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Plagiarism is the act of intentionally or unintentionally presenting someone else’s work as one’s own. Educational institutions worldwide have an anti-plagiarism policy, and failure to adhere to it can result in a failing grade or even expulsion. However, what exactly does this policy entail? How can you check your paper for copied content, and is there a reliable online plagiarism checker available?

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is defined as the act of using another creator’s language and ideas without authorization and presenting them as one’s own, according to the 1997 New Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language. It can have serious consequences, such as a student failing their assignment or being expelled from school, or an employee losing their job. To incorporate another creator’s ideas into your work, you must use proper techniques such as quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing.

How to recognize plagiarism?

Plagiarism manifests in various forms and it is crucial for students to learn how to identify it in written texts and avoid it while creating their own research papers. In academia, different types of plagiarism are recognized as a serious violation. Copyright infringement includes:

  • Intentionally presenting someone else’s work as your own
  • Unintentionally presenting someone else’s work as your own
  • Combining information from different sources
  • Patch writing, which involves using phrases and words from sources and piecing them together in a new sentence
  • Not properly citing source material
  • Failing to credit someone when you have used their words in your text
  • Failing to properly cite your own text if you have used it in a different context.

Consequences of Plagiarism

Committing plagiarism, whether intentional or unintentional, can have severe and long-lasting consequences, including affecting a student’s ability to graduate with their chosen degree. Prestigious post-secondary institutions rarely offer second chances when it comes to accusations of plagiarism.

The ramifications of plagiarism can result in a failing grade, academic probation, and a permanent mark on a student’s academic record. In the worst-case scenario, a student may be expelled from their course or university.

A finding of plagiarism follows a student throughout their academic career and may even impact their professional life. Post-secondary institutions share information, so if an expelled student attempts to transfer or enroll at a different school, details of their infraction may be disclosed.

As a working professional, attempting to reproduce or take credit for someone else’s work can lead to job loss and negative consequences that linger on.

How to avoid plagiarism

To avoid plagiarism and ensure the authenticity of your content, there are several tips to follow:

  1. Properly cite your sources using footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical references. Include a bibliography, works cited, or references page at the end of your research paper to list all used sources. The easiest way to document sources is by using parenthetical references, which involves placing a short reference in parentheses immediately after the citation and then listing the sources mentioned on the bibliography page.

  2. Follow the instructions provided by your teacher or professor. Check which type of documentation is preferred and make sure to master the option on your computer beforehand if required.

  3. If using footnotes, add numerically superscripted footnote references at the foot of the same page where your citations are placed. Include a bibliography, works cited, or references page at the end of your paper, unless otherwise instructed.

  4. If using endnotes, list your references at the end of your paper on a separate page entitled Endnotes, in superscripted numerical order. Include a bibliography, works cited, or references page after the endnotes page, unless instructed otherwise.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your work is original and properly documented, avoiding the risk of plagiarism and its consequences.

It is important to follow citation manuals when documenting sources in your paper. Parenthetical references require a brief reference enclosed in parentheses immediately after the quotation, followed by a list of sources on a Bibliography, Works Cited, or References page at the end of your paper.

For Footnote references, numerically superscripted Footnote references should be placed at the bottom of the same page where your citations are located. Additionally, a Bibliography, Works Cited, or References page should be added at the end of your paper, unless otherwise instructed by your teacher or professor.

Similarly, for Endnote references, the citation in the text of your paper should be similar to your Footnote citation, but the Endnote references should be listed at the end of your paper on a separate page titled Endnotes. You should still add a Bibliography, Works Cited, or References page after your Endnotes page, unless instructed otherwise.

It is crucial to write your own thoughts and avoid using someone else’s work without proper acknowledgement. Plagiarism includes paraphrasing, mixing sentences from different sources, and patchwriting. It is not a good idea to take a paper from a friend or senior student’s archive or to directly incorporate information from the internet without paraphrasing and citing its source. Plagiarism is unethical, dishonest, and does not promote learning. Moreover, the consequences of getting caught can be severe. It is best to avoid plagiarism altogether.

Check for Plagiarism Online

If you’re unsure whether you have properly cited your source material or block quotes, there are several online resources that can help you verify the uniqueness of your paper. Many of these resources offer both free and paid options that scan your text and conduct a plagiarism test against all available online sources to ensure that your essay is either unique or properly cited. One popular and user-friendly tool among students is AResearchGuide’s free online plagiarism checker with no word limit and percentage. It provides an accurate plagiarism report, highlights copied and paraphrased parts, and can help ensure the originality of your content.