your bits of text have been encountered. Take as much time as you need to edit the paper. Even if you have a good similarity index, remember to use quotation marks and check the sources on your Bibliography page to be accurate.

To avoid plagiarism, it's important to remember a few things. First, always give credit where credit is due. If you use a direct quote from a book, article, or website, make sure to put it in quotation marks and mention the author's name and the source. If you're paraphrasing or summarizing someone's ideas, still give credit by mentioning the source. Another important tip is to familiarize yourself with the proper citation and referencing style required by your institution or professor. This could be APA, MLA, Chicago, or another style. Each style has specific rules for citing different types of sources, like books, articles, websites, or interviews. Make sure to follow those guidelines to ensure you're giving proper credit.

Jess Brooks, teacher and managing editor of HessUnAcademy.com

Remember that you must check your formatting and style guides to make sure that no quotation mark is missed and no extra space is provided. Your sources must have a "last accessed" part with the links if you have obtained them in a digital domain. Double-check this aspect!

What is Plagiarism Solution or Why Use Our Plagiarism Checker?

FixGerald does not have any limitations in terms of how often you can use the tool. What makes our tool great is allowing you to receive your similarity report without storing your information anywhere. It brings up confidentiality since it does not store your data. Just paste your text or upload your file by using our simple form to check for plagiarism and edit your paper. Do not think twice because taking at least five minutes to check your assignment will help you to stay safe and prevent plagiarism troubles.

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