Plagiarism is a word that makes all students nervous. In the college environment, it is defined in a blurry way. How can words belong to someone? What if the ideas accidentally match? It is really hard for a student to distinguish real plagiarism because you cannot create a single essay without using the ideas of other authors. Fighting with plagiarism without having a clear picture of what it is, becomes nearly impossible.
So what is plagiarism? Here are some definitions found in the MacMillan Dictionary:
The process of using ideas, works, and words of other people as your own
An idea, text, or any other material used in your work without mentioning that you took them from another author
From an academic standpoint, plagiarism is theft. Whether you take the entire piece and call it your own or use fragments in your work without giving credit, you commit fraud. So the process involves two stages – taking someone else`s work and lying that it is your own. In any proportions.
Considering the definitions, plagiarism can take various forms:
Paraphrasing someone’s work in your own words, changing the structure of the sentences but keeping the initial idea
Copying someone’s work word for word without mentioning the author
Not citing the sources, you used for your work
Direct cutting and pasting
Not mentioning other students that work in collaboration with you
Making wrong/inaccurate references
Asking someone else to produce a piece and claiming it to be yours
As you can see, most cases of plagiarism, especially in the academic environment, can be avoided by citing sources. However, sometimes, acknowledging that you use borrowed materials in your own piece doesn’t work. Imagine that someone copied the Zootropolis cartoon and mentioned the author’s name on the DVD cover. The credits your give in such case don’t save you from responsibility.
Every person that produces original content (even you as a student who writes essays) is a copyright owner. Copyright ownership is prescribed to you automatically, but there are musicians, authors, and artists that have exclusive rights for their products. When you use someone’s works, including web materials, songs, images, books, or anything else without permission, you actually break the rules. However, plagiarism doesn`t necessarily involve copyright infringement. Of course, you don`t have to ask scientists and book authors for permission to quote their works. They won`t take you to court if you forget to cite the sources correctly, but your professor can give you an F.
However, some universities in Australia and the US have more severe penalties for copyright violation. If the case of a breach is significant – say, you have stolen the entire piece, or your professor is too strict – they have a right to report it to copyright owners, and the court might ask you to pay the fees.
The way of avoiding plagiarism is defined by a country you live in. For example, in America, students must create a Works Cited page to list all sources used in their papers. In the US, the idea of originality and attribution is highly-valued. At the same time, countries with a collectivist culture like China and Korea are not very bothered about the concept of individuality. The differences between individualist and collectivist cultures spread really far, so students from Asia don`t always understand the values American universities try to protect. Collectivist cultures are rooted in the idea of socialism, equality, and blurred personality. That`s why taking someone`s words and repeating them is a standard practice out there. Asian people believe that memorizing and repeating someone else represents their admiration and respect.
In Europe, regulations vary, as well. According to statistics, 30% of Polish students have no idea how to avoid plagiarism since they don’t understand the policies. Learners in most European countries are aware that regulations exist, but they don`t know anything about punishment. Considering the differences in perception, international students might find it really hard to orient themselves in other regions. Academic integrity is something every university has to teach, but at the same time, students` cultural background must not be ignored. Rules are rules, but we can embrace the differences and share our understanding.
In general, in Australia, like in any other English-speaking region, the acknowledgment of other people`s work is essential. In colleges and universities, students are expected to mark the ideas taken from outside sources to differentiate them from their own thoughts. When writing a paper, you need to indicate all sources used in it – both online and offline.
Sources might be different from your textbook to a website. Both scientific and non-academic sources must be cited throughout the text of your work and listed on the last page of it in alphabetical order. In general, it doesn`t really matter where did you take the idea or thought – you must format it as a quotation in all cases. If you fail to do that, be ready that your professors can blame you for plagiarism. They know how to check plagiarism in students` works, and you will inevitably fail the assignment in case you commit such a fraud.
Punishment for plagiarizing students in Australian universities can be really tough. Everything depends on the case. If you are suspected of cheating, your professor or any other staff member will report to HOD, and they will arrange the meeting to define the gravity of punishment. In minor cases, students usually are warned that their actions are unlawful. Your professor will definitely ask you to rewrite or edit your paper, and no serious consequences are waiting for you. However, if the act of plagiarism was massive, your enrollment can be terminated for a couple of weeks or forever. Universities` accusation varies depending on the problem severity.
