Have you ever wondered how easy it is to plagiarise another person's work without realising it? It dawned on me recently that many of us can easily fall into this trap despite knowing the basic principles of plagiarism. So why do we repeat these mistakes, and how do we avoid them?
What is plagiarism?
Firstly, we need to understand what plagiarism is. So let us start with the Oxford dictionaries definition, "The practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own." I think we can all agree that this is a pretty easy concept to understand. How does it apply to us in the world of education? Well, a good and very relevant example would be DPG'S own plagiarism guidelines. These are pretty standard as far as plagiarism guidelines go.
Why we need to talk about plagiarism:
Unfortunately, plagiarism is on the rise despite it being highly unethical. It is important to note, however, that a lot of this is unintentional. The internet is one of the main factors contributing to increasing amounts of plagiarism. It is easier to search rather than research. Combining this with a growing number of cheat sites leads to a culture of convenience. When plagiarising, what do you gain from your piece of work? If you are copying someone else’s work, what do you get out of it? It is trading learning for convenience.
How to avoid plagiarising:
When talking about plagiarism, it is important to recognise the significance of referencing. Referencing is the key to counteracting plagiarism. It is our way of acknowledging other people's work through our own by including them in our source material. At DPG we use Harvard referencing. What is Harvard referencing? This particular style of referencing is one of the most popular methods. It's implemented through the use of in-text citation backed up by a reference at the end of your work. We need the reference list to cross-check the sources used in a piece of work. For a comprehensive guide, I would highly recommend you follow this link to learn more:
What to do if you have been told you have plagiarised
If your first reaction is panic, I think it is safe to assume you have unintentionally plagiarised. The best thing to do in this situation would be to go back through the guidelines and read your assessor's feedback to understand where it went wrong. If you are plagiarising with intent, the consequences can end up with you being disqualified from your programme without a refund. I think it is important to again highlight that a large portion of plagiary is conducted unintentionally.
To conclude, we must always remain vigilant with our work to avoid plagiarising someone else’s. This is done through good referencing and source work. Always ensure you are not just directly copying off someone else. Do not fall into the culture of convenience that so many others have!