The academia has been plagued by the fundamental problem of plagiarism for a while now. More often than not a lot of scholars tend to undermine the impact of this problem on academic and intellectual endeavours. Plagiarism is the action of taking the ideas or concepts of another person and representing these ideas as your original idea. Plagiarism can also be regarded as a form of theft of intellect and creative ideas.
Maimon, Peritz and Yancey (2016) describe this anomaly as a process of drawing words from others without recourse to the expectations of honesty and integrity. A copyrighted work is the intellectual property of the copyright holder (253).
Forms of Plagiarism
People fall victim to plagiarism because of their level of ignorance about the forms of plagiarism. The following are some of the major forms of plagiarism identified by Neville 2016:
This form of plagiarism the verbatim drafting of the ideas found in a copyrighted work and presenting as if they were yours.
Plagiarism by Paraphrasing
Writing the ideas and presenting them as if they were yours can lead to unintended plagiarism. Hence, plagiarism does not only mean copying the words of copyright but also involves copying the ideas already stated by people without referring to the owner.
This form of plagiarism involves the use of phrases and terminologies that are lifted from copyrighted sources without referring to the source or sources (74).
How to Avoid Plagiarism
Plagiarism can be avoided in different ways. Having studied the pitfalls of plagiarism, the following methods or strategies can be used or adapted to avoid plagiarism.
Amplify your ideas with other sources.
Plagiarism can be avoided if writers can learn to only use the ideas of others to amplify their ideas by recognizing the importance of reviewing previous comments and perspectives about the topic they are writing about.
Internalize ideas and critically analyze them before writing or presenting them
Plagiarism can be avoided if writers can strive to comprehend, analyze and present ideas rather than just paraphrasing.
Writers should always acknowledge the sources of the ideas and words they intend to use in their write-ups.
Proper referencing is very important in avoiding plagiarism. There are various referencing styles which institutions of learning adopt in their academic endeavours. Two of these referencing styles are:
Modern Linguistic Association referencing style
American Psychology Association referencing style
Maimon, et al 2016 asserts that to avoid plagiarism completely, the following checklist must be diligently observed:
- Is my thesis my own idea, not something I found in one of my sources?
- Have I used a variety of sources, not just one or two?
- Have I identified each source clearly?
- Do I fully understand and explain all words, phrases, and ideas in my paper?
- Have I acknowledged all ideas that are based on neither my original thinking nor common knowledge?
- Have I properly integrated material from sources, using paraphrases, summaries, or quotations?
- If I am planning to publish my text online, have I received all the necessary permissions? (256).
Plagiarism is an intellectual and academic offence that must be frowned upon. Novel ideas and fresh thoughts can only be produced in an atmosphere of rigorous academic research devoid of plagiarized ideas and information.
Maimon, E. P., & Peritz, J. H. (2016). A Writer's Resource A Handbook for Writing and Research (MLA Update). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Neville, C. (2016). The Complete Guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism. Open press publishing.
Mr. Adelokun Adetunji Oluwapelumi is a Lecturer II at the School of Arts, Management and Social Science, Skyline University Nigeria. He has a Master of Arts Degree in English Literature from the University of Ibadan.