Educational institutions are always intolerant of any compromise related to academic integrity. Students can face severe consequences if they are found guilty in academic dishonesty. Academic plagiarism can result in getting an F, suspension, or even expulsion from the institution in extremely severe cases. In some instances, marks have been revoked after a student’s graduation because an academic paper was found to be plagiarized.
Your efforts should be commended if you feel that you have never cheated in your life, and you always write your homework and assignments. However, it is better to be sure than to be accused is plagiarism. Believe it or not, there is a thing called unintentional plagiarism. We understand that it can be frustrating to face an accusation of plagiarism when you have written the assignment in your words. But unlike languages, technical subjects always need external help. You might have consulted resources to write homework answers for science, maths, or history and become a victim of accidental plagiarism. These are some types of involuntary plagiarism that can happen to you.
It is perfectly alright if you refer to the academic works of other authors. You can also base some parts of your assignment on these papers. However, make sure that you use the acceptable citations approved by your institution. If you don’t, you can be accused of plagiarism, even if it was not your intention. Make sure that you do not exceed the limit for paraphrased or cited work. Most institutions accept about 15% of any assignment to be non-original as long as the students provide an adequate citation.
An unintentional citation can be avoided easily. You have to ensure that you take the following steps.
- You must be aware of the regulations related to citations provided by your institution. These norms would include how much your assignment can be non-original, how to include citations and sections that are not subject to plagiarism.
- Do not leave these rules to be applied at the last minute. If you write your assignments following these norms from the start, it will happen automatically after writing a few pieces of work.
- Cross-check your final work with a sensitive plagiarism checker to ensure that any part of your assignment is not flagged as plagiarised.
Subconscious plagiarism can happen to anyone. It happens when you read a lot of information related to the subject your assignment is based on and summarise the information that you have acquired before writing your paper. When you review the final copy of your homework with a plagiarism checker, some portions of your work get flagged for plagiarism because you have written in the exact language as the source that you consulted. This phenomenon is also known as cryptomnesia. Your brain tells you that the information you are writing is original, while it is relaying the words that you had read earlier. That is why it is necessary to review your work with a plagiarism checker before you submit it.
You can get accused of plagiarism if your present work uses the same words as your earlier assignment. If you want to use any part of your previous paper in your current homework, make sure that you mention it as a self-citation. Ensure that you are not submitting the same work twice, even if it is for a new context. If your paper is found to be self-plagiarised, you might have to rewrite it. If you want to include any part of your previous work in your new assignment, consult with your teacher to find an acceptable way of doing it.
Some text modifications can also be flagged as plagiarism. Make sure that you check your work for the following types of text modifications.
- Use of alphabets or letters that look similar to Latin or Cyrillic.
- Including more spaces between alphabets and sentences.
- Converting images into text fragments, or vice versa.
- Using rewriting tools or modifying the order of words in a sentence.
These alterations can get flagged by plagiarism checkers. Using them knowingly or unknowingly in your assignment can land you in trouble, so it is better to avoid them.
Ensure that your work is original before you submit it, even if it means to cross-check it with a few plagiarism checkers. Ensure that your assignments follow the regulations set forth by your institution so that you can save yourself from unnecessary stress and wastage of time.