What really is plagiarism? Plagiarism according to Wikipedia is the use of another person’s ideals/words and tries to pass them off as yours. It is hence” a wrongful appropriation” of another person’s thoughts, expressions, idea or languages as your own origin idea.

Another word for plagiarism is academic dishonesty and it constitutes a breach of academic ethics and can attract penalties which may include suspension or expulsion from school. Most schools do not joke with the crime of plagiarism that explains why they invest heavily in explaining to their students the ills of plagiarism.

Plagiarism can be in difference formswhich include direct plagiarism (this involves taking another authors’ thought and expressions word to word without citing the author properly; another one is self-plagiarism ( this involves taking your own ideas from your previous published work and submit it as a current work without proper citation);  another form of plagiarism is mosaic plagiarism (this constitute quoting ones idea/work intentionally avoiding quotation marks or even replacing someone’s idea with synonyms just to keep the structure and meaning of the idea) and finally we have accidental plagiarism (which involves misquoting, paraphrasing or forgetting to cite a source without acknowledging the source).

In academics, plagiarism is a serious offence such that there are lots of softwares used to detect a plagiarized work which have been adopted by many academic institutions. These softwares include the Turnitin, plagiarism checker X, Grammarly, etc. Hence, the need for research students to follow the following steps to avoid being booked for plagiarism while submitting their research outputs. These steps include:

  • Quote and Paraphrase Properly:  whenever you use ideals relevant for your paper, it is advisable you read the idea and use your own word in presenting the idea. Avoid copying more than two words in a row verbatim unless you use quotation marks and when using quotation marks, quote exactly the way it appears in the work. Do not misquote an author and do not quote more than 40 words and make sure you cite every quote appropriately and recall that citing a quote usually involves adding a page or paragraph number.
  • Make Sure You Cite You Own Material: if you use a material from your previous published paper, ensure you cite yourself properly. This may sound funny, but, self-plagiarism is a serious offence in the academic word, so, cite your paper as you would cite another person’s paper.
  • Reference Properly: one of the major ways to avoid being penalized for plagiarism is to include a reference section in your assignments or research papers. This section must conform with any of the established/adopted referencing style for the institution you are writing for. The difference referencing styles include APA, Harvard, MLA, etc. The reference section shows the names of the authors cited, their date of publication, tile of their work and the publisher of the work.
  • Finally check your work for plagiarism: after writing your paper or assignment, it is advisable that before you submit the work, you check the work’s similarity index using a good tool for plagiarism check. One of such good tool and the most widely used is the Turnitin, you can as well Google some of other free tools online. But make sure you check all your works to avoid being penalized for plagiarism. Plagiarism can take you to prison in some sane crimes.