Avoid Unintentional Plagiarism

A Grammarly blog post entitled, “5 Most Effective Methods for Avoiding Plagiarism,” features a funny cartoon by Prillo & Fritz, where a student is saying to his teacher: “Whaddya mean all my facts are wrong?!? I copied everything straight off the internet!!”

I gained many valuable insights during my years of teaching research skills to college students at all levels. One of those insights is that students usually plagiarize for one of two reasons. The first reason is that they procrastinated and waited until the last minute to start their research. Stress and panic set in and shortcuts are taken. The second reason is that they are simply unaware they are actually plagiarizing. In the corporate world, the writing and sharing of ideas on thought leadership, innovation, and best practices is a common and welcome practice. Plagiarism can unintentionally occur when the writer fails to cite any ideas used that is not his or her own, even if they are paraphrased.

The Grammarly blog post, written by Allison VanNest, provides five easy tips to “make sure that you create work that doesn’t inadvertently steal ideas or words.” The reader is cautioned to watch out for these four forms of plagiarism: Direct, Self, Mosaic, and Accidental.

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