Understanding Plagiarism

Understanding Plagiarism

Name of student

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Is this Plagiarism

This is not plagiarism since we all know that plagiarism means taking someone’s ideas and making them your own without even crediting the source of those ideas or rather submitting another person’s intellectual property as your own without their knowledge, quoting them, understanding, consent or even crediting them. In this case, the student took the ideas of Hartlane and made them his or her own but he or she did not forget to show or cite the source at the end of the paragraph showing even the exact page the information came from plus the year it was written by Harlane. Hence categorically the student did not engage in plagiarism (Linneman, 2010).

Intentional and unintentional plagiarism

Intentional plagiarism can be said to be in a situation where a student copy the whole paragraph or essay belonging to another and without the knowledge of the writer, submits as his or hers own original work hence depicting an academic dishonesty. On the other hand unintentional plagiarism is barely noticeable by the student himself in the course of writing since very minor details get plagiarized. For example, sometimes a student may just put quotation marks on a part of a borrowed work or rather quote without knowing hence leaving a section of it out. This is a good example of unintentional plagiarism. Other times students tend to think that they have paraphrased a sentence but in real sense they may have just requited some of it as it was without noticing. This is to mean that they just switch words with synonyms while the rest was as initially written hence making an unintentional plagiarism (Lutzker, 1995).

Distinction between intentional and unintentional plagiarism

In regards to that, as a teacher one may tend to have a hard time in detecting these minor plagiarisms that unintentionally occur hence in the process certifying the work to be plagiarism-free. When it comes to differentiating between the two, then it may not be very difficult since an intentional plagiarism is usually evident. Take a scenario where a whole sentence is just copy-pasted in someone’s work without even quotations or citations then it will be enough to conclude that it was a lazy student’s work that was not ready to research on her own. In case the student copied most of the paragraphs as they were, then it is intentional unless we conclude that the student has never heard of the term plagiarism and is used to just copy-pasting. Too bad ignorance has no defense (Linneman, 2010).

Avoiding unintentional plagiarism

One of the best ways to avoid plagiarism is to practice direct quoting of a source or even ensuring that you paraphrase well. One can also cooperate with Turnitin drop-box which is an academic center for writing skills and they help one to detect possible chances of plagiarism in the work done by identifying similar materials that are same to what you have done. One can also have a reviewer to go through your work before it is submitted and hence he or she will definitely detect a few if not all plagiarism mistakes in the paper (Linneman, 2010).

Thirdly, the usage of several sources in the due course of research is a good way of limiting plagiarism in that you get a broad spectrum of ideas instead of confining oneself to a few ideas that you keep on repeating and rephrasing poorly. One should also ensure that when it comes to quotations, only fairly small or average sentences are quoted since large quotes ay fall under the unfair-use standards. Try to also add your own original relevant thoughts to a borrowed idea and write it on your own terms. This helps the writer to develop a sense of self reliance other than depending on borrowed work (Lutzker, 1995).

Penalty for intentional plagiarism

The best punishment would be to retaking the unit or course on the plagiarized work and revising it appropriately and ensuring that the student submits his or her own work which is plagiarism-free. This may be seen as harsh but without such actions such a student may tend to be under-productive. This penalty is influenced by the fact that the plagiarism was intentional and hence the need to make the student feel the pinch, another factor is to see to it that the student takes academic writing seriously. Such a student has either been driven by laziness or is just rude and hence retaking the coursework would alarm him or her to take plagiarism seriously (Virgin et al, 1997).

Definition of plagiarism

This is an act of either intentionally or unintentionally stealing another person’s intellectual property or rather using somebody else’s ideas to your own advantage without their permission or even crediting their sources or quoting and presenting the idea as your own hence making it a copyright illegal act. Colleges are adamant to stop this vice in order to ensure that all the work done has the same conformity and presentation. It is a universal standard way of presenting student work hence creating conformity (Harris, 2002).

Reasons why a student might commit plagiarism

The first reason may be poor time management as they do their assignments hence creating a panic as they do the work or rather as the student hurry t finish the assignments they may tend to intentionally or unintentionally just copy and paste work. Other students tend to have a negative attitude towards an assignment given or the teacher giving it. As a result the student may just copy the work and hand it in order to offend the teacher or in order to just finish the given task. Others lack proper knowledge on plagiarism and they may unintentionally commit some since they do not know how to do a plagiarism-free work (Linneman, 2010).

Difference between intentional and Unintentional plagiarism

Intentional plagiarism is an academic dishonesty that is done willingly by a person in order to gain from the ideas of another person whereby he or she submits those ‘stolen’ ideas as their own without notifying the owner or even showing citations or quotations for the work while unintentional plagiarism looks into a situation where words and ideas are cited incorrectly or paraphrased poorly due to negligence or hurry without the writer realizing that they were not well presented (Harris, 2002).

A good example for unintentional plagiarism is where a quote is partially quoted, for example, ‘Life is very interesting if we all agreed to have fun,’ Jacob (2012) said, but many people die not having really lived it since they are too busy worrying about life. The quote is not complete as some of it has been left from the full quote. The student made a trial in making the quote but maybe due to hurry did not quote the whole phrase hence making unintentional plagiarism. An example of intentional plagiarism is where a student usually copy-paste a full paragraph as it is (Lutzker, 1995).


Sparks, Virgin records international, Virgin France, & Virgin Schallplatten Gmbh. (1997). Plagiarism. Londres: Virgin records international.

Linneman, T. (2010). Understanding patchwriting and unintentional plagiarism by English language learners. Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest LLC, UMI Dissertation Publishing.

Harris, R. A. (2002). Using sources effectively: Strengthening your writing and avoiding plagiarism. Los Angeles, CA: Pyrczak Pub.

Lutzker, M. (1995). Multiculturalism in the college curriculum: A handbook of strategies and resources for faculty. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

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