Plagiarism is not only a problem for students who literally copy pieces from sources and paste them into their thesis. Much more often, it happens that someone plagiarizes unconsciously. For example, you find it difficult to paraphrase well and therefore take (too much) text from the source. Or you forget to put the reference and pretend that you have thought of this theory yourself. You will also notice that during graduation you read many different sources and at some point you lose sight of it. In this article we give you 6 effective tips to prevent plagiarism. We also discuss the different types of plagiarism and the steps you should take if you accidentally plagiarized. By following these simple tips, you ensure that your piece is free of plagiarism and that you can graduate!
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the act of taking the words or ideas of another person and presenting them as your own. It is important to note that copying a few words without citation (or reference) is also considered plagiarism. There are many different types of plagiarism, including:
- Copying quotes from a source word for word without citation and referencing;
- Paraphrasing ideas from a source in your own words without referencing;
- Taking information without references, such as statistics or other facts;
- Copying a work or essay in its entirety and presenting it as your own work;
- Lastly, the use of AI (artificial intelligence, such as ChatGPT) can also lead to plagiarism.
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Why should you avoid plagiarism?
Each educational institution has established rules for plagiarism control. Generally, this is heavily punished and you will receive a failing grade, often putting your diploma at risk. If you do not cite sources correctly, you can also be accused of academic dishonesty. But even if you are not caught, not correctly referencing your sources will lower your grade.
How can you recognize and avoid plagiarism? The best way to prevent plagiarism is to be aware of the different types of plagiarism and how to avoid them. Always be aware of the information and sources you use when writing your thesis (or other document), how you use that information, and where you got the information from. Always ensure that you correctly cite all sources so that readers know where the information comes from.
6 Effective tips to prevent plagiarism
1. Recognize plagiarism. Always make sure that every paragraph, every sentence is your own work. Put the information into your own words (paraphrase).
2. Highlight pieces of text that come from the original source literally, so that you do not forget to rewrite these pieces.
3. Always save your sources immediately (and don’t postpone it!) During graduation you will read and process many sources, which causes many students to lose sight. It will take you a lot of time to find the sources again, so create a good overview right away. To manage your sources, you can use EndNote for example.
4. Ensure a correct and complete reference (the APA style is most commonly used)
5. When you want to copy a piece of text literally from the source, make sure to have a correct citation. If you are not sure how to cite a source correctly, ask for help from a fellow student or contact a specialist from Topscriptie.
6. Use a plagiarism checker to make sure that your piece does not contain plagiarism and to rewrite certain parts. A plagiarism scanner checks which parts are still ‘plagiarism’.
Is ChatGPT plagiarism?
The use of Chat GPT or other artificial intelligence (AI) systems to generate texts can lead to plagiarism. It is important to remember that the use of artificial intelligence to generate texts is not a replacement for conducting your own research and writing skills. Most teachers and educational institutions do not allow the use of AI and consider it plagiarism. If you are allowed to use AI in an assignment, it is important to give clear reference. If you are in doubt whether the use of Chat GPT or other AI system can be plagiarism, always consult your teacher or study supervisor for advice.
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