Plagiarism is very bad. It can land us in a lot of hot water. Plagiarism can be so bad that we could face expulsion. Which, for a student, is as bad as it gets.
And the thing about plagiarism is that often we simply don’t even know we’re doing it. Picture the scene: Charlie has just handed in his term paper and is smiling from ear to ear because he thinks he’s done a very fine job. His paper was about socioeconomics in his home city, Philadelphia, and he’s proud because this is a subject he’s heard so much about over the last year and believes that listening to people talk about it has armed him with lots of knowledge.
But then his teacher returns his paper two weeks a later and tells him he’s guilty of “17 counts of plagiarism.” Charlie’s face drops. Seventeen counts?
It’s a new record. His teacher tells him he’s plagiarised everyone from Karl Marx, to the teacher’s mother, as well as his fellow classmate, and even the janitor. Charlie simply didn’t realise it. He had processed so much information over the last year or so from other people, that he hadn’t realised he wasn’t writing in his own words. Moreover, he forgot to credit his quotes to the right person. He’s only human, after all.
Many of us make the mistake of plagiarism because we simply don’t realise it. For this reason, it’s absolutely imperative I always check my paper before handing it in – even if I know I haven’t deliberately coped someone else’s words. In this way, I can be sure that I’m handing in a paper that is free from plagiarism.
How Can I Check My Paper For Plagiarism?
Good question. Let’s take a look.
Check Your Arguments
Let’s say you made an argument about the reasons for the American civil war. You re-read what you wrote and you start to think, “hmm, but that doesn’t really sound like something I’d say.” You can type the paragraph into Google to see if anything comes up, but to avoid this from happening in the first place, you should always write in your own voice. Moreover, we recommend that you always interpret an argument, put your spin on it, as opposed to trying to copy what someone else has said.
Check Your Quotes
When I check my paper for plagiarism, I always make sure that I have referenced my quotes. Failure to reference your quotes properly will make it look as though you are taking credit for those words. And that’s plagiarism right there.
Go through your entire paper and check all your quotes. Besides, you may know more about how to edit a research paper on our site.
Use A Plagiarism Checker
There are a few plagiarism checker’s online that provide a free service. It’s advisable, though, that you read reviews first and use only the most reputable services. There is also downloadable software that you can use. Whichever program you use, you’ll be given a plagiarism report once you’ve entered your text.
Check Your Plagiarism Report
Once you’ve got your plagiarism report, you need to check it against your paper. Sometimes a report will show a high percentage of plagiarism, but this could be because your paper has a lot of quotes in it. Just meticulously go through your paper and make sure everything is as right as it should be. To find out more about manuscript editing, check our website out further today.
Image credit: http://oedb.org/ilibrarian/150-writing-resources/