Plagiarism: Definition, the Importance of Correct Citation

An old problem in literal sources which still appears in the era of high technological progress is plagiarism. This issue is quite distinctively can be defined today due to search via the Internet or throughout the direct sources. The originality of thought was valued in different times. This point was taken into account by those who wanted to show their wisdom and contribute their knowledge into the heritage of scientific or philosophical background of mankind. Hence, the knowledge space of humanity in present days should be improved with original and quite brilliant ideas with the guarantee for an author. In brief this concerns safety of rights for written material.

First of all, plagiarism can be defined in different ways concerning the point of straightforward offence. In this respect one should not mix plagiarism with such terms as borrowing and imitation. According to definitions which are given by various authoritative sources the term under analysis can be explained in the following way:

  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary: to steal and interpret other words as one’s own; use of authorized information without needful obligatory source; presenting something new (ideas, thoughts) which was taken from existing source (Plagiarism, 2009).
  • The Random House dictionary: literacy theft of unauthorized use or straightforward imitation of original thoughts which are presented in written materials and authorized by other authors (Harvey, 2009).

According to the definitions given above it is necessary to admit that the negative attitude of multiple amount of people who violate different rules and principles of writing papers academically. Students are those who confront with writing papers on various topics and in definite formats, so that to satisfy their lecturers and professors in having an idea of what they are writing about. Still there is a problem to be solved with proper analysis.

Plagiarism is huge among students, because most of them do not care when following credential rules and tips to be mentioned and used in the essays or research papers. This is why students’ ability to plagiarize is increasing, notwithstanding the fact that everything which was used without appropriate referencing can be checked by means of so-called “plag-finders”, such as “Turn it in”. Today, using written materials or whole works via mass media and Internet, inn particular, is very popular, because students do not need to work over such long and industrious process of writing. Doing like this they face with the necessity of other ideas use because most of youngsters are lazy to do something original.

Thus, they take it for granted without understanding that they simply steal. Looking at it seriously, plagiarism is a theft. In global scope for use of another thought people provide trials and appeal to appropriate instances in order to restore genuine rights for original thoughts. In other words, one can plagiarize, but sooner or later it may reflect a fine. The Holy Bible in this respect provides the following assertion: “Though shall not steal” (Carroll & Prickett, 1998, p. 90). This is why narrow-mindedness of students can hardly evaluate the risks which are related to writing papers without substantial check of its night patterning.

In practice plagiarism can vary in terms of a person who commits it in intentional and unintentional. Intentional plagiarism is considered with facts when a person conscientiously tries to use materials accurate to a hairbreadth without making any attempt to cite the source or sources. Here a writer can confront with strict and inehorable criticism from the side of those who check the paper. Intentional plagiarism is rather dull, because in any way it will not pass further. It is the wrong path in looking for any success in writing academic papers.

On the other hand, unintentional plagiarism points out facts when a writer is lost in making right citing or just mismatched authorized data with own thoughts, so that to make some difference. In other words, this type of plagiarism in many cases can be called as accidental. Nevertheless, facts are stubborn thing. Thereupon, one should make thorough analysis of what is written and where the primary and secondary information was taken. However, in some cases writers may run across the fact of unintentional expression of thought by oneself, but it was used earlier. Such cases are rare, but still they can appear. Once more it is vital to make up, first of all, the reliability of own and borrowed thoughts.

Marsh (2007) provides in his book ideas of various authors who discussed the idea of original writing and proper citing as well. Thus, he admits the remark of one researcher in this field as follows: “…citing the inherent arbitrariness of written rhetorics can be described as “a kind of transcendent discourse” (92). The importance of correct citing with appropriate example goes without saying, because any thought of an ordinary writer should be supported by some eminent persons in a definite field of knowledge.

In the writing practice there are several most acknowledged kinds of citation styles: APA, MLA, Chicago, Vancouver, Harvard etc. Each of them is outlined with some peculiarities as of referencing different types of sources both in text and in reference list. When examples are listed with bits of other people words, but are promoted as personal thought, it can lead to plagiarism, but not in all cases: “With proper attribution, these hybrid papers can avoid accusations of plagiarism. However, they usually receive low grades since it is difficult to create a cohesive, well-thought-out paper from bits and pieces of other people’s words” (Thompson, 2004, para. 12).

Citing provides a transformation of someone’s original thought by writer’s own words with proper reference. Citing is preferable in many cases because it shows a capacity of a writer to think over a definite theme and understand it. It then helps also to correctly analyze the idea of the source. Direct quoting is needed when the whole excerpt from a book or journal article should be used for further analysis. Here the details of straightforward quotation are significant.

Paraphrasing is also a prerogative of good works. It is used for making a discussion or research in the work with mere extent of only other thoughts. In paraphrasing transition of materials is given in terms of correct and almost same by sense bits of information. However, Harvey (2009) underlines that there is no need in citing common knowledge, because such cases are considered to be universally known. Here one should be aware of what is common for the community or society to make emphasis on giving no citation remarks. Moreover, it is better to cite under in order to put a reader into the picture.

Thus, the problem of plagiarism is rather obvious within students. Grabbing more attention on the importance to cite and reference correctly is a requirement of every conscientious writer.


Carroll, R. & Prickett, S. (1998). The Bible: Authorized King James Version. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Harvey, M. (2009). The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing. Web.

Marsh, B. (2007). Plagiarism: alchemy and remedy in higher education. New York: SUNY Press.

Plagiarism. (2009). Plagiarism in the Digital Age: Voices from the Front Lines What’s Happening on College Campuses Today. Web.

Thompson, S. (2004). How to Avoid Plagiarism. Web.

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