The Issue of Plagiarism in Academic Writing

Writing an academic paper normally includes researching activities as well as referencing academic resources. However, these resources should only serve as the basis for the writers’ analysis and formulation of personal opinion as to the subject matter discussed. That is why, sometimes it becomes difficult for students to differentiate between presenting own opinion and plagiarizing someone’s work.

Plagiarism should be understood as a form of an academic dishonesty and misconduct which may even lead to the dismissal from the higher academic institutions. Several essay writing services including make sure that all their essays are checked through the anti-plagiarising software. Individuals may also use a number of online instruments to check their works as to plagiarism, though, it is more important to understand the nature of the plagiarising activities.

Types of Plagiarism

There is a myriad of reasons for plagiarism including external pressures to publish scholarly works thus advance one’ career, or achieve the recognition of the scientific community. Sometimes, bad knowledge of English or anxiety about writing in foreign language may as well entice people to plagiarize. However, plagiarism may also occur unintentionally when, for example, a scholar is not aware of what it is and how to avoid it.


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Plagiarism usually happens in the following cases:

  • Word-for-word plagiarism: literal copying of the text of someone’s work. This is considered the heaviest form of plagiarism, and if combined of a few resources, it may also be called mosaic.
  • Self-plagiarism: when you simply reuse own materials from other publications or manuscripts and paste them into the new work is regarded as self-plagiarism. More on such a subtle though widespread type of plagiarism can be read here.
  • Plagiarism of opinions: using someone else’s ideas, words, methods, or even data as one’s own without citing of the original resource. Even when such are rewritten with own words.
  • Loose paraphrasing: paraphrasing someone’s papers with minor changes as to the author’s main idea. In this type of plagiarism, though, the flow of an argument is an original idea developed by the writer.
  • Plagiarism from uncommon sources: since everything which is not a common knowledge and personal judgement has to be cited, failure to cite alternative sources of information like blogs, lectures, and personal communication may lead to plagiarism.


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How to Avoid Plagiarism

Since in the majority of the universities worldwide plagiarism is seen as violation of the academic honesty and integrity principle, it is necessary to avoid it. For instance, Harvard academics suggest that independent research and writing are the core principles of fair educational system. Even unintentional plagiarism may still result in expulsion from the education institution. Not to let this happen, follow the tips on avoiding plagiarism.

Step 1. When researching or preparing to the writing process itself, one should keep track of the studied materials and note the authors and their respective works. It can be performed with the help of special online software, like Zotero or EndNote.

Step 2. When planning the time needed for writing, never forget to include the composition of the reference list and its formatting according to one of the citation styles. Obviously, synonym for student life is procrastination, however, research work as well as homework assignment has to be regarded seriously and responsibly, especially when it comes to the quality of the work and absence of any plagiarised material in it.

Step 3. In working on the paper, try not to directly refer to the studied sources to avoid unwilled copying, and instead use a number of different sources to provide a comprehensive and diverse point of view. In addition, all the used sources are to be cited unless these are of common knowledge.

Step 4. Upon completing the first draft of the paper with the corresponding reference list, it is worth checking whether all of the sources are included into it. Besides, one may also use specially designed online software like Turnitin to check a scholarly work as to hidden or inadvertent plagiarism.

All in all, plagiarism may entail serious repercussions up to expulsion from school or any other higher education institution. Not to let these consequences decide one’s fate, it is of utmost importance to know the basics of citing and know how to differentiate between stole idea and personally developed argument.


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