Plagiarism: be afraid… be very afraid
Most of us know what it is. As a writer, it’s absolutely essential to know what it means.
Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as your own.
I think that it comes down to three major things: time, the internet, and laziness.
So we tend to try to rewrite part of it by changing a few words here and there. Not good enough. In order to avoid plagiarism we have to do more than just change a few words. We have to totally reconstruct the sentence, paragraph, or entire article into our own words. And don't forget about concept. If the words are changed, but the concept remains the same, you risk plagiarism.
How, you ask? One information site I came across while searching plagiarism was a site for Indiana University. I found it to be very informative with great examples. Make sure you check this out. Here are a couple more ideas on how to avoid it:
The use of Specific Words or Phrases
Give Credit Where Credit is Due: Know that if you use someone else’s words it is imperative to put them in quotation marks and credit the source.
Common Knowledge or Not Common Knowledge
You don’t have to provide a source for things that are considered common knowledge. Whenever information is considered to be in the public domain, it is considered general standard reference, i.e.; birth and dates of well-known figures, or dates of historical, military, and other events. Another type of common knowledge is field-specific common knowledge. This means the information is common within a particular field or specialty. Before you use this information as your own, you must be sure that it is so widely known within that field that will be shared by your readers.
My best advice is to you is, if there is doubt, lean on the cautious side and cite the source.
Even the best intentions can go awry. If you are paraphrasing a paragraph, you are vulnerable of committing plagiarism simply because you are using large chunks of material and may use ideas without proper citation.
The Don’ts Plagiarism
Have you ever been accused of plagiarism? Do you know someone who has? Do you have advice on how to avoid doing this nasty deed? Leave a comment and let us know.
As always, thank you for stopping by.
All my best wishes for your success,