Plagiarism is a reality that many students face every day at all levels of education and succumbing to the pitfalls of this offence can actually ruin your university career and in severe cases, leave tutors and heads of department with no other option but to start disciplinary procedures. The personal statement writing experts at The Personal Statement Service take a closer look at plagiarism, the legalities and what plagiarizing academic work means for students.
What is Plagiarism? Firstly, we must take a look at what the term plagiarism actually means, whilst the term is thrown about as a warning by tutors and other university officials, many students and their parents are still unsure what plagiarism is all about.
The official meaning of plagiarism is the deliberate depiction of someone else’s words, but plagiarism also covers the stealing of another person’s ideas and even thoughts! Academically, plagiarism is regarded as cheating, where one student reuses the theories of another student or another resource word for word. But why is plagiarism such a problem for university staff and students? The Problem with PlagiarisingThe majority of assignments and other academic work relies on a student’s ability to understand and share the theories and knowledge they have learnt about in class.
However, problems arise when the student relies too much on theories and forgets to incorporate their own to present a balanced piece of thinking. All theories must be referenced appropriately, in most cases using the Harvard Referencing System, and the voice present in the theories must have a clear distinction from the student’s own findings
.The Legal Bits Despite plagiarism being a serious offence under university and college guidelines and often leading to assignment failure or even suspension, plagiarism is not mentioned in criminal or civil law. However, the growing use of technology and internet sources has left a huge question mark about plagiarism, particularly when it comes to intellectual property and copyright.
Despite the moral difficulties that come with plagiarism, in particular the plagiarizing of someone’s reputation, it is still not considered copyright infringement so is not prosecutable by law. Avoiding the Pitfalls, the majority of schools, colleges and universities use plagiarism software and whether you are writing an academic essay or a personal statement, this software can be utilized to detect a high percentage of similarities with work present online or work completed by other students from the past or present.
Avoiding plagiarism is easy – firstly make sure you are familiar with the topic and make notes in your own words to enhance your understanding, these notes can then be used as a basis for essays and personal statements. In essays in particular it is recommended that you back up your findings and opinions with theories and quotes from other sources but always reference these using the correct format specified by tutors.
You can even sign up for plagiarism software yourself if it is an area that concerns you, so you can make light of coincidental similarities before you submit! This article was written by the Personal Statement Service, they provide professional personal statement writing guidance and support students with various resources such as personal statement samples and examples.