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Everything a student needs to know about plagiarism

As a student, it is essential to the success of your studies that you understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid partaking in it. So here is everything a student needs to know about plagiarism. This article focuses on the following points: What does "plagiarism" mean? What are the different types of plagiarism? Why should your work have no plagiarism? How can you avoid plagiarism?

Everything a student needs to know about plagiarism
Sadia Hakim

March 17, 2021

Classroom plagiarism is not a crime per se, but it is undeniably an unethical act. It can be subjected to severe punitive action depending on the violation or the seriousness of the issue.


What does "plagiarism" mean?

Let us start by looking into the etymology of this word. "Plagiarism" stems from the word "plagiarius", which means "kidnapper". It comes from the word "plaga", used in Latin to refer to a net used by hunters. Its meaning has been expanded to the kidnapping of other people's words and ideas.

Plagiarism is defined as copying or stealing someone else's words or thoughts and passing them off as your own work. For example, by stealing a paragraph from the Internet, putting your name on it, and turning it in as if you are the author.


What are the different types of plagiarism?

There are many types of plagiarism which students sometimes commit knowingly and sometimes not in their university or professional life. The following are some common types of plagiarism:

  1. Global Plagiarism
  2. Verbatim Plagiarism
  3. Mosaic Plagiarism
  4. Paraphrasing Plagiarism
  5. Auto Plagiarism

  1. Global Plagiarism

Global Plagiarism is copying or stealing another person's entire work. For example, if your class fellow writes an essay and you submit it as your work, it is global plagiarism. It happens mostly on purpose.


  1. Verbatim Plagiarism

As the name indicates, Verbatim Plagiarism is the type of plagiarism in which you copy someone else's intellectual property as expressed in their exact words; it is a copy-paste work. 


  1. Mosaic Plagiarism

A mosaic is a mixture of different coloured materials. So, mosaic plagiarism is the type of content theft in which you take different expressions, paragraphs or ideas from various sources and then merge or reorganise them to repurpose them as your own.


  1. Paraphrasing Plagiarism

Paraphrasing is the rewriting of someone's text in your own words. Paraphrasing is thought of as the most common type of plagiarism done by students in their assignments and academic work. It is sometimes used as a powerful tool to eliminate plagiarism by students. However, it can lead to accidental plagiarism.


  1. Auto Plagiarism

Also referred to as self-plagiarism, this is when the author picks up the text of his previously published work. Although the borrowed content is the author's intellectual property, it is still considered plagiarism, and can make the newly forged work redundant.


Why should your work have no plagiarism?

It would be best if you avoid plagiarism. If you ask "why?" here is the answer:

First, it is an unethical act and academic dishonesty. Second, by plagiarizing or stealing someone's ideas, you cannot get a chance to work on your own; you are not applying the academic skills and knowledge you have picked up yourself. Moreover, the creator or author can take action against you. Ultimately, plagiarising will damage the integrity, credibility and originality of your work.


How can you avoid plagiarism?

If you want to avoid plagiarism, here are given some tips to remove it from your work:

  • Always cite your sources, whether quoting directly or not.
  • If you are unsure whether to reference or not, it is normally safer to do so.
  • Try to gain maximum understanding of the subject area, then write in your own words. 
  • Put your work through a plagiarism checker before formally submitting.

Some people also use the paraphrasing technique to avoid plagiarism, but merely changing the synonyms here and there still qualifies as plagiarism, and will often be picked up by plagiarism checkers.

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