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Plagiarism in Research Writing

Plagiarism: A Literary Theft

Plagiarism is a conscious attempt to imitate, copy, or purloin words, ideas, thoughts or actions of another author and show up as one’s own.

Importance of Originality:

In recent years, the concept of originality in literary writings has been of greater interest. To bring avant-garde ideas and concepts the writer or researcher has to bring everything from his/her own mind. With technology, it has become easier for writers to copy because every other research paper or article is available on the internet but it has also become easier to check imitation because of online detectors.

Laws Against Plagiarism:

Though states do not have any law that punishes a person who is involved in plagiarism but it is more of a moral and ethical crime. Its punishment is usually decided by the academic committee of each university. If caught in plagiarism a person loses his/her prestige which is much greater loss than getting punishment in the prison.

Plagiarism by Students:

Students plagiarize other authors words for use in their academic research work or in their assignments. In many universities though professors discourage copying from other authors in assignments but still students copy. In the case of research work like theses and dissertations plagiarism is strongly discouraged by almost every university and a student who is caught involved in plagiarism can be expelled from the university.

Fortunately, there are tools available through which plagiarism can be measured but, unfortunately, these tools only measure word-to-word imitation. In many cases students mold words in one way or another so that plagiarism detector cannot access the kind of imitation they have done (imitation of ideas).

Even if online plagiarism detectors are not used a professor can check plagiarism in the assignment or research work in three ways. First, if a student copies words from another author the teacher can find patches of text in the writing presented to him/her. The paragraph/patch that the student has written by himself will have a different language style and words selection than the one he/she has copied from someone else. Second, students’ I. Q. and their capabilities can easily differentiate their work from others. Third, teachers are often used to of reading assignments and research work of many students so if there’s any plagiarism they can easily find it.

Plagiarism by Professors:

Professors in their career too are often involved in writing literary columns, research papers and like. Professors carry much greater responsibility in writing original content. Most of the new researchers and students follow their writings to get knowledge therefore there should have to be credibility in their writings. Most of the professors follow the moral code of conduct in writing, but there were cases when professors and senior researchers copied or imitated content from other writers to make it their own. The punishment for professors if they are involved in plagiarism can range from suspension to termination of the job. Along with this, they lose their credibility and prestige in the literary world.

Online Software to Check Plagiarism:

There are online software that check the content for plagiarism. Some software provide free service others have a minimal charge. They scan the content for all kind of copy work. One such software is available on

Ways to Avoid Plagiarism:

To avoid plagiarism, especially for students, following guidelines should be kept in mind.

Use citation wherever and whenever you use even a single word of someone else.

Laws that have been accepted universally like Newtons laws in physics or Einstein’s laws don’t need to be cited because everybody knows to whom they belong.

Sometimes plagiarism results in the research work unconsciously, e-g; you forgot to put inverted commas at one place or you missed one reference without knowing or you mixed your writings and words with that of someone else. To avoid such risks be very cautious from the start till the end. Write down the reference just below the line or paragraph you have taken from any secondary source.

Believe in quality work and research is all about quality and originality so don’t worry about lengthy manuscripts. Write less but write well.

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