In August 2019, there were 846,364 international enrollments in Australian unis. This country is a popular destination among youngsters from China, Vietnam, Brazil, and India. Expats make a quarter of all admissions in Sydney. As for Melbourne, almost 50% of its students come from other countries. All of them have to experience the same difficulties – language gap, high demands, and a lack of self-confidence. That is why this group of students is known to be the most tempted to commit plagiarism and cheating on tests.
The rules about plagiarism are the same for both local and international learners. However, international students don’t always understand how to check for plagiarism before submission and ignore this problem because their cultural background doesn’t cultivate copyright laws. Being an international student, you can get kicked out for plagiarism if:
You bought a paper from someone and submitted it as your own instead of using it as a guide
You copied a pretty significant piece of someone`s text without mentioning the author
You are caught cheating several times
You don’t use proper academic formatting to mark quotations
In general, being a cheating international student, you can count on being treated as any other learner that commits plagiarism. The punishment will vary from caution to expulsion, depending on the case. Just be sure that you don`t evoke suspicions and do everything to prevent accusations!
But we have good news! There is a fair percentage of plagiarism, so if your professors detect 15% of matching the text in your paper, you can rest assured that no punishment is waiting for you. 10-15% is a low percentage, while 25% and more can turn into trouble.
However, be aware that the ethically-acceptable percentage deals with common phrases, terminology, concepts, and general knowledge. Your professor won`t be delighted by a copied quote that takes 15% of your work and will consider it as plagiarism. You need to use plagiarism checkers online before submission and make sure that you hand a clean and neat paper. Even if your score is lower than 10%, think if your essay needs a revision.
Plagiarism is something you always want to avoid. Outside sources make your papers more credible, while correct formatting will help you keep yourself away from unnecessary problems. Here are some tips that will help you improve the efficiency of your writing and exclude any traces of plagiarism:
Indicate quotes when doing prior research and add the author`s name, book title, or URL when using someone else`s words.
The author’s or/and the book`s name should be placed in the same sentence as the quotation. Quote only those words that are necessary to support your claims – there is no need to copy the entire paragraph if one sentence is enough.
Don’t overdo with direct quotations and paraphrase other author’s words when possible. Summarize their ideas and be sure that all quotation marks are in place.
When you write about someone’s idea in your own words, make sure to add the author’s name. Always use footnotes and citation marks for the key points.
If you are a hard-working student that never commits academic fraud, you still can be accused of cheating. How? Well, your roommate can steal your paper, for example. Or you may accidentally leave your USB in a college library. Use passwords and have copies of your works on different devices to avoid situations like this.
Numerous services will help you check your papers before submission for free. You are recommended to use them to feel confident that your content is flawless. We will discuss some of them below.
The easiest way to deal with a plagiarism nightmare is by using the benefits of modern technology. Free plagiarism checking tools are convenient and accurate enough. You can rely on the results they provide since they are no less powerful than those your teachers use. Here are the best apps you should try:
There is no need to search for an advanced application anywhere on the web since we have already taken care of it. How to check plagiarism online on our website? Nothing is easier than that. Just open the page, copy your text in a field or upload a file, and press the "Check" button. In a minute, you will get a result. The online tool provides a detailed report with a percentage and marks the places copied from other sources. After checking your work, you may edit the marked parts and then recheck your paper – the number of sessions is unlimited.
Another app that will help you avoid committing plagiarism is a paraphrasing tool. With this online program, you don`t have to worry about originality when writing a paper. Just create a structured piece and include everything your professor asks you to. Then you can upload your document to this page, and the tool will paraphrase the content. You will get rewritten and unique piece. This is a perfect way to receive a completely new text with a couple of clicks.
Grammarly is a great multifunctional tool for students. You can use it to check if your paper is unique, edit grammar, and spelling. Grammarly is a pretty old application, so it has been improved for a number of times. Plagiarism checker compares your paper to other texts on the web and provides instant results.
With Plagscan, you will detect plagiarism in your papers fast and easily. When searching for matching texts, this tool checks online content and materials stored in databases. With its help, you can check several documents at the same time. The app has a free trial version.
With the help of these tools, you will be armed against plagiarism completely. You will find out if your papers contain any copied parts, missed quotation marks, or anything else that can be considered as cheating.
Hopefully, after reading this post, you finally understood what does it mean to plagiarize and how to avoid possible issues connected with such acts. In most cases, students commit plagiarism accidentally, but now you are informed and therefore have more chances to keep yourself away from troubles. In addition to being aware of what plagiarism is, listed practices, pieces of advice, and helpful tools should become a part of your daily routine. Make them a part of your college life, and rest assured that your works are always unique.