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Plagiarism refers to the deliberate or reckless representation of other people’s words, thoughts, or ideas as one’s own without credit in connection with submission of academic work, whether graded or otherwise. The Office of the Dean of Students can punish students who plagiarize with course failure and deferral since it is considered as a form of cheating. Understanding of plagiarism assists us to comprehend the procedure of sharing and developing concepts in the university (Anderson, 1998). This is because all knowledge is developed from previous knowledge. We draw on other people’s ideas whenever we are reading, studying, perform experiments and gather perspectives. We create our own ideas by building on their ideas and experiences. Your instructors will want to differentiate between the building block concepts scrounged fro other people and your own newly reasoned perspectives or conclusions when putting your ideas on paper. These distinctions can be made in a written paper by citing the sources for your building block concepts. Provision of necessary citations will also assist readers who have interest in your topic to find extra related materials to read- in this manner; they will be capable of building on the work you have done to find sources (Clabaugh & Rozycki, 2001).
Experts consider some concepts common knowledge in every professional field but remember that you are not yet a professional (Buranen & Roy, 1999). Infact, you are just learning about those ideas in the course you are undertaking; hence materials which you are reading might not yet be common knowledge to you (Sharna, 2002). You may find it significant to ask yourself the following questions so as to decide incase the material you want to use in your paper comprises common knowledge: before taking this course did I know this information? Did this information/concept originate from my own brain? The information will not be common knowledge to you if you answer “no” to one or both of these questions. You are supposed to cite your sources and show where you initially learned this bit of what may be common knowledge in the field, in these cases (Williams, 2008).
In addition to citing sources paraphrasing can also assist you to avoid plagiarism. Paraphrasing refers to taking another people’s concepts and putting those concepts in your own words. Paraphrasing doesn’t refer to the changing one or two words in another person’s sentence, changing the sentence structure while preserving the initial words, or changing a few words to synonyms (William & Smith, 2003). You will be therefore writing too close to the initial sentence incase you are tempted to rearrange a sentence in any of these manners since this will not be paraphrasing but will be plagiarizing.
Incase you are using citing as a means of avoiding plagiarism, do you feel that you use numerous citations? Too few? Many students agonize that incase they use too many citations their instructor will think that they are depending too heavily on the source material and hence not thinking on their own (Smith, 2008). As a matter of facts, use of citations permits you to clearly demonstrate how well you comprehend the course materials while making clear differences between what the authors have to say and your analysis of their concepts in addition (Ranald, 2003).
Therefore, using citations permits you to show off your comprehension of the material and the assignment other than making your paper to look less rationally sophisticated (Carroll & Appleton, 2001). Citing your sources provides proof of what you know and of the power behind your knowledge instead of illustrating what you are not aware of (Marsh, 2007). You are supposed to ensure that your paper has a point, main concept, or thesis that does not belong to anybody else other than you and that you arrange the source material around that point.
In general, plagiarism has led to increased concerns among academic institutions with tutors and lecturers viewing it as a serious and intolerable offence since they equate it to stealing. This has forced students to be careful oh how to deal with this issues and how to avoid it bearing in minds its aftermaths. This has led to development of plagiarism checker and detectors hence facilitating students’ ability to come with their own written works.
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