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Plagiarism is a term that has been widely used to deliberately or the reckless use of another person's wording, or original ideas in one's own literary or artistic work without properly acknowledging especially in connection to the academic work (Bora, 2010). This is contrary to the believe held by majority of people who perceive plagiarism as an act of copying literary works of another person, or the act of borrowing the original ideas from a second party. The use of the terms such as "copying", "stealing" and "borrowing" disguises the intention and the seriousness accorded to the offense.
Other definitions have been forwarded which aims at defining plagiarism as the act of fraud which is mainly associated with theft and deliberate lies that are given in case of using somebody else's literary works. Plagiarism has also been defined as the wrongful way of appropriating or a very close imitation, and the consequent publication of a different author's ideas and the wording expressions.
The history of plagiarism dates back to the 18th century where the modern concepts of terming it as immoral while praising originality as the ideal emerged especially in Europe. However, the centuries before the 18th century witnessed the authors and artists being encouraged to copy from the masters and avoid the unnecessary claims of invention.
The morality of the 18th century has found their institutionalization and enforcement especially in the world of academia and journalism. Plagiarism is now an act of academic dishonesty and a major breach in the ethical code of conduct for the journalists, which is subject to the punishment which may involve sanctions to the tune of expulsion or severe measures like complete career damage.
It has been argued that plagiarism is one major act of corruption. The emergence of internet which has made it very easy for information to be accessed with ease has contributed greatly to this menace. Among the major reasons why individual plagiarize others work include; the desire to arrive at an end result within the shortest time possible, unrestrictive measure countering the same and last but not least lack of adequate knowledge on a number of terms and phrases used in the academic as well as journalism field.
Types of plagiarism
Klausman, 1999 says that this kind of plagiarism is not intentional and committed by most students. Those that commit this kind of act are of the opinion that by changing the exacts words used by a source is right, what they fail to understand here is that although this is done, it is of paramount significance to acknowledge the source, failure to which constitute to plagiarism.
Self-plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty which involves the reuse of the significant, identical, or the identical portions of the authors own work without giving the acknowledgement or without properly giving a citation of a person's original work. The articles that are produced in this manner are mostly referred to as the duplicate or in other words it is an illegal multiple publication (Klausman, 1999). On the other hand this can be illegal if a copyright of the duplicated but prior work is already in use by another entity, this is completely unethical issue.
However self-plagiarism is, in most cases considered as a serious ethical issue in the settings where the said publication has been asserted to be consisting of new the material, such as for the academic publishing or the assignments meant for educational purposes. This idea does not apply to the public especially the interest texts which are mostly for the newspapers and magazines that have a social, professional, and the cultural opinions.
In the academic fields, the idea of self-plagiarism has a lot of weight especially when an author decides to reuse some portions of their own publications and the copyrighted work in the subsequent publications, without giving the attributes to other previous publication. A challenge comes in the process of Identifying self-plagiarism, it is difficult because the limited reuse of the available material is legally accepted and termed as the fair use and ethically accepted.
Rephrasing and the republishing of one's own work by the researchers is a common practice in the universities all over the world. The reused work is tailored mainly for the different academic journals and the newspaper articles in order for the dissemination of their work widely to the possible interested public. The researchers must follow the internationally set limits that pertains academic writing, for instance if half of the article is identical to the previous one, it will be subjected to rejection. The peer review process helps to prevent recycling in academic writing.
It is important to note that scholars have thought this kind of plagiarism to be very sophisticated. It involves an act of taking words and sentences from a given material and fixes them among one's own words and presenting them as your own ideas and concepts. Strictly speaking, plagiarism in this category is majorly as a result of taking notes in a sloppy manner hence the whole thing is seen to be dishonest and full of intention thus concluded to be plagiarism.
This is another type of plagiarism, an act committed by slightly over 40% of students according to Klausman, 1999. It typically entails using the words exactly used by another scholar and present them as your own words. It is worth noting that another name ascribed for direct plagiarism is word for word plagiarism.
