Myths about plagiarism.

August 12, 2014 0 2379


LLike most complicated issues, Plagiarism has a lot of myths surrounding it. Many writers end up getting themselves in trouble due to this misinformation. While it would be very hard to document every single misconception that has been spread around, there are some common rumors that should be dispelled. Below are three well-known plagiarism myths that amateur writers need to look out for.

1. Plagiarism won’t hurt anyone.

This is a common myth. People assume that copying someone else isn’t an actual crime. Unlike theft or murder no one gets hurt. This is not true at all. Plagiarism is a form of stealing and in some cases, it can even lead to the physical harm of others. For instance, there has been some admitted plagiarism within the scientific community involving doctors and treatment administered to their patients.  A lot of the times some of these people performing the research have said to have falsified data, copied information from older research and therefore made it possible for certain treatment methods to appear as safe. This put people who were using it at risk and could have caused serious consequences such as death.

2. Plagiarism doesn’t always matter.

Most students know that plagiarism is bad. But many of them believe that there are certain circumstances where it is acceptable. Students will sometimes decide that an elective class is unimportant and think that it is okay to submit plagiarized work. This will still get them in trouble. Plagiarism is punishable no matter where it is committed. Stealing is stealing and professors do not take this lightly at all.  While some might fail your one assignment others may fail you for the whole class and report you to the school.  You run a risk of getting expelled or at least reprimanded publicly.

3. Self-plagiarism is not an issue.

A lot of students make the common mistake of copying their own work and turning it in. While many people will argue that this is not an actual form of plagiarism, since it technically did not take anything from another person, it is still punishable. About 85% of editors and researchers believe that self-plagiarism is a form of academic fraud.  If you have submitted the assignment being copied once before, you are running the risk of getting into trouble.  Self-plagiarism also exposes the writer to other risks, copying work that contains out of date and incorrect information could easily lead to bad grades. Anyone who is thinking about copying their own work should really reconsider.

Being aware of the three myths listed above is a good start, however, it may not always enough. There are thousands of different pieces of false information floating around.  Between campus gossip and the internet it is easy to get confused.  Anyone who isn’t sure if something is true should consult a professor or teaching assistant or make sure that they are looking at scholarly sources rather than citing TMZ articles. Even taking a quick trip to the school writing center and asking there can help to clear up any misinformation. You should try and use as many of the resources that are available to you.


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