Plagiarism remains one of the common vice in learning fields or institutions. The act of deliberately representing another person’s words or writings as one’s own, without appreciating the author, amounts to plagiarism. Though the word can be taken to mean just ‘copying and pasting’, it is more than that. Some people edit ideas from other people and personalize to be original theirs by changing word by word. Learning institutions highly discourage plagiarism.
For the purpose of understanding plagiarism, it is crucial to comprehend the process of sourcing, sharing, and creating information or ideas from different places. Life is a learning process itself. Learning comes from reading, studying, taking part in experiments or undergoing an experience. Therefore, it is imperative to acknowledge that we source ideas from other people, reading materials or any other source. The information gathered helps create new ideas using- from other people’s building blocks of ideas. While sharing the ideas, it becomes essential that we draw a distinction on the original ideas borrowed and which belongs to the presenter of information (Marsh, 2007).
There are many types of plagiarism, but it usually depends on the definition of plagiarism one takes. Some can define plagiarism on the quantity of work plagiarized. In this context, the types of plagiarism can be termed as minimal, substantial or complete plagiarism. Below is a discussion of other types of plagiarism:
- Copy and paste plagiarism
This is the plagiarism where a person lifts chunks of words without quoting the source or making any reference to the source. It is common with persons who have no idea of what plagiarism is. They may have minimal knowledge of it and do not know how to make any reference to it. Ways of making reference to words lifted is using quotation marks and making a reference to the source.
- Idea plagiarism
Idea plagiarism occurs when a person cannot clearly distinguish between information available in the public domain and an author’s idea. Solutions to different kinds of problems are available for the public, but the different ways of solving the problems become someone’s idea. Using the idea as your own becomes plagiarism.
- Word switch plagiarism
In most cases, this is usually the most common form of plagiarism. This happens when a person changes a few words of the original text. The words would appear different, but the context similar. Making these changes without making a reference to the source of the information constitutes plagiarism (Williams, 2008).
Consequences of plagiarism vary depending on work done and its purpose. In cases where there is unintentional plagiarism, determining if it were through dishonesty or carelessness becomes hard. An example is a citation of a source, but someone forgot to put quotation marks on a given text (Stern, 2006). A student presenting plagiarized work may be given an academic penalty or in the extreme be expelled, but this depends on the nature and extent of the offence. The number of times a person commits an offence should also be taken into consideration. In a professional level, people lose their jobs and even reputation for plagiarizing.
In my case, the form of plagiarism offence I committed was copy and paste plagiarism. The main reason this happened is that determining the work that should be cited was hard. The information on the public domain is not easily distinguishable as which ones should be considered general knowledge and those to be attributed to a given person. Knowledge as to what constitutes plagiarism was also a reason.
One way of stopping plagiarism is to have an in depth knowledge of what plagiarism is. It would be appropriate to cite the source when another using another person’s work. The best way though is not to copy someone’s work at all.
In conclusion, the understanding of meaning and the different types of plagiarism will help in avoiding this vice. Students and other professional personnel who are likely to ‘borrow’ ideas from different sources ought to have proper citation skills.