Recent Case of plagiarism
The most recent and publicized plagiarism case is the one involving Karl-Theodor Zu Guttenberg a German Minister of defense. As a result of the case brought forth against him, the University of Bayreuth revoked or rather stripped his doctorate degree. It emerged that close to 100 pages out of his 475 pages thesis was plagiarized mostly from other published research. According to PRESSTV, 2011 demonstrators in Berlin, matched to his office with placards reading "playing tricks" and "we cannot accept his evidence" the dissertation in question is Constitution and Constitutional Treaty: Constitutional Developments in the US and EU was published in 2009 although it was completed in 2006. According to Hofferbrert, there will be no single judge that will believe a candidate that plagiarizes as many pages as 100 in his/her thesis (PRESSTV, 2011).
How it affects higher learning institutions and education
In an educational set up plagiarism implies using or passing off as one's own the words or the ideas of another without properly acknowledging the original author or source. common forms of plagiarism in educational institutions may include the following; failing to cite or improperly citing, a quotation, paraphrase, summary, data, idea, or any other piece of information that is not one's own or is only partially so; using parts of texts or an entire paper procured through the web or a term paper service; allowing or employing a third party to do some or all of the research and writing required of an assignment. The third parties include the friends, fellow students and the acquaintances, businesses and parents.
Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty. To avoid plagiarism, students must pay scrupulous attention to citation rules when using printed material as well as orally presented information , for example , material in books , journals, graphs, tables, visual art, music, audio lectures, lecture notes, lab notes, personal conversations and correspondence(including emails), on-line chats and bulletin boards, the web, CD-ROMS, and other telecommunication sources (Klausman, 1999). In plagiarizing, a person misrepresents ones knowledge and can be found guilty of academic dishonesty or academic fraud.
Plagiarism occurs at all levels of education, however the main focus is on the problem at the high school and the undergraduate levels. Plagiarism in education is a problem for many reasons. Which may include; the exchange of knowledge; the academic integrity of all parties involved (scholars, researchers, faculty, students, and the parents) is essential. On the other hand, the students are supposed to grow intellectually and accumulate a body of knowledge that is truly their own and the faculty has the mandate of evaluating their growth.
If the students are not honest about what they know, then the accuracy and validity of the evaluation process is undermined, and the degrees awarded by educational institutions becomes suspect. By properly citing sources of information in their academic work, students document that work and enable their teachers to validate their interpretations of that work. Moreover, by providing accurate citations, students contribute to the transfer of knowledge.
There are many underlying causes of plagiarism besides the willful intention to deceive or a desire to edge out the competition, students may be unaware of how or when to use citations, or they may genuinely misunderstand what constitutes plagiarism, or they may lack confidence in themselves in the art of academic writing (Bora, 2010). Other causes include carelessness, poor time management, and stress over the grades, laziness, immaturity, and faulty moral reasoning.
Students in the educational institutions that do not have an honor code are more likely to plagiarize; and students in majors such as business, science, and technology are more likely to plagiarize. If students perceive the faculty as not attending to academic integrity or if the same assignments are given in a course, semester after semester, the students are more likely to use others' work. In addition, students inexperienced with Standard English writing and citation conventions, especially students from abroad are more likely to plagiarize than the other students.
Clearly, the responses to plagiarism vary among the students, faculty and the institutions (Ercergovac & Richardson, 2004). The students may be surprised that they plagiarized, or they may underestimate the seriousness of the problem. Faculty, already feeling overburdened with the teaching and the research, often prefer not to get involved, especially if it entails holding discussions in ethics and instructing students in writing techniques.
The faculty may not also be interested in pursuing the alleged instances of plagiarism because the process is too long and complicated; or faculty may try to handle it themselves, without due process. The faculty may also perceive the administration as not supportive or inconsistent in prosecuting cases. Responses at the school level varies depending on whether the there is an honor code policy to which everyone actively adheres and whether there are fair procedures in place for handling the problem.
To avoid the problems, institutions of learning and the individual faculty may increase surveillance of students and threaten strong sanctions. They may also employ sophisticated means such as the web-based detection services to determine the authenticity of students' papers. However, such measures do not help the students to avoid inadvertent acts of plagiarism nor do they encourage students' ethical development. Gibaldi, 2003 gave the recommendations that the educational institutions that have well defined honor code policy and where faculty and the students openly value and maintain academic integrity are the most likely to keep plagiarism cases to a minimum. The introduction of special tutorials to teach the students to identify obvious and subtle forms of plagiarism and develop better research and the writing skills also decrease the likelihood of the offense. The model programs on academic integrity should be introduced to provide excellent guidelines and information for students, the faculty and the institutions.
