A nightmare: The biggest hurdle for the academic title, the thesis, is taken; the political or scientific career has begun, it comes to light by chance that essential passages of his own work have been written off. Title and office are gone. Plagiarism is present!
This is an extreme scenario – but it is annoying in any case, if you are accused of having worked scientifically unclean. If you are sensitive to the subject from the beginning, you are less in danger of it happening.
What is plagiarism exactly?
The Latin word plagiārius means in German as much as “soul seller” or “human thief”. In antiquity one compared a written literary work with a freed slave who had been stolen by another. To accuse someone of plagiarism is to accuse him of unlawfully appropriating and “stealing” someone else’s thoughts and ideas, be they artistic or scientific.
Risk of thought theft
Plagiarism is thus the opposite of a quotation, one of the foundations of precise scientific work. After all, scientific results build on foreign sources per se and ideally continue to develop them. That you need to identify these sources should be self-evident. If you do not or insufficiently, you violate examination regulations, employment contracts or university law, or broader against copyright. And in the meantime this often happens: According to a fairuse study by the University of Bielefeld, one in five of the students examined there has already submitted a plagiarism.
Even if you reproduce a copyrighted text in your own words or take over an argument without naming its origin, that is plagiarism. Of course, it is also possible to copy facts, discoveries, interpretations or content and source lists of other works. The spectrum of plagiarism is broad and ranges from the difficult to detect assumption of ideas to the obvious copying of entire texts.
An explanation should prevent
As an adjunct to your bachelor thesis or master thesis, you almost always have to make a written statement about your scientific work, that you have written your term paper independently and have specified all sources used without restriction. It is hoped that this way the students will be sensitized to the problem and deceptive attempts will be less likely. Because a deception flies on, it can actually cost you the success of the thesis or even the academic title!
You think that does not affect you, because you have enough ideas of your own and can knit your own arguments? Unfortunately plagiarism also occurs unintentionally – if you lack not decency, but the scientific skills, time or patience. Is not it just more convenient to mark only every second indirect quote, after all, readers already know the source? If time is of the essence, because it only takes a few hours to deliver, it would be time-consuming to find out the origin of certain blank passages. Or maybe you do not even remember where you found the interesting idea on the slip?
So if you are unsure about the origin of a quoted quote, give it plagiarism checks on the net.
What does a plagiarism check do?
Due to a single unrecognized quote, of course, no degree is denied. If you are too worried that too many vacancies might have accumulated in your own text, you can still have plagiarism checks for bachelor or master theses done by some providers. Special testing software crawls the net to match your text. Even partially rewritten texts can be assigned to a source via individual small matching passages. You get information about critical and potential plagiarism sites that you can correct afterwards.
The plagiarism checks are, however, usually affordable, done in a few hours and understandable in their results, found sources are linked. This reduces the likelihood of unintentionally producing plagiarism.
The best way to prevent your own plagiarism, of course, is still to practice yourself in the correct scientific writing practice: to be attentive at the time of citation, to insert sources immediately and to pay attention directly to correct, consistent citation, so dealing with it safer becomes. Similarly, it may be useful to use a citation software. Those who master their own scientific craft – as the Bielefeld study shows – are less inclined to cheat.