Interdisciplinary Study

by Winter Fowkes, June 2014

900 words

3 pages


One of the textbook phrases about writing a research paper belongs to Paul Griffiths (1998) who admitted that, “There is no hope of doing a perfect research” (p. 97). Though this statement may sound controversy, one cannot deny the fact that writing a quality paper is a challenge. Usually, a student who is asked to write an essay or a research paper is engaged with other people’s ideas (WTS, 2004), and it is hard to resist a temptation to “borrow” some of them. Another gross challenge is to incorporate one’s most successful ideas into writing so they do not drown your own voice.

The line between the use of one’s ideas and plagiarism is so thin that it is very difficult not to cross it. One should have knowledge about plagiarism and its most widespread types in order to avoid it in his writing. It must be admitted that various sources provide different definition of plagiarism. It varies from “wrongful appropriation” (Oxford English Dictionary, 2012) to the representation of one’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” (Stepchyshyn & Nelson, p. 65). Regardless of the type of plagiarism, it is the violation of the copyright law (iParadigms, 2012), thus, it assumes both ethical and legal aspects.

It is important to review the most widespread types of plagiarism so to avoid them in your work. Firstly, plagiarism is copying, paraphrasing, or summarizing from a source without proper citing (DULs, 2012). It is important that every use of one’s ideas is carefully documented. The existing attribution systems, including American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), Harvard, Chicago, and other ensure an adequate referencing of a source (DULs, 2012), which is important for two main reasons: To ensure the avoidance of plagiarism and to provide a reader with all the necessary data that can help him to find the original source.

Like the use of one’s ideas and phrases without proper citing, the utilization of the data, graphics, or other visual materials without the reference to the source is a serious academic offense. In fact, this means that you steal the information that is the result of one’s hard work. One can hardly deny the fact that collection, analysis, and visual representation of information requires grounded knowledge and experience. It is evident that the appearance of such information in a student’s paper can arouse an instructor’s suspicion, rather than endorsement.

While citing one’s words or using one’s visual information without proper referencing are the classic examples of plagiarism, paraphrasing of one’s ideas is not abandoned in a student’s writing. However, it is important to find the line between an acceptable and unacceptable paraphrasing (WTS, 2004). Obviously that prior is the use of one’s ideas as a canvas for your own writing, while the latter assumes awkward paraphrasing that changes few random words in the original message.

Though paraphrasing may become a good strategy when writing particular parts of your own work, it is important that it corresponds …

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