According the nature of most students, the idea of moral development requires enough time to in order to help them develop their thoughts about the importance of upright morality and other ethical issues. Therefore the faculty should act as significant guides in their students' ethical development. In addition to responding to incidents when they arise, the faculty can forestall the problem by instructing the students properly and by making clear their expectations at the start of each studying period (Klausman, 1999). In such cases, though the principle of subsidiary is advisable, the attention should be paid to formal due process so that all the parties involved are contented, the offence should be documented, and the offender should be instructed. The consequences should be determined on the basis of important information, such as the severity of the act and whether the student has a record of past offences. In conclusion whether a school is proactive or reactive in handling plagiarism, the fact remains that for ethical development, the emphasis must be put on educating the students and not merely punishing them.
Consequences of plagiarism to academicians
The act of plagiarism in the academia, when committed by the students, professors, or researchers can be considered as academic dishonesty or fraud, Therefore the offenders are subjected to the academic censure, this can lead to serious penalties such as expulsion. In the journalism profession, plagiarism is termed as the breach of the journalistic ethics. If the reporter is caught plagiarizing, immediate disciplinary action ranging from suspension to the termination of his/her employment can be launched against. However most of the victims of plagiarism in the academic or journalistic contexts always claim that they did it unintentionally and more so only failed to include the required quotations or include proper citation (Gibaldi, 2003). Plagiarism in relation to scholarship and journalism has approximately completed a centuries-old history, the coming of the internet, has made possible the availability of articles in the form of electronic text, this has necessary to copy the work from other sources much easier and faster.
For the professors and the researchers, the act of plagiarizing can land one into a heavy punishment with sanctions range from the suspension to the termination; it can also cause a loss of one's credibility and the integrity. In most cases the charges of plagiarism against most students and the professors have been left in the hands of internally constituted disciplinary committees, all the parties which include the students and the professors have agreed to be bound by the rules and regulations of these committees (Klausman, 1999).
Academically there are rules and regulations that make plagiarism by the students to be a very serious offense with consequences that may result into a failing grade on the particular assignment in case of the high school level or for a course in case of the college level. Severe cases such as the repeated plagiarism, the student may be automatically suspended or completely expelled. Universities may resolve to revoke the academic degrees or awards as the penalty on plagiarism.
The pressure that is usually mounted on the students may bring the urge to complete papers quickly; this factor coupled with the accessibility to the Internet technological advancements worsens the situation. The students can easily plagiarize their work by the simple act of copying and pasting the information from the available sources. The teachers can easily detect by teachers because the students' make their choices of the sources that are not original, several students may copy their work identically and unknowingly from a very common source. The students may also choose their sources inappropriately and inaccurately making their work to be off-topic. Plagiarism can also be detected using an online detector.
Consequences of plagiarism to journalists
As suggested by Gibaldi, 2003 since the journalist's main objective is to win the public trust. When a reporter fails to honestly acknowledge the material sources it greatly undercuts the newspapers, television news or the whole of the intended show's integrity and the credibility. The Journalists who are accused of plagiarizing the contents of their presentations are normally suspended from their tasks by a regulatory body until the investigations into their charges have been completed followed by their clearance by the news organization. Considering the ease in reproducing the electronic text from an online source, a big number of the journalists have been lured into plagiarism unknowingly.
In the United States, the law accepts the reality that literary works can be stolen. Intellectual property involves the expression of one's own original ideas; this intellectual property is further protected by the copyright laws, as in the case of the other original inventions. Generally all forms of expression have been grouped under the copyright protection following their conversion into forms such as book publications or the computer filing system.
In some contexts, Plagiarism is considered as a form of theft or the act of stealing. However, the legal view point, the concept of plagiarism does not exist (UNC, 2011). There is no current statute that mentions plagiarism as either criminal case or civil. Instead some cases are treated as a form of unfair competition or the violation of the doctrine of moral rights. The intellectual property is increasingly being availed due to the rise in the technology. This has resulted into the debate as to whether copyright offences are criminal.
