26 April – World Intellectual Property Day (Tips to avoid plagiarism) Imagine being given a topic on which to write an assignment. You tackle the research, then you submit your brainchild, waiting with bated breath the success that is to follow. Only you are told that you have failed and – to your horror – kicked out of the institution you’re enrolled with because of plagiarism! A scary thought but it happens to many students.
Avoid this nightmarish experience by understanding what plagiarism is. Simply put, it is about taking someone else’s work and passing it off as your own because you intentionally did not credit the source. Perhaps what many fail to comprehend is when you don’t credit your source (this includes your earlier work too), that’s theft and a criminal offense. To help you avoid being labeled uTsotsi, we have come up with a few simple steps. They may seem time-consuming, but the time used doing the right thing will be well worth it. It’s a good investment when you compare it to being fired, depending on your occupation or kicked out of college. Either way, the consequences can be frightening. When you make use of another person’s thoughts, ideas, or words, you need to acknowledge that person. You also need to do the same for your earlier work. Sounds tricky? That’s because there are different types of plagiarism. The most common forms are:
- Direct plagiarism: This is when you take the author’s work, word for word, without giving the credit.
- Self-plagiarism: When you submit some, all, or a selection of work previously submitted by yourself, it is called self-plagiarism. Yes, your work also needs to be referenced.
- Mosaic plagiarism: This calls for attention to detail and occurs when you fail to use quotation marks or when you choose to replace words used by an author with synonyms but keep the same overall structure.
- Accidental plagiarism: Failure to mention your source, misquoting, or paraphrasing an author’s work source without crediting them is also plagiarism.
Now that you have a fair understanding of what plagiarism is, as well as its variants, here are some tips on how to avoid it:
- There are a decent number of free plagiarism check websites on the internet. Find one that suits you best and use it.
- Create a reference page or bibliography for your document and be sure to use the right format.
- Remember that misquoting is also a form of plagiarism. You need to explicitly state which ideas are your own and which ones you sourced from elsewhere.
- Include website addresses. Note these as you go so that you don’t have to try and remember them later. Essential details are the author, article title and the date of when the article was written. Also, remember that not everything on the internet is true or reliable.
- When you take an idea from another source, use it to build an argument, make use of a citation, quotation marks and paraphrase accordingly. The same goes for when using your idea, then use info from another source to help you back up your view.
IQ POWER NOTE World Intellectual Property takes place on 26 April this year. The day celebrates intellectual property (IP) which refers to the unique, original, and new developments and creations like a new invention, brand, design or artistic creation. This year, World Intellectual Property Day celebrates the brilliance, ingenuity, curiosity and courage of the women who are driving change in our world and shaping our common future.