Plagiarism and Ways of its Avoidance

Plagiarism is actually an unauthorized and unacknowledged usage of someone’s ideas, thoughts, theories, writings or sayings, and is a form of academic offence. It includes usage of any graphs, static or facts which are not well-known without proper referencing. Even paraphrased sentences or phrases may be considered to be plagiarism because in this case an author, first of all, uses someone’s idea and, secondly, tries to present it as the own one. On the other hand, if a writer writes some information in his own words and properly cites the source of information, the work won’t be rated as plagiarized. So, plagiarism is a direct copying of someone’s work and is against copyright law, however it is possible to use someone else’s ideas or thoughts if the original author is acknowledged.

From this point of view all the information we carry may be considered to be plagiarism except of that which is our personal experience.


Here I can give an example from my own experience: even though in my country follow different writing principles than those of the USA, Great Britain or Australia, one of my teachers, having read my work said: “First – read, then – write, but don’t look at that book again until you are done”. This always happens with students as well as with writers – we are used to just copy some book passages and then supplement them by some own sentences in order for the text to look holistic. But this is exactly what plagiarism is though this problem may be easily solved – read and analyze, close the source you are working with, and write. Then – indicate where you have learned it from. The result – your information relays to the original and your reader knows where it has been taken from. But it’s important to remember that paraphrasing is not just replacing some words by their synonyms or changing the grammatical structure of the sentence. Paraphrasing means writing in you own words and documenting the source of information you present. But even paraphrasing is to be attentively checked because some phrases or word combinations may have been accidentally put in the text.

Surely, there are cases when one has to quote directly from the source – use quotation marks and cite the page number in accordance with the documentation style required.

One of the ways to help avoiding plagiarism is to search the work has been written with Plagiarism-finding software. But, first of all, such a check may be inefficient for can you imagine how many links can a program find for a phrase like “The Constitution of the United States of America”?! Secondly, from my own experience I can say the program may not find plagiarism in a two-paragraph text copied directly from some web-site. There is no perfect software; even Windows is full of defects, errors and imperfections. Any software product can’t be absolutely reliable – it can serve only as a subsidiary tool.

Another alternative is using search engines. But isn’t it too long to check each line of an essay separately? – It takes too much time and though it’s quite efficient, can’t be of a great help as well.

Generally, whatever you choose to be a tool for avoiding plagiarism it will only waste you time and money.

So, what is the best way to avoid plagiarism? – Not to plagiarize! Isn’t it easy?!

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