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Plagiarism is the deliberate act of appropriating someone’s publication as one’s own. The publication may be artistic, literary, musical or any other form of work. It is basically stealing someone’s ideas and making them like your own. When somebody uses more than four consecutive words from someone’s work without citing by way of using quotation marks or referencing the work, he is said to have committed academic plagiarism.
Plagiarism irrespective of the form that it takes should be discouraged at all cost as it devalues the worthiness of the work done by another using his or her intellect. It also devalues the work done by an individual for academic purposes. When plagiarism takes place, it rips off the dignity that a writer possesses. My opinion is that plagiarism of whatever level should not be tolerated as it encourages laziness.
When a student commits a plagiarism offense, he is liable for a penalty. The penalty may however vary from one authority to another depending on the magnitude and regulations governing a particular institution. In some institutions for instance, when a student plagiarizes a section of the work, the plagiarized work may not be marked (Gilmore, 2008). Other authorities award no marks at all and go ahead to resubmit the work to the student upon realizing that the work is plagiarized.
This is done in order to discourage the student to plagiarize in future by making sure that the work is redone again. Some other institutions ensure that the student is failed the whole year and is forced to retake the course that was being examined for afresh. This makes the student really feel the impact of using somebody else ideas as if they arte their own. The other penalty that may be attracted by plagiarism is total exclusion from the university. The main reason why this is done is to encourage originality in ones academic work.
Inasmuch as plagiarism remains one of the most serious academic offences, it can be avoided if not done away with completely. One of the ways in which plagiarism can be avoided is by paraphrasing the information by changing the sentence structure (Buranen & Roy, 1999). This ensures that the original author’s words are not used as they appear in his work. Once rewriting is done, the writer can go back to the information and check if all the facts have been taken care of. The other way of avoiding plagiarism is by the use of quotation marks whenever words are lifted directly from a particular source. It is also important to use quotation marks when one uses word that were said by another person and intends to include them in his or her work. In case one uses a section of the words used by another person, the quotation marks should be used together with continuous dots in place of the words omitted from the original text.
The third and probably the most commonly used way of avoiding plagiarism is through the use of citations on any information obtained from other sources. This can be achieved by recognizing other peoples work by either using the words ‘According to ……..or as so and so states……’ or by providing a link to the referred websites (Gilmore, 2008). A list of all the sources cited in ones work is then provided at the end of the writers work. This shows that the author of the cited work is being recognized by the writer. Proper management of ones time is also vital in avoiding cases of plagiarism. This is achieved by ensuring that adequate time is allocated for research so as to avoid temptations to plagiarize. It has been noted that poor management of time in research work can lead to intentional plagiarism when the writer find that time is not enough to research adequately (Anderson, 1998). This arises when time elapses and the student has nothing to submit to the instructors which may be a source of stress.
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