Plagiarism – What is it?

Plagiarism is a concept all writers should be aware of so they can avoid it in any shape or form. Most people know that copying another’s work without giving the author credit is plagiarism, but many may not realize the other areas that are considered plagiarism also.

In Pioneering Success, a Delta College textbook, on page 164 it states “Using another writer’s words, content, unique approach, or illustrations without crediting the author is called plagiarism and is illegal and unethical.”

Plagiarism not only includes you writing down words verbatim from a source without crediting that source, but it also includes other aspects that most people wouldn’t consider as plagiarism. Some of these include paying a person or service to write your paper for you, or using the same paper you have written for more than one class project in one year or over several years.

Unfortunately, there are many students across our nation who haven’t pushed themselves to learn to write better and rather than taking the time to do so, they have located a service that provides papers on any subject for a price.

I read an article several months ago in The Reader’s Digest in which a person that wrote these papers made very good money from students that didn’t take the time to develop their own ability to write their own papers. He didn’t work for himself, but for a company that specialized in writing papers for students.

He said that many of the students, even if they were finishing their degree or even working on a Masters or Doctorate, couldn’t manage simple spelling when requesting help to write their papers.

Another form of plagiarism is to incorrectly paraphrase the material you are using for research. This happens when the paraphrase is very close to what was stated previously in the material. The best way to stay honest in writing is to read larger sections of material, close your book and then write what you remember.

When only reading several sentences at a time it may be harder to write in your own words without duplicating the authors tone or too many of the same words to be considered completely your own paper.

Don’t ruin your college career by partaking in any form of plagiarism. Be informed in all the aspects plagiarism takes so you can be honest in all areas of your research and writing, and then after graduation into your career itself. If you want to know more, check out your college handbook to make sure you are steering clear of this form of cheating and lying.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Roz Weedman
    Oct 29, 2011 @ 05:34:47

    We, in the “biz,” usually — in first year comp — try to distinguish between accidental plagiarism (clearly not pretending that this is one’s own work but yet not citing it correctly either) and just plain stealing it (or buying it, as you say here, Marcia) which is intentional cheating of course. But once you get past the effort to learn this with first year comp, it pretty much doesn’t matter. You’ll get hit with plagiarism either way if caught. And the odds of getting caught are much higher than many people think.

    In terms of re-using a paper for multiple purposes, sometimes this actually is all right but often not. If unsure, simply ask if you can re-work a previous piece of writing for a new assignment.

    Needless to say, I like this topic!


  2. marsha4852
    Oct 29, 2011 @ 19:59:20

    A new term I found a few months ago while looking for articles about freelancing was something called ‘spinning’. It sounds like there are web sites that will ‘spin’ your article for you, which means they switch sections by switching specific words or phrases.

    One thing I noticed with some of the example articles was that the sense of the article didn’t always remain the same. I discuss it in another of my wordpress blogs, but haven’t had time to research it out more completely.

    I was concerned whether websites would really want articles of this type, or whether they would be considered legitimate. Have you ever heard of this practice? I’m talking about topics I would write, not that I’m taking someone else’s article and spinning that, but rather spinning my own work-if I ever do.

    The blog I’m referring to is:


  3. Tracy Metcalf
    Oct 30, 2011 @ 04:17:38

    I had no idea that there was such a thing as spinning. It doesn’t surprise me that people will pay for someone else to write their papers for them though. Writing is hard, and many people don’t want to take the time to write something of their own. Thanks for the information.
    Tracy Metcalf


    • marsha4852
      Oct 30, 2011 @ 05:13:19

      Not only that, they don’t want to take the time to do the necessary research. Some of the examples given by the person who wrote lots of papers for many students seemed to be mainly related to those that had vocabulary problems. These were Americans as well as foreign students.


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