If you are a writer, you know how crucial written work is, whether it’s in an academic assignment or an article for a website. It is sometimes the case that people copy your work and claim to be the owner of that content, but is it so terrible? Let’s discuss the topic of plagiarism in this blog.
These types of ill practices are referred to as Plagiarism. Besides copying written content or academic papers, people even use photos, music, and videos without giving even a little credit to the original creator.
The demand to produce highly unique content sometimes takes a toll on creativity, and people resort to such practices. And hence, you need to be mindful whenever you put out your content:
Firstly, you have to check whether your content is entirely unique.
Secondly, you need to know if someone has lifted your content and claimed it as their own.
To take action, you need to know everything about Plagiarism, from its definition to the different types and steps you can take to prevent Plagiarism.
Without further ado, let’s delve deeper into the dark side of content writing, i.e., Plagiarism:
What Is Plagiarism?
The University of Oxford defines Plagiarism as stealing someone’s ideas and molding them into your way without giving any credit. Not just text but illustrations, videos, images, and songs also face plagiarism issues.
There are many forms of Plagiarism. Let’s learn about some of the most common forms.
Forms Of Plagiarism
1. Word-for-word Transcription
It’s an explicit form of Plagiarism. Here, the writer uses exact words from original content without using quotations or credits.
You must have seen this practice on news websites where the same news surfaces on various platforms. To avoid hassles, these websites write a disclaimer as an acknowledgment of the original content piece. Content syndication platforms use this method of publishing too.
One of the most intriguing ways to land yourself in trouble is simply to lift the exact content from the internet. The internet is a sea of content, and assuming the internet to be free of use is a misconception.
When a writer does not pay any heed to link references from the internet in their content, it becomes a copy. Google algorithms identify such thefts and can block the content’s reach.
The ideal conception of paraphrasing refers to mirroring the original content into your own words. Paraphrasing is a form of Plagiarism if not properly cited.
Paraphrasing becomes Plagiarism when:
a. You don’t cite the original author
b. You use synonyms in bits but keep the sentence structure the same
c. You use the original idea as is without any type of value addition
While this form of Plagiarism violates the ethics of writing, imitating your work by paraphrasing and rebranding has many implications. Though you might not keep it identical, using your previous work can stagger your rankings.
Reusing your content is appropriate in certain contexts. For example, you are repurposing a blog post into a social media post.
How To Avoid Plagiarism?
All these types of Plagiarism need to be avoided positively. Good ethics in content writing contributes to success in the long run. Besides, the Google algorithm follows E-A-T while rating the quality of content. Thus, any indiscipline might strike you off the SERPs.
Here are a few methods that you could employ to keep the content unique:
1. Cite Your Sources
A citation includes the author’s or publication’s name and the website link or page number (books). While citing, you must remember that a copy doesn’t only mean a mirror image of the original. Even if you paraphrase, you should cite the source with all the details.
As you’re using someone else’s idea, proper citation not only makes your content trustworthy but also helps the readers feel the depth of your research process.
When you copy the exact words of the author, include them within quotation marks with proper credits. Sometimes the process of rephrasing takes a toll on quoting and results in Plagiarism. Using the exact words and not enclosing them within quotations without any citations is a common practice that keeps writers under the delusion that they’re producing original content.
As discussed earlier, there’s a fine line between paraphrasing and Plagiarism. Paraphrasing comes with a set of defined patterns that can help you avoid conflicts in the future:
A handbook on academic integrity at MIT written by Patricia Brennecke, Lecturer in the MIT English Language Studies Program, features some of the methods to avoid Plagiarism while paraphrasing:
- Use synonyms
- Change the sentence structure
- Use clauses instead of phrases and vice versa
- Reported speech to direct speech and vice versa
4. Use Plagiarism Checker Tools
This comes off as a straight-out solution to all the plagiarism conflicts. All the precautions mentioned above can still be inadequate to generate 100% unique content. Plagiarism checker tools provide much-needed assurance that your content won’t get flagged as plagiarised.
Best Free Plagiarism Checker Tools
Duplichecker is a handy tool where you can copy and paste your text and wait for the results to show up. It is one of the more reliable tools to check Plagiarism. Your content must not be more than 1000 words for free plagiarism checks, which is okay.
This tool is another such handy tool that requires you to copy/paste, upload your content. With no sign-in required, Small SEO Tools also helps you to rephrase the plagiarised sentences. The results show up in a table with one column containing the source content to cite sources or remove Plagiarism. The user gets to know the percentage of uniqueness as well.
It also runs on the exact mechanism as Duplichecker with accurate results, including a comparative study of source content vs. your content.
Paper Rater scans through the document or the text thoroughly, pointing out any spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, synonyms, etc.
Despite free tools ruling your search history, paid tools always have an edge for multiple reasons:
- Firstly, they are authentic.
- Free tools don’t always check on all the websites. Paid tools provide that extra cushion of reliability.
- Paid tools facilitate images and videos along with textual content.
- Paid tools have the best search algorithm that can accompany writers working on essential projects.
Best Paid Plagiarism Checker Tools
This tool comes in handy when you’re writing academic content where Plagiarism is strictly prohibited. Quetext allows the user to copy and paste the content in the text box and wait for the results.
The authenticity of Quetext is quite highly rated among students and professionals. Quetext has one of the best search algorithms that can detect minute errors very effectively.
Quetext offers a free subscription for up to 2500 words (5 pages), but the pro version is advisable. With a $9.99/month subscription, users can check up to 10,000 (200 pages) and avail online citation generation.
Copyscape is one of the best-paid tools to check Plagiarism. It requires you to pay 3c per search (up to 200 words) and 1c per extra 100 words.
It facilitates batch Searching, in which you can scan up to 10,000 pages in a single operation. Offline checking is also available, and you can also keep track of multiple contents belonging to your team members.
With over 30M+ students and 1500 universities using this tool, you can imagine the quality of service Turnitin offers. Turnitin does not provide any free tools for students, but the flagship product Feedback Studio allows them to get feedback within their assignment workflow.
Sometimes students pay off the third party to undertake their assignments and research papers. This form of treachery in academics is called contract cheating. Turnitin Feedback Studio addresses this issue and helps the instructors compare and cross-check all the assignments to catch any patterns.
Best Way To Avoid Plagiarism
The best way to avoid plagiarism is to use Grammarly which is an all-in-one content optimization and checker tool that helps you check for grammatical errors, plagiarism, and much more.
Check Out Grammarly Today
It’s free to try and affordable to purchase
Plagiarism is indeed unethical and has severe complications once done on a higher level. Nevertheless, the best way to protect yourself from future hassle is to adhere to the policy of originality.
You map out your ideas, create an outline, conduct the best possible research, keep track of all the source materials, and finally write the content. But the job is not done yet. Though you think the content is fully unique, it’s your duty to check for similarities in your content.
Following the above guidelines will not only help you develop a keen eye for details but also shoot up the traffic to your website. The funny thing is even if your content lacks a few statistics but contains a valuable thesis and is original. It will feature on top of well-structured plagiarised content.
Whether you are a website administrator, blogger, freelance writer, SEO professional, or marketing manager, you can’t afford to be complacent while checking any content’s uniqueness.
So, do you have any stories of Plagiarism related stories where you caught the pirates red-handed? I’d love to hear your insights.