What I first learnedin college about plagiarism is that there is a great chance to get into a serious trouble with the professor if I’m caught. Even if a student happens to plagiarize a paper inadvertently, it will become obvious. “All papers, especially dissertations and your term papers will be tested for plagiarism by special software” is what my lecturers used to say. And I thought:“How can I avoid it if I know nothing about it?” In fact, it took me some time to grasp a real meaning of what plagiarism is. As a biology student, I tend to read a lot of scientific research articles. Moreover, I had to use the research done by others to create my own papers. So, I faced two issues:
- How to represent someone else’s idea and avoid plagiarism?
- What should not be cited?
Now, let’s consider the cases of plagiarism a student may face.
- Don’t take away what does not belong to you.
Plagiarism itself is representing the whole piece of work written by another scientist as your own. First of all, it is completely unethical. As a future scientist, you need to acknowledge and respect the contribution of other researchers to the academia. Of course, you will create and test your hypotheses upon the previous works. However, it is the reflection of someone else’s creativity. And you know how difficult it is to come up with something valuable.
- Paraphrasing: a friend or a foe?
Paraphrasing without proper citing is veiled plagiarism. No matter how good you are at paraphrasing, it still won’t work without the correct citation. Rearranging words will be regarded as plagiarism which creates further difficulties with finding the sources of the paper. Thus,it is vital to name the source or the scientist whose idea you use. And forget about copying entire pages or paragraphs. Paraphrase them! Put the quotation marks where it is required.
- Be a creator not a consumer.
The best way is to write a plagiarism-free paper is to write it in your own words. If you face find it challenging, it means that you should study the topic properly. The clue to understanding of the topic is the ability to put the meaning in your own words. It results in a matchless paper.
Luckily, not every single fact requires citing. Things you don’t need to cite:
– Common knowledge and beliefs.
– Dates of historical events.
– Own opinion or insights.
– Surveys, tests, presentations created by you.
It is necessary to strive for bringing in your own ideas in the paper. Otherwise, it’ll look like a compilation and surely won’t bring you to the top of your class.