Plagiarism is completely different from the copyright infringement. The two terms may apply to a particular act, but they are completely different concepts. Copyright infringement is specifically a violation into the rights of the copyright holder, as a result of using the materials that are protected by the copyright without the owner's consent (Ercegovac & Richardson, 2004). The moral concept of plagiarism is mostly concerned with the unearned increment to reputation of an academically dishonest author but through the false claims of authorship.
How to prevent plagiarism
Change your attitude about using citations
The weakness of many students/Researchers is their worry in the use of citations in their writings due to the fear that they may be penalized by their instructors for relying very heavily to the source materials; however using citations allows a clear demonstration of a deep understanding of the material and the given assignment. Proper use of the citations will enable the author to be seen as having authority in the minds (Ercegovac & Richardson, 2004). To prevent plagiarism, the writer should make efforts to come up with the main idea, that is original and then organize the material in such a way as to reflect on the main point. If the writer is worried of the about the type of citations then one should counter check the assignment to make sure that all the they have an indication of the number or kind of source material that were used.
Improve note-taking skills; Take the notes carefully
The writer should carefully start and note the given bibliographic information which is needed for the works cited. If one is photocopying part of an article or the section out of the book or the journal, try to photocopy the front part of the pages of the source. In this way you'll have all the bibliographic information that is needed later (Gibaldi, 2003). Gather information on a given book, it can also be gotten from the institutions' library online card. If one is working on the article from a journal, the database from which the original citation was obtained can be revisited in order to find the bibliographic information that is needed.
Next, try thinking about your notes as a kind of transitional space between what you've read and what you're preparing to write. Imagine yourself having a conversation with the author of the story/novel/play/poem/article/book you're reading, in which you repeatedly ask yourself the following questions:
Adoption of a conversational approach in the note-taking exercise improves the author's analysis of the material by providing a lead into what the author has expressed, and also the purpose of the author to communicate the ideas (Gant and Fryman, 2009). This strategy enables the author to avoid the temptation whereby one thinks that the way the author explains something is superior than is being written. Avoid direct uplifting of the text information from the given book. Always maintain a very careful use of the quotation marks in distinguishing the words that has been used by the author from the writer's words in such a way that when you return to your notes later to write, it is also advisable to experiment with the different techniques in note-taking until the right one has been found which works best for you.
Locate the appropriate style manual
Although it is difficult for one to remember all the citation conventions that are used by all the different world universities' disciplines, this should not be an excuse for academicians and journalists to committee crime of plagiarism. . The ability to cite the sources in an appropriate manner is a result of: determining type of the style that the instructor may want to use, find the appropriate style manual, and copy the formula that is given by each type of the source used. Read the assignment carefully and determine the type of the citation styles that the instructor recommendation given to use such as the APA, MLA, and the Chicago. If it has not been specified as to which citation style should be used in the assignment, do a check on your syllabus, the course pack, and also the Blackboard site. If none of the citation styles has been found in all these places, ask for the instructor's preferred style (Kate, 1996).
The academic citation styles have well specific formats to follow, so the writer should avoid making of an educated guessing on how to make a structure of the citations and the works cited page is usually an unfavorable idea. Instead, the writer should find a specified type of the style manual from the reference sections of the institutions' library, specifically on the reference d shelf of the Writing Center, or any other online source. The style manuals always provide the easy-to-follow formulas/ formats for the citations.
From the review of the concept of plagiarism, it was in 18th century that the concept came to light. Generally speaking plagiarism has been seen as an academic dishonesty as well as a breach of code of ethics in journalism. There are various kinds of plagiarism; these include self plagiarism, mosaic plagiarism, and plagiarism by paraphrasing and word-for-word plagiarism among others. Reasons for plagiarism include but not limited to getting things done quickly, as well as lack of wide knowledge on words.
It is evident through the analysis herein that the act of plagiarisms do take place in most institution of learning but it is a concern in high schools and institutions of higher learning. Plagiarism carries with it very heavy consequences to the perpetrators ranging from stunt warning, suspension and even expulsion from school or journalism. As recently seen, there are possibilities of academic awards being stripped of like in the case of German minister of defense. There are various steps that can be taken to detect and avoid plagiarism hence ensuring that the genuineness and novelty are preserved and promoted. These steps include; citing correct writing style manuals, improving how notes are taken by avoiding sloppy note taking, carefully using quotation marks and correctly acknowledging the source of information used in ones paper.