How to Avoid Plagiarism in Research Papers: Why It’s Important

If you are writing an academic paper, you must be familiar with the word plagiarism. However, there is a common confusion among students on what constitutes plagiarism.

For some, plagiarism arises from copying work from another source verbatim while for others, poor referencing of used sources makes for plagiarism. Put simply, plagiarism is the expression of another author’s ideas as your own. 

However, this simplification limits one from understanding how plagiarism arises. This article will tackle various facts about plagiarism including how plagiarism affects students and the implications of plagiarism.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of using another author’s work or expressing their ideas within your paper without proper acknowledgment. Plagiarism may thus be a result of copying another person’s work, patching pieces of information from another source without proper referencing, or expressing unoriginal arguments in your paper.

As such, poor paraphrasing, poor referencing, and the omission of quotation marks on quotes may result in plagiarism. 

Why is plagiarism bad?

Why is plagiarism shunned within the realm of academia? Like burglary, having your intellectual property taken from you is not very pleasant. When you plagiarize a document, you take ownership of work that was conducted by another expert, denying them credit for their effort.

Also, plagiarism denies your reader the ability to follow up on the material that was used in structuring your paper. This duplicity indicates laziness to conduct your original research, resulting in little benefit in the knowledge within your field. 

Is plagiarism cheating?

Plagiarism does not necessarily imply that your work was stolen. In some cases, plagiarism may be unintentional due to broken references and poor styling of in-text citations.

However, plagiarism relating to the use of opinions from another source without properly crediting these sources is evidence of cheating.

Why should you avoid plagiarism?

What risks do you face with plagiarism? The repercussions of plagiarising are determined by the level of study, the purpose of your paper, and the guidelines from your faculty. Some institutions may punish plagiarism by turning down an assignment while others take a greater punitive approach of expelling you from the program.

When writing at a professional level, plagiarism may attract legal suits that set you back a couple of dollars in legal fees. You should thus avoid plagiarism to avoid these implications ensuring a smooth career and academic life. 

Why do students plagiarize?

Considering the weight of the implications of plagiarism, you might be wondering why students plagiarize. In many cases, plagiarism is the result of a poor understanding of paraphrasing, quoting, and referencing. 

The poor grasp of these tasks causes students to illegally use ideas without crediting them and thus fall victim to plagiarism. Also, students may rush in preparing their papers or invest little time in editing, resulting in broken or missing references. 

Some students, however, try to paraphrase work from other sources in a bid to escape the tedious task of researching their topic and coming up with original claims. Also common is the presentation of assignments that are borrowed from a peer’s essay. 

How much plagiarism is allowed?

A typical answer to this question is ZERO. After all, no tutor would advocate for plagiarism and thus they advocate that you aim for a fully original paper where every idea that is borrowed from another source is properly acknowledged. 

The range of acceptable plagiarism is 0% to 15% depending on the faculty guidelines. We, however, recommend that you check your paper with a plagiarism checker and fix any issues within your paper. you may also consider getting professional editing assistance to nip the issues that would have easily escaped your radar. 

Also worth noting, you would be far better off selecting a unique topic as opposed to one that has been subjected to multiple studies. This prevents the likelihood that you express ideas that were already covered in another paper, helping you avoid plagiarism.

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