Plagiarism is a problem in the both academic and professional segments. Essentially, plagiarism affects both credibility and accreditation capacity of either a student or a professional. Additionally, extreme case of plagiarism may result to expulsion from the course or the placement of a student on probation. These consequences are often critical to intentional plagiarism scenarios.
On the other hand, plagiarism within professional contexts such as journalism may result to temporary suspension from job or permanent interdiction. In other cases plagiarism does not only led to physical losses but also loss of trust and credibility. As a matter of facts, there are various suggestions into which plagiarism may be avoided but all revolves around self-discipline and widespread reading as this paper elaborates.
Plagiarism basically refers to wrongful appropriation as well as stealing and publicizing other people’s ideas or expressions and subsequent presentation of the stolen ideas and expressions as if one’s own original idea. Consequently, the outcomes of publication become successively problematic characterized with unclear definition as well as rules. In contemporary writing, the concept of plagiarism is termed as immoral while having the sense of originality is regarded as ideal. Indeed, due to the negative notion of stolen ideas and concepts, plagiarism is often regarded as academic dishonesty while in other disciplines it is termed as breaching journalist ethics. As a result, incidences of plagiarism mare subject to penalties and suspension among other charges in the academic context. However, although, plagiarism is not a crime, within the field of academia and industry, it is considered as a major ethical offence. Consequently, an incident of plagiarism can be subjected to terms of copyright infringement (Lipson, 2004).
In the field of academic writing, plagiarism is a display of dishonesty by students, researchers or professors and, therefore, considered as academic dishonesty or academic fraud. Consequently, the victims of plagiarism are subjected to academic censure which may amount to expulsion among other consequences named above. In this regard, most institutions of learning have introduced plagiarism software with a view to generating feedback on the presence of plagiarized content in the academic work of learners besides deterring them from practicing it. On the other hand, plagiarism is also a rampant case scenario in journalism and have had been considered as contravention of ethics in journalistic profession (Lampert, 2008).
Consequently, any reporter caught plagiarizing has a usual consequence of serious disciplinary measures which might be suspension or even complete termination of jobs. Essentially, some people who are found plagiarizing within the two disciplines, journalism and academics often claim unintentional plagiarism through failure to cite appropriately or use quotations. However, although plagiarism has been criticized, development of electronic sources of information such as the internet has enhanced the prospects of plagiarism. Indeed, if plagiarism is not avoided in academic writings, through proper attention, accreditation of academic work is principally dented given that plagiarism may become a norm within the process of academic submission (Roberts, 2008).
In the case of both researchers and professors, plagiarism is punishable through sanction which may range from temporary suspension to termination of jobs besides losing mutual trust by the consumers of their peace of works, hence, deteriorating integrity. Ordinarily, plagiarism cases are often heard by a panel of internal disciplinary committees for which both professors and students have been bound by an agreement to abide by. As a result, the parties are bound to live by the pledges of no zero rate of plagiarism throughout their study and professional life. In the event that such is contravened, the victims may be subjected to losing accreditation (DeSena, 2007).
Consequence of Plagiarism in Tertiary Education
In any college or university that has been legitimized, any person found guilty in plagiarism is subjected to major repercussions as to the offence created. For instance, one may go through a trial process initiated by the institution honor council. The honor council basically refers to a team of individuals in a faculty who are responsible for judging offenses pertaining to contravention of the institutional honor code. More often than not, the common consequences of such guilt includes but not limited to failure in the particular assignment attributable to the default as well as a possible fail in the entire course (Smith & Duggan, 2005).
Furthermore, some institutions also place the victims of plagiarism under academic probation which is a stage of progressive and persistent trial into the incident outside the context of the honor council formal sitting. The latter basically refers to consequence attributable to intentional plagiarism. On the other hand, the consequences attributable to inadvertent plagiarism are considerably lenient. For instance, in the event that a professor is convinced that you did not commit the offence of plagiarism intentionally, such cases may only be subjected to re-doing of the assignment while ignoring the plagiarized section of the assignment. However, there is no guarantee of the latter consequences as the professor is at the discretion of determining the requisite step to take with regard to individuals victimized in plagiarism offences. Indeed, the professor may decide to punish too by awarding low grades as per the assignment to which plagiarism was detected by a single letter or a part thereof (Bradley, 2011).
Essentially, plagiarism has effect on a number of particular areas in education namely: course, university and reputation of both the learning institution and the party accused of plagiarism. With respect to course, plagiarism and subsequent cheating in the class environment is at times left to the course instructors. Eventually, students who are found guilty of plagiarism may be subjected to punishment or a forced re-sit for the particular course plagiarized. However, in ordinary situations, plagiarism is attributable to score zero with respect to specific assignment given. In the event of fragrant plagiarism, the student may also be subjected to total fail in the entire course besides other hurting penalties such as suspension from the course (Roberts, 2008).
On the other hand, there are also dire consequences of academic based plagiarism in the tertiary education. Essentially, some universities and college institutions consider plagiarism as malicious where they consider putting the victimized student in a state of probation for long period of time. In case when the student is on probation, they have no capacity to take any other course within the institution even if changing the faculty. In the case of repeated plagiarism, the student may also be expelled from the learning institution. Indeed, some students lose their degrees on the basis of having been victims of plagiarism offence (Menager & Paulos, 2009).
