What is Plagiarism?

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Plagiarism is defined simply as copying or using other people’s work and making it appear as your own. Plagiarism is an infringement on someone’s right particularly in the intellectual property rights of an individual. It is not in itself a crime but may merit penalties or punishments such as suspension from class, or the more drastic, expulsion from the university. Great care must therefore be exercised not to be able to commit plagiarism to avoid being in a compromising situation.

With the advent of the computer technology, information access is facilitated by the internet or the world wide web. Due to the easy access of information, the downside is plagiarism also becomes more rampant. The reasons could vary from plain laziness to ignorance of citing rules to the need to impress teachers or someone in authority that one is capable of coming up with a brilliant work. Fear could also be a factor. Particularly in students who want to get good grades. Whatever it is that push people to commit such desperate measure, still it doesn’t change the fact that plagiarism is greatly unethical.

In order to avoid plagiarism in their works it is important for students and people who use information from books or internet to keep these few pointers in mind:

* Copying texts from the books or internet word for word is a big no-no
* Improper citation of works could also be a case of plagiarism
* Not putting quotation marks on cited phrases is considered plagiarism
* Failing to use your own words in expressing an idea is not allowed

Respecting other people’s rights should be observed. To avoid plagiarism, one could either paraphrase the ideas presented then write it in his/her own words. Or, put quotation marks to the ideas used and acknowledge the author thru in-text citation, endnote or footnote. APA style, MLA style, Harvard citation techniques are but some of the citing styles that one could learn and use to effectively curb plagiarism.

To help students totally avoid plagiarism a new market has emerged that provide commercial services for custom-made papers for a fee. A perfect example of these companies would be the Writers United where strict anti-plagiarism policies are imposed by the management. There are also new companies that offer to check the custom-made papers for plagiarism. The invaluable services these commercial companies render greatly lessen the possibilities of plagiarism at the same time facilitate students’ works and requirements.

Plagiarism may come as an attractive alternative for some people particularly students but in the long run, it is actually counterproductive. It would greatly impede the learning process of the student if all that he/she learns to do is copy-paste or copy word for word the texts. It would also encourage laziness and downplay critical thinking since it does not really take much effort for a person to copy something. Plagiarism does not help anybody at all even the person who commits it. It should be avoided at all cost.

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