Friday, August 26, 2011

Plagiarism and self-plagiarism

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Plagiarism is the act of deliberately stealing by way of copying either partially or wholesale previous academic work of another person without acknowledging its use. Plagiarism is considered an intellectual theft in the academic world and that students must shun it at all cost to avoid apprehension and dismissal from institutions of higher learning. Rewriting, copying, or pasting previous academic works of another person with the sole aim of claiming it, as fresh intellectual material, without signaling acknowledgement is an infringement and a violation of academic integrity according to accepted literary norms. Self-plagiarism is the act of surreptitiously or explicitly presenting previous scholarly work as proof of fresh ideas without acknowledging authorship and originality. However, there are circumstances that permit authors to avoid self-referencing previous works and that are when the work to be cited is small in context. According to APA (2010), extensive self-referencing must be commensurate with citations so as to avoid false impressions.

Even though the two paragraphs may not be entirely identical, what is clear is that the student in question has committed an act of plagiarism that could result his work being rejected as scholarly work. Using phrases like “ending a study too soon”, “negative results”, and copious words like “skimming”, “drawbacks”, and “buffing” is cause for scholarly exploitation. The clever student has been manipulative in that he carefully selected ideas that don’t belong to him. He used synonyms to hide the original author’s wordings. For example, he substituted “very difficult” for “hard to know”, “tainted by conflict of interest” for “tainted the results” and so on.

According to Renfrow, D. (2009), there are many ways of avoiding plagiarism. For example, it is important to adapt your own language rather than stealing the works of other academics word for word. The use of “cosmetics” as substitutes, applying alterations, and changing terminologies must be avoided at all cost. We can recognize plagiarism by comparing the document being plagiarized with what has been plagiarized.

American Psychological Association (2010), Washington, DC

Renfrow, D. (2009). Avoiding plagiarism, Retrieved from
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