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The Short and Concise Plagiarism Guide for Students

Integrity and taking responsibility is extremely important, whether you’re a student or planning to start your career after your academic studies. It’s crucial that you act professional and abide by the guidelines during your academic studies as well as later on, so that you, as a future professional evoke respect and create a reputation for yourself that isn’t based on other’s people work and ideas. Be original, work hard and don’t fall into temptation to take the short route and copy someone else’s ideas.

As most students don’t exactly know what constitutes plagiarism, and why this is so essential to avoid, we’ve developed a short guide that covers all relevant plagiarism-related points. It’s crucial not just to learn the definition of plagiarism, but learn all there is to know about what kinds of plagiarism forms exist, how to avoid it, where to find the right tools to check for plagiarism etc. But let’s start with the basics.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s ideas or work as your own and incorporating it into your work without full acknowledgement. All published and unpublished material, whether in manuscript, printed or electronic form, is covered under this definition.

Forms of Plagiarism

Plagiarism isn’t just a copy-paste action, in fact, there are several different kinds of plagiarism. Get acquainted with all and understand what each constitutes in order to avoid plagiarism altogether. Let’s start with the basic two categories: intentional and unintentional plagiarism.

Unintentional Plagiarism

Sometimes, you aren’t aware that you are copying someone else’s work, or you might have similar writing styles with someone else. With so many sources, blogs and articles we’re exposed to on the daily, it’s hard not to be influenced significantly by other authors. Unfortunately, even if you don’t think you’re plagiarism, you might be. Also, you could be forgetting to cite or quote someone else’s work, and you could still be committing plagiarism. Even if it’s unintentional, charges can be submitted against you, which is why it’s your duty to be responsible and take all measures necessary to avoid plagiarism.

Intentional Plagiarism

The title explains itself; intentional plagiarism is when you are aware that you’re copying someone else’s work or ideas, and you don’t reference the source. However, there are different kinds of intentional plagiarism.


This is basically word for word quotation, without acknowledging your source. Statements that are copied word for word should always be accompanied with the proper source, so that the words that you do copy are clearly highlighted as someone else’s, and not yours.


One of the most common forms of plagiarism involves simply copying and pasting content from the Internet, without right acknowledgment or mention of the source. Even information sourced from online resources has to be properly cited.


Paraphrasing involves changing the word order or just certain words to avoid similarities with the original, once again, without proper acknowledgment of the source. It’s best to be clear and honest about paraphrasing by mentioning the author and stating that you are simply irritating his/her ideas to help your argument.


When students collaborate together and fail to recognize assistance that has been received or to follow regulations of working on group projects, this is called collusion plagiarism. Every student collaboration on a particular paper or piece of writing must be authorized and in adherence to group work regulations that are usually given by your professor.


No student is allowed to submit its own work twice, not just in one particular course in the University, but all courses. You are not allowed to submit your own ideas that have already been previously submitted or published for that matter, without properly citing your own work.


Whether you are aware of the primary source or not, it’s important to acknowledge the secondary source as well, if you can’t locate the primary source. Along with citing properly in the bibliography, you must use footnotes within the text to reference a quote or a passage and its source.


You are not allowed to use professional services to produce your writing and submit it, even if the person has consented that you submit and use it. Each student is responsible for taking charge of the research process and writing himself.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Although avoiding plagiarism isn’t really that complex, most students are frustrated, because they aren’t aware of how important it is to avoid plagiarism. If you’re at the beginning of your academic journey, plagiarism can be a completely new notion that you haven’t researched enough to understand what it exactly is. Here are a couple of tips to keep you on the right track, and keep your work clean and authentic.

  • You and only you are responsible for your own work. Always be responsible enough to double-check your work and avoid intentional and unintentional plagiarism.
  • Learn the proper definition of plagiarism and understand what it means so you can avoid it. Don’t learn the basic definition and move on. Go into details.
  • Ask your professor on what constitutes as plagiarism and if there are any special rules in your course or University.
  • Double-check your references, so that everything is cited properly and each source is acknowledged correctly. No mistakes are allowed or forgiven when it comes to writing and citing.
  • Get the latest copy of a style guide and adhere to it. There are plenty of online resources to rely on.
  • Ask for assistance from your librarian as they can point you in the right direction and help you avoid plagiarism. They can’t do the work for you, but they can definitely serve as a guide.
  • Don’t employ or pay others to do your writing for you, whether it’s a professional service or a friend.
  • Don’t assist anyone else in writing their paper or give them your ideas, or work too closely on your paper with your friends.
  • You should avoid using words or quotes from unreliable sources, or sources you can’t identify.
  • Use correct tools to detect potential plagiarism. There are plenty of tools and software available that help you detect plagiarism in a matter of seconds. There’s no place for excuses.

Tools to Check Plagiarism

Luckily, there are numerous tools and software that’s available online to assist you in checking for plagiarism. Here’s a list of the most reliable plagiarism checkers, who have the largest database to compare to.

  • Grammarly

A very popular plagiarism checker, that enables you to do several things at the same time (grammar check, plagiarism check, spell check etc).

  • PlagScan

Before subscribing you can try out the free version of PlagScan, such as analyzing your work for plagiarism, as well as playing around with the settings that suit you the most.

  • ArticleChecker

Easy to use, as you only have to copy-paste the text, and not upload it.

  • DupliChecker

Upload your paper or copy-past your content and receive the results of the analysis within only a few seconds.

  • Small SEO Tools

This is one of the best free tools, and very comprehensive as well. You are given all the tools to analyze your text thoroughly and even detect where the plagiarized text can be found.

  • Plagium

Insert text and watch the results pop up in seconds. Plagium is able to detect plagiarism by not only comparing the text to online articles, but what has been published on social media as well.

  • Paperrater

Easily detect copied content or plagiarism, simultaneously checking your grammar and analyzing your writing.

Links to Plagiarism Guides

Below you will find a list of plagiarism guides that you can always turn to if you’re looking for more information on what constitutes as plagiarism. You’ll also be able to find examples, references, sources, definitions and so much more, to help you stay on the right track.

More information about references and citation, as well as how to avoid plagiarism.

Concise guide on everything plagiarism-related. How to avoid plagiarism, its definition, different types of plagiarism, accompanied with examples.

Students’ concrete guide that focuses on tips on how to avoid plagiarism.

Stony Brook University Library dedicated several pages to plagiarism. Learn how to detect and avoid plagiarism, and how to cite properly.

Harvard Guide to Using Sources covers all aspects of plagiarism in detail.

Avoiding plagiarism is crucial, not just because it’s punishable, but because of your personal progress and integrity. Every student should work hard throughout his academic education to maintain honesty and integrity, and to research and learn along the way without committing plagiarism and endangering their grades and future career.