What is plagiarism? How can I avoid plagiarism?


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What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else’s work and claiming that it is your own by not giving the appropriate credit to your source.

Simply put, it is the act of copy – paste and not naming your source.

You can find the full APA definition of plagiarism and self-plagiarism in the APA publication manual section 8.2-8.3 Plagiarism, Self-plagiarism, pp. 254-257 or at https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/citations/plagiarism

Why should I take plagiarism seriously?

Plagiarism is a form of stealing and as such is subject to sanctions when detected. In the professional world, plagiarism may lead to the loss of a job and a professional reputation. During GIHE studies, it can lead to a grade reduction or zero grade for submitted work, with more serious sanctions for repeat offences.

How is my submitted work assessed for plagiarism or similarity?

GIHE uses the online platform Turnitin to check assessed work for similarities to previously published material. Turnitin does not identify plagiarism, since Turnitin cannot decide whether the writer has poor referencing skills (bad practice) or has the intention to deceive the reader (unfair practice – plagiarism). Only the original writer and the faculty can distinguish between bad practice and unfair practice – plagiarism.

What causes some GIHE students to plagiarize? How can I avoid plagiarism?

There are many reasons why some GIHE students commit plagiarism. Among the most common are:

1. Not knowing what plagiarism is, not knowing why plagiarism is a problem.

Solutions: Find out the meaning of plagiarism, refer to the GIHE policy on plagiarism, learn how to use Turnitin as an editing tool.

2. Not knowing how to reference sources correctly according to APA style.

Solutions: Learn how to cite your sources using APA style in-text citations and end of text reference lists. Look at how in-text citations are used in the academic papers you read and learn from the examples you find. Use your pocket guide to APA style. Refer to the library copies of the APA publication manual. Search for information and examples on the APA website https://apastyle.apa.org/ Ask your teachers, the librarians, learning support for help.

3. Not knowing how to transform the text taken from sources by paraphrasing.

Solutions: Develop your paraphrasing skills. Like any skill, you can improve your paraphrasing through practice. The more effort you invest in this skill, the faster you will become proficient. There are many writing skills books in the library and online sites which provide help and practice materials for paraphrasing.

4. Not leaving enough time before a submission deadline to paraphrase and to reference.

Solutions: Take a project management approach to your work. Break your projects down into manageable sections. Plan backwards from deadlines, identifying what has to be completed before you can move on to the next step. Be realistic about how much time it will take you to paraphrase sufficiently and to add in-text citations and the end of text reference list. Include this time in time management plan.

For more information, see:

Learn more about paraphrasing

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.), section 8.2 Plagiarism, pp. 254-55.

American Psychological Association. (n.d). Plagiarism. https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/citations/plagiarism