Archive for the ‘How to Avoid Plagiarism’ Category

Cases of plagiarism Overseen By Variety of Confusing Entities

Posted on:August 27, 2010

A persistent problem with cases of plagiarism is that no one body oversees such issues. Since London first enacted copyright legislation in 1710, different cities, states, countries, institutions and agencies have exerted authority in cases of plagiarism. Accordingly, uncertainty and inconsistency persist. Additionally, some institutions and individuals may exert power where not warranted.
 
Who decides cases of plagiarism in academia?
 
Cases of plagiarism which occur in academic settings are usually under the jurisdiction of that school, college, or university. In the United States, the relevant body is generally described in publicly available documents, viewable online. A judicial committee usually handles cases of plagiarism. This group likely consists of students, faculty and administrators. It may have a name such as Honor Board.
 
Membership may be by election, perhaps by the student governing body, or by appointment or by volunteering, or some combination of all three. Membership is likely to last more than one year, since there is certainly a learning curve.
 
This writer never knew that such a group existed, and would counsel any current student to investigate membership in such a body. The experience of hearing cases of plagiarism would be most enlightening, and impressive on a resume. It would also provide opportunities to interact with faculty and students across the campus.
 
This body may meet regularly or it may only be convened when a case of plagiarism is alleged. Such entities undoubtedly feature a due process requirement, and an opportunity for appeal. Sanctions may include failing grades for a paper, a course, or a semester, delay or withholding of a degree, and of course, humiliation. Proceedings are likely to be kept confidential, however.
 
What happens when academic cases of plagiarism are not resolved within academia?
 
If a student or professor wishes to challenge an academic institution’s judicial body, the civil court system is available, at least in the USA. Several cases are recorded of courts looking at decisions made by academe. Their attitude appears to tend towards extreme reluctance to interfere with the policies of the academy towards cases of plagiarism by students. On the other hand, professorial tenure or advancement depends on publishing and being quoted. Thus, cases of plagiarism by mature scholars can destroy careers.

  • The plagiarized author is not cited when they deserve it, while the plagiarizer is potentially cited.
  • The justly accused plagiarizer loses credibility as a quotable source, possibly permanently.

Please note that not everyone thinks that courts should be involved in cases of plagiarism. See, for example, Richard A. Posner’s The Little Book of Plagiarism. He does not feel that cases of plagiarism warrant clogging up the court system. (Useful and interesting links: http://www. wcbs880. com/HARTFORD–Court-Decides-Who-Copied-Whom-in-Plagiar/6544285, http://www. rbs2. com/plag.htm ).
 
Who oversees cases of plagiarism in the post-graduate world?
 
Cases of plagiarism alleged against scholars writing and researching out in the “real world” are governed by a patchwork of organizations:

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Why Plagiarism is so Tempting Today? Tips on How to Avoid it

Posted on:August 18, 2010

Regrettably, the only fool-proof way around online plagiarism software is original research. In the best of all possible worlds (from Voltaire’s satire Candide), all research is novel, using primary sources. Consider the innovative life work of Aristotle, Galileo, and Darwin. They contemplated ground-breaking discoveries, not online plagiarism software! We offer some tips for modern day scholars.
 
Originality is a challenge! Few subjects offer easy opportunities for truly unique contributions. Most academic projects have a maximum three month deadline. All professors have access to online plagiarism software.
 
So, is copying others’ work inevitable?
 
No. Most definitively; the answer is NO. Education prepares us for a life-long dialogue with the world. We learn to become insightful readers, listeners, and observers of the communities we inhabit. We should be able to absorb and use the ideas of the authors we read, and give back something individual. It is important that we learn to contribute our own responses and thoughts, without running afoul of online plagiarism software.
 
So what is a writer and researcher to do when time and creativity are in short supply, and online plagiarism software waits tirelessly? Here are some thoughts on the challenge of avoiding even disturbing the sleeping dragon of online plagiarism software.
 
Plan ahead!
 
