- What happens if you plagiarize?
The consequences of plagiarism vary depending on the severity of the infraction. Some types of plagiarism, such as direct plagiarism, are more serious than others, such as self-plagiarism.
If you’re a student, then you might fail the course, be suspended or expelled, or be obligated to attend a workshop on plagiarism. It depends on whether it’s your first offense or whether you’ve done it before.
As an academic or professional, the consequences are more serious. Aside from the fact that plagiarizing seriously damages your reputation, you might also lose your research funding and/ or your job.
Plagiarizing is a serious offense, and knowing how to avoid plagiarism is therefore important. Read more about the consequences of plagiarism and use a plagiarism checker to detect plagiarism yourself.
- Are plagiarism checkers accurate?
The accuracy depends on the plagiarism checker you use. Scribbr is the most accurate plagiarism checker. Many free plagiarism checkers fail to detect all plagiarism or falsely flag text as plagiarism.
Take a look at this comparison of free and paid plagiarism checkers for students to find the most accurate plagiarism checker.
The accuracy is determined by two factors: the algorithm (which recognizes the plagiarism) and the size of the database (with which your document is compared).
Size of the database
Many free plagiarism checkers only check your paper against websites – not against books, journals or papers previously submitted by other students. Therefore, these plagiarism checkers are not very accurate, as they miss a lot of plagiarism.
Most plagiarism checkers are only able to detect “direct plagiarism”, or instances where the sentences are exactly the same as in the original source. However, a good plagiarism checker is also able to detect “patchwork plagiarism” (sentences where some words are changed or synonyms are used).
- Is it plagiarism if you cite the source?
If you correctly cite the source you do not commit plagiarism. However, the word ‘correct’ is vital in this sentence. In order to avoid plagiarism you must adhere to the guidelines of your citation style (e.g. APA citation style or MLA citation style).
Plagiarism checker software can be used to check your text for plagiarism. This software compares your text with billions of webpages, books and articles.
Scribbr Plagiarism Checker
- What is the difference between plagiarism and paraphrasing?
Plagiarism is the act of using someone else’s work or ideas without crediting the original author and thereby pretending it’s your own.
Paraphrasing means rephrasing the original text in your own words.
So, where does the confusion come from?
When using someone else’s work, you can either quote or paraphrase it to prevent plagiarism. Paraphrase a text if you want to clarify or shorten the original text. Quote the text if you want to keep the exact wording and meaning of the original source.
- Is paraphrasing considered plagiarism?
Paraphrasing without crediting the original author is considered plagiarism and therefore has serious consequences.
However, if you do credit the original author correctly using an in-text citation or footnote citation and include the full source in the reference list, then you do not commit plagiarism.
In order to avoid plagiarism, you must always cite the source in the correct citation format; otherwise, you are presenting something as your own work, even though it’s not.
The difference between paraphrasing and plagiarism
- Can you plagiarize yourself?
Although it sounds contradictory, you can indeed plagiarize yourself. This is called self-plagiarism. Self-plagiarism goes against the expectations of the reader that the paper you submitted is new.
You can plagiarize yourself by, for instance:
- Submitting a document you previously submitted for a different course
- Using a section of a previous paper without correctly citing yourself as the source
Although self-plagiarism is often unintentional, it can have serious consequences. Be sure to cite your previous work or discuss the decision to use your old paper with your professor.
Read more about self-plagiarism
- Should I check my paper for plagiarism before submitting it to my instructor?
If you’ve correctly cited all the sources you used, then you do not need to use a plagiarism checker before submitting your paper to your instructor. However, if you want to be sure that you didn’t forget to cite anything, then you can use a plagiarism checker yourself.
There are both free plagiarism checkers and paid plagiarism checkers, such as the Scribbr Plagiarism Checker.
To help you, we compared popular plagiarism checkers to find out which one is best.
Best plagiarism checker comparison