How to prove you didn’t plagiarize?
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is stealing someone else’s words, ideas, research without due acknowledgment or citation. Both professionals, academicians, and students need to know that plagiarism can have career-ending consequences.
Hence, it is best not to plagiarize. But sometimes being wrongly accused of plagiarism can cost students their grades. Therefore, it is essential to avoid copying. It is equally important to have the necessary evidence to show that.
Professors in high schools and colleges consult online plagiarism checking tools that help them identify plagiarism. The assignments are run through these tools.
They provide a comprehensive plagiarism report highlighting the percentage of plagiarism and supply links and URLs of the sources that the work has been copied from.
These tools work on complex algorithms that are regularly updated and upgraded. Hence, they can detect almost any kind of plagiarism with high accuracy.
Thus avoiding plagiarism is not only safe, but it is also necessary. If caught committing plagiarism, the student or professional will have to face terrible consequences.
Types of plagiarism
It is better to understand the significant types of plagiarism so that one can cautiously avoid them when writing articles.
- Self-plagiarism: Submitting someone’s previous work without prior information.
- Paraphrasing: Using another person’s work with just a few alterations. It becomes a type of plagiarism when proper credit is denied to the original creator.
- Direct Plagiarism: The word for word replication of a portion of someone else’s work, without the due attribution or quotation marks.
- Accidental plagiarism: Most students are prone to this mistake. They fail to give substantial credit to any source, showing a lack of requisite knowledge or skill or even a lack of basic research into the material. It mainly happens due to the host of articles available online.
Of all the forms of plagiarism prevalent, students need to actively avoid accidental and self-plagiarism as they are more prone to make these mistakes.
How to avoid plagiarism?
Academic institutions are very particular about academic writing standards and often have rules regarding plagiarism. Thus it is better to avoid it altogether. It is not easy, but with a few simple steps, one can reduce the chances of plagiarising.
- Cite sources: Always cite sources for an article, statistics, or picture that has been used in writing reports.
- Paraphrase carefully: Using information from other materials and write in one’s own words does not count as plagiarism.
- Use quotation marks: Always use quotes when copying sentences from another document.
How to prove you have not plagiarised?
Even after taking such necessary steps, one might get wrongfully accident of plagiarising. But what does that mean for their future?
Many people find to think that their future is ruined and that they don’t have any chance of proving their innocence. Usually, in case, the plagiarism is accidental, then chances of justifying oneself increases.
Previous works and behavior are also taken into account. A clean record increases the chances of not getting penalized by a thousand folds.
- Be Honest
Honesty is the best policy, has never been more accurate. One has to be honest about plagiarism accusations, as lying will increase the troubles further.
If one has been accused of plagiarizing, the first thing to do is, to be honest. If one has plagiarised, it is in their best interest to open up. It would help them get less punishment.
- Explain your intentions
Cases of unintentional plagiarism are prevalent in academia. A student might fail to cite sources or mistakenly copy something without realizing it.
Now, not citing the sources can lead to accusations of plagiarism. If the plagiarism was unintentional, then it is best to admit your mistake.
Ensure that this does not happen in the future. As a student, it is not uncommon to plagiarise intentionally, in the beginning.
- Cross-verify the accusation
Seek help from others. Ask friends or other professors to check again if plagiarism has taken place. It serves as a second opinion.
- Ask for Oral Defense
An oral defense can quickly put a student accused of plagiarism at an advantage. One should ask the professor to allow them to give an immediate oral presentation.
The student can prepare a comprehensive oral report on the paper, and present the professor, or the investigating committee, with a verbal report on the topic. It will show the professor that the student knows their material, and it is genuine.
- Gather evidence
Evidence is essential to prove innocence. If wrongly accused of plagiarism, one should compile data like drafts, notes, and outlines previously made for the project.
One can also argue that the facts presented are common knowledge and do not count as plagiarism.
It will prove that the student has made efforts to do the work by themselves. Sometimes sentence structures, previous track records, and research can prove that the plagiarism was unintentional.
But it is essential to remember that copying others’ intellectual property and stealing them is wrong. Plagiarising in projects or term papers can be extremely harmful. Hence, it always better to use a plagiarism scanner to check for plagiarism.