Try to avoid pushing the deadline. The temptation to cut intellectual corners increases under stress. Stress, sadly, is not a defense when online plagiarism software has flagged your work as inappropriately copied.
 
Capture all your sources!
 
This is a super-practical tip, from painful experience.

  • The moment you open up a book or a website, immediately copy and paste the URL into your bibliography tool; RIGHT AWAY! The dynamic, interactive citation feature in Word 2007 (with file extensions .docx) helps to avoid flagging by online plagiarism software. Even with incomplete information, online plagiarism software will unable to flag your work. No excuse remains now not to insert an in-text or footnoted citation.
  • Complete this new reference as soon as possible. In this way, you will never forget where you found something. It is, otherwise, insidiously tempting to include an idea from a source you saw several days ago, or longer, without taking the trouble to find it again. This is an invitation to being snagged by online plagiarism software.
  • Cut and paste useful text into a file you label background, along with its URL. Again, this is another way to ensure that you know where you got an idea from, and can attribute it so that online plagiarism software will not flag you.

This procedure, if followed assiduously, will help you avoid being tripped up by online plagiarism software. Students accused of plagiarism may claim forgetting the source as their excuse. However, this does not pass muster with online plagiarism software.
 
Quote enthusiastically whenever the author has nailed it!

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Plagiarism Checking Tools: Free Services vs. Members Only

Posted on:February 28, 2010

Plagiarism Checking ToolsHere, on this blog, we have already told you much about plagiarism detection software. This is why we decided to dedicate this article to classification and organization of information about plagiarism checking tools and their usage.
 
It should be noted that there are two major categories of detection software: free plagiarism checking tools and those intended for members and subscribers only. There is no secret that lower prices usually mean lower quality. So most of the times, people think that free services automatically mean doubtful quality services. And yet, we would rather say that the “members only” plagiarism checking tools and their free counterparts are meant for different purposes.
 
Plagiarism checking tools: free online services
 
The main use of free plagiarism checking tools is a quick search. Such search may be required for a professor who needs to ensure that his/her student’s paper is original. Such check may also be useful to a copywriter who wants to avoid auto-plagiarizing. There is no need in sophisticated algorithms to conduct such quick check. Thus, free plagiarism checking tools are usually very simple in their nature and scan only against available web content.
 
Plagiarism checking tools: paid services
 
“Members only” plagiarism checking tools are usually used when large sums of money or a reputation is at stake. The most common subscribers of such services are major colleges and universities as well as PR companies.
 

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Plagiarism Detectors: Do not Forget about Them

Posted on:November 5, 2009

Plagiarism DetectorsAre you the one who likes using the services of custom writing companies, or downloading free papers, or using some other a bit “illegal” ways to complete school assignments?
 
Well, we are here not to judge you or talk about academic honesty. The choice is always up to you.
 
We are here to remind you about plagiarism detectors that are widely used by teachers today. Plagiarism detector software allows teachers to spot easily whether you have completed an assignment independently or stolen someone’s ideas.
 
Let us explain you something about plagiarism detectors so that you know how they work and how to keep your secrets unrevealed.
 
Plagiarism detectors: how they work
 
In a few words, plagiarism detectors compare submitted documents with a huge number of other documents on the Web. If some parts in the submitted document match with the parts in online documents, a paper is considered plagiarized.
 
Different types of plagiarism detectors
 
There are free plagiarism detectors that anybody can download such as Plagiarismdetect, eTblast, Plagium, and some others.
There are also commercial plagiarism detectors like Turnitin, Copyscape, SafeAssign, and others.
 
Is it possible to “cheat” plagiarism detectors?
 
You know, everything is possible, and deceiving computer programs is possible as well.
 
You should just take some precautions every time you decide to “cheat”.
 

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Copyright Infringement - Bad Things about It!

Posted on:February 19, 2009

Copyright infringement…Wow, it sounds so complicated. However, in reality, copyright infringement can be defined using three words: stealing someone’s work. Copyright infringement is usually illegal, since it violates copyright laws.
 
