Wednesday, April 4, 2012


          Plagiarism is a term used is research and academic writing. It is considered a sin which any writer must avoid. Universities and schools try to educate young scholars how to avoid plagiarism during their assignments, and academic writing.Plagiarism, in simple words, is theft of ideas. If researcher employs others’ ideas or statements and making it his, it is plagiarism. But if researcher produces due acknowledgement to the true owner of the idea by quoting his name and work then it becomes reference which is not plagiarism.
          One should not be afraid. There are ways to save your skin. When you have found some work of other writer which is relevant to yours objective, then do not copy/paste  it in your thesis. Read it thoroughly, understand writer’s point of view and then explain it in your own words. While doing so you must not forget to mention the name of the writer whose idea has been discussed in your work. And believe me it will reflect positive impression of yours.
          Sometimes it is necessary to bring original text of other writers. In that case researcher should know how to produce proper reference or citation. Original text is normally written in quotation marks or in away as it looks different than your text. Some writers change text format and others bring it in rectangular boxes or use different shades in order to avoid plagiarism.This is often required when researcher has to bring small text material in his work.
          Students also face a situation when they find some information which was already in their mind. What should they do? 
          Here we must distinguish between two types of information. There is some knowledge which is common. For example, all knows that South Korea and North Korea are two separate states. If someone has mentioned this information in his work, then it does not come under the plagiarism. Because it is a common knowledge and all knows it as a fact. Similar situations come when you find some thing in text books. Most of the material in text books is in the domain of common knowledge, e.g laws of motion, Laws of demand and supply, Central limit theorem, etc. When any fact or information was already cited by numerous authors and it is a fact known by all-is a common knowledge.
          Many times, researcher is dealing with knowledge which is not common and only it relates to specific Jargon or by an individual. Whether it is published or unpublished, rule of thumb is that be sincere in your efforts and give due respect to the owner of idea and material. Giving credit to original source is a service to original owner of information, and to the knowledge as a whole. Giving credit to source is called citation in academic writing. It is a formal way to acknowledging the original source.
          Nowadays, variety of software and sites are available which can test your material and indicate whether it is original work of the author or any form of plagiarism. You can Google for plagiarism and find valuable resources explaining about the plagiarism and citation.
(Author: Muhammad Azeem)