Furthermore, students also damage their own reputation as a writer and a person nurturing their profession. Consequently, both professional and academic reputation may be, hereby, damaged in the incidence plagiarism victimization. In the event that plagiarism has been reported, the university or college also marks the student’s academic record permanently. Similarly, employees in a business set up who are caught plagiarizing may also be subjected to interdiction or else be compelled to temporarily quit their respective jobs positions. For instance, Professor Shervert H. Frazier has been one of the professionals in tertiary education disciplines who have been subjected to the disciplinary action of plagiarism. Essentially, the professor was forced out of his job in Harvard Medical School as of 1988 historical records for having been a victim for plagiarizing a group of four papers within the medical journals as well as text books. Besides, this incidence also harmed his academic reputation due to the fact that publishing forms an integral portion of academic profession (Posner, 2007).
Besides, plagiarism may also lead to fatal legal consequences or even monetary damages. In particular, writers producing original ideas may opt to use litigations with a view to protecting their legitimate work by virtue of intellectual property right. As a result, violation of these rights through plagiarism may lead to damaged reputation and harsh legal consequence besides damaging the reputation of the victimized writer. Besides, there may be monetary damages to original owners of academic ideas in the event that such ideas are used exempt of the requisite attribution. According to various studies, plagiarism is universally criticized but not many people who can discretely avoid it in writing due to unintentional discredit (Williams, 2008).
Although, plagiarism is associated with dire negative consequences, there are some institutions which use the incidences of plagiarism for training particularly in the event of unintentional plagiarism. Indeed, some institutions provide that the first-time plagiarizers participate in training seminars or workshop where they learn different measures that could be used in enhancing plagiarism-free work. In particular, this form of consequence is particularly essential for students with unintentional plagiarism offences and therefore subject of minute ignorance regarding the subject on course. The subjective training retribution in such institutions is, therefore, introduced in combination with other formally written warnings which provides the regarded consequences of such offences as appertains to fragrant incidences of plagiarism. Indeed, the combined training and discipline approaches are perhaps one of the essential of combating plagiarism in colleges among other tertiary institutions. This move helps mitigate further instances of plagiarism (Stepchyshyn & Nelson, 2007).
How to Avoid Plagiarism
As pointed in the previous section of this paper, unintentional or first time plagiarism may be avoided through the intervention of trainers in assisting college students on the probable measures that could be taken at individual level in minimizing plagiarism and subsequent elimination. There are no specific and well defined mechanisms through which plagiarism in tertiary institutions can be avoided. Ideally, any course instructor concerned about the consequences of plagiarism besides having read on proficient strategies may try to construct any form of assignment in a manner that precludes probable incidences of plagiarism. Through this approach, the student is compelled to rethink about the assignments and subsequently, freshening them up. This process also injects new vigor into the course particularly for the students and instructors with habitual reflection on pedagogy. However, this method is highly subjective (Harris & Lockman, 2001).
Essentially, plagiarism may also be avoided by nurturing the skills of paraphrasing. In the event that a person in academic writing wants to relay a message from an external source, this could be done by writing the message in one’s own words to deliver the same message as the source. However, in the event that one paraphrase from a given source, proper attribution is regarded mutually acceptable. For instance, one may use phrases such as, ‘according to…’ among others. Consequently, after using such phrase, the writer can proceed informing the reader of what the cited person had communicated but in a paraphrase (Roberts, 2008).
Similarly, the writer may also use summaries as a way of avoiding plagiarism. Essentially, summaries provide a similar impression as the paraphrase, but only capitalize on the main theme of the author without details of the content work. However, summaries are critical to delivery of information briefly and can, therefore, be used in eliminating plagiarism. However, just like in paraphrasing, summary work should also be properly cited to acknowledge the author (Roberts, 2008).
Last but not least, prior to submission of assignments especially for the ‘home or take away assignments’ one may go through the completed sheet manually and check on sections which may be too close to the source. Similarly, in the event of electronic generation of information particularly using the internet, plagiarism check may also be done with specialized software which detects plagiarized contents. Nevertheless, the plagiarism test application may not offer a guarantee of accuracy. For instance, online plagiarism may be done through such software as eTBLAST and Plagium among others (Watkins, 2008). Finally, plagiarism is a major problem for academic studies that needs to be avoided for genuine and meaningful accreditation.
Plagiarism is a major issue for majority of scholars in the academic sector. Furthermore, other people especially within coexisting professional segments undertake plagiarism intentionally, a factors that can lead to a wide range of problems to the individuals. However, unintentional plagiarism can also be avoided. More precisely, the prime consideration in eliminating plagiarism begins with self-discipline and honesty (Cvetkovic & Anderson, 2010). Furthermore, any serious writer should also practice proofreading prior to submission of the academic paper. Similarly, writers should seek to produce unique writing techniques through proficient summary and paraphrase skills. As a result, the writer may be able to avoid high probability of unintentional plagiarism. In the context of academia, course instructors should also expose the students to this concept at an early stage followed by engaging the right mechanisms such as trainings, which may be used to promote plagiarism-free writings.