Let us look at some examples of copyright infringement.
 
First example of copyright infringement: downloading music and movies.
 
This is a very popular type of “sharing” music and movies, but this is actually piracy, which is illegal. This example of copyright infringement proves that the techniques and tools for fighting against piracy has not been found yet, since hundreds of people continue distributing pirated copies of movies and music. Even the warnings about copyright laws and punishment for “camming” a movie do not help today - people continue making money on stealing and selling somebody’s ideas.
 
Second example of copyright infringement: plagiarizing written works.
 
This example of copyright infringement belongs to the category of high school/university rules’ violations that can even lead to expulsion. Plagiarizing somebody’s work and presenting it as your own is another type of piracy, since you have no right to use this work unless you cite it properly. So, be careful about plagiarizing - you can get caught very easily and get punished very severely.
 
These two examples of copyright infringement are the most common ones that we face every day. However, everything is up to us - we can either ignore this issue or do something about it. Certainly, you do not find these issues appealing until you produce a worthwhile piece of writing, music, video and it gets stolen and spread over the Internet. Only then, you will realize that copyright infringement should be prevented by all possible means.
 
So, if you decide to fight against copyright infringement, you should start with yourself, never copying or recording information that belongs to somebody.

How to Prevent Plagiarism: Teachers’ Concerns

Posted on:February 13, 2009

When we talk about plagiarism, there are at least two interested subjects - a student and a teacher - involved in this issue…
 
Certainly, interests of these two subjects are different, if not even opposite. This would be wrong to say that students are interested in promoting plagiarism or that teachers do everything possible to catch those who plagiarize. The issue is much more complicated: students, when under pressure, start taking advantage of plagiarism, and teachers, in order to promote justice and fairness, start inventing ways to prevent plagiarism.
 
So, let us turn to the causes of plagiarism, i.e. why students still plagiarize:

  • Students are overwhelmed with assignments.

    Would it not be wiser for teachers who want to prevent plagiarism to simply give students less assignments and try to consider the fact that students have to complete assignments for other subjects as well?

  • Students hope that anti-plagiarism software will not be used to check their work.

    Would it not be better for teachers to remind students about software he/she uses to prevent plagiarism?

  • Students do not have good research skills to make their own findings, rather than to plagiarize.

    Would it not be smarter for a teacher who is struggling to prevent plagiarism to give students additional support in research, explaining different citation styles, research methods, etc.?

Whenever you have a problem, it is always better to start from its origin and cause. So, if these recommendations on how to prevent plagiarism were considered by teachers, this problem would not be so disturbing, continuously growing and developing.

Certainly, these causes cannot serve as good excuses for plagiarism. So, dear students, do everything possible not to plagiarize!

Avoiding Plagiarism by all Means

Posted on:January 22, 2009

You probably do not want to have problems at school or university. Then you should always avoid plagiarism, even if it seems to be the only way out.

Hopefully, you do not need an extensive explanation how plagiarism can harm your academic record, reputation, and you fully realize the negative consequences of plagiarizing. On the other hand, not everybody knows how to avoid plagiarism, so this should become the key issue of our discussion.

Here are some ways to avoid plagiarism:

  • You need to paraphrase in order to avoid plagiarism. However, finding some synonyms and replacing the original text with them is not a good way out. You need to use your own words and even your own ideas to explain what the original author meant, disclosing his/her main idea.
  • You should take advantage of the quotation marks. If you have to use exact words of this particular author, simply put them in quotation marks and cite according to the required style. This is an easy solution to your problem. However, if you use too many quotations, your paper will make a bad impression.
  • Thus, another way to avoid plagiarism is to cite your sources. Different writing styles set different requirements for citing sources, but you usually need to mention the name of the author, date of publication, and title of the used source.
  • Finally, you should not avoid using plagiarism software, since this way you can make sure that your paper is non-plagiarized.
    If you have some other ideas on how you can avoid plagiarism - go ahead and share your thoughts. However, if you do not intend to plagiarize, the percentage of unintended plagiarism remains to be very low.

Pros and Cons of Plagiarizing

Posted on:January 9, 2009

Every day we face some controversial issues that cannot be interpreted in one way. Plagiarism belongs to this kind of issues: until you face the problem of lack of your own ideas, you may passionately argue against plagiarism. So, it can be said that the issue of plagiarism is neither “white”, nor “black”. It is just there.
 
Imagine if you were asked to act as a plagiarism analyzer and evaluate all pros and cons of this issue. What would you say?
 
Here are some ideas for your plagiarism analysis:

  1. Plagiarism is a good thing in terms of saving time and efforts. You do not have to try to come up with your own ideas, but you can simply copy/paste some author’s points.
  2. Plagiarism is a bad thing, since you can get caught on it and be severely punished for it. Some universities may even expel you for plagiarizing, so this is actually a very serious issue.
  3. Plagiarism is easy to indicate, especially if you have some anti-plagiarism software, a reliable plagiarism analyzer. Many teachers take advantage of these programs, do not underestimate them. So, make sure to put everything into your own words.
  4. Plagiarism is not always so evident, especially if you paraphrase what you read. In fact, if you use your own words to summarize a text, you will never be accused of plagiarism.

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Online Plagiarism Checker: How Does It Work

Posted on:December 26, 2008

Would you like to know all the secrets of your teacher? Most likely, yes. Especially, if this can help you improve your grades.
 
Well, if your teacher is a fan of all kinds of anti-plagiarism programs, this article is a great opportunity for you to learn how these online plagiarism checkers work.
 
Interested? Continue reading!
 
An online plagiarism checker is a program where you upload any of your writings (your original ones, hopefully) and get a result of how high the percentage of plagiarism is.
 
Some students think that online plagiarism checkers are too complicated to use for their teachers to take advantage of them. Well, these students are completely wrong: even a seven years old child could check your complicated paper for plagiarism. So, dear students, your teachers have no problem running these kinds of online plagiarism checkers.
 
Many students believe that if they take only one sentence from a source, without citing it properly, nobody will notice that. To tell the truth, an online plagiarism checker will identify this sentence within few moments, highlighting it in red and showing the sources this sentence was stolen from. So, this online plagiarism checker is rather smart, isn’t it?!
 
Teachers love using all kinds of online plagiarism checkers, because they are often free of charge, designed by professionals to help educators identify plagiarism. Some anti-plagiarism programs are so sophisticated that even a paraphrased part can be detected.

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What Is Plagiarism and How to Avoid It

Posted on:December 12, 2008

Defining and avoiding plagiarism has become a major issue lately. Due to the rapid development of custom writing services, both reliable and irresponsible, plagiarism has altered and is now more spread than it was before. However, as it spreads, there appear ways to resist it. This is why there are so many cases of being caught on academic frauds lately.
 
Avoiding plagiarism becomes an easier task once you understand what it is and where you can get it. Plagiarism is an unauthorized use of someone else’s researches, words, or thoughts without proper acknowledgements and referencing.
 
Since it is important to define and avoid plagiarism, one must also know how cases of plagiarism occur. This will help escape accusations of academic frauds. Frankly speaking, once being caught, it is hard to restore the reputation.

  1. Be very careful when using someone’s thoughts and words. You will face the necessity of using them often (in essays, research papers, courseworks, and term papers). So, learn the right way of referencing from the very beginning in order to avoid plagiarism. Every school has a set of rules as to using a certain writing style, where lists of references are presupposed.
  2. In terms of defining and avoiding plagiarism, be especially careful with custom writing companies. Not all of them stick to the policies they place on the first pages of their web sites. If you are promised 100% non-disclosure, no re-selling and plagiarism-free papers, do not be afraid to contact their live support and ask questions that bother you. Demand a plagiarism report. Research to find out, which companies are the most reliable ones on the market. You will certainly waste some time looking for the answers, but later this will save you from getting into big troubles.