Oxford dictionary defines plagiarism as the taking someone else’s work or ideas and making your own without authority or permission.
According to Wikipedia, Plagiarism is the portraying another author’s language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions as one’s own original work and ideas which is very wrong. In educational contexts, there are multiple definitions of plagiarism, it all depends on the institution.
Plagiarism in other words simply is piracy, copying of someone else’s work without reference to the original owner. Intellectual theft.
In the academical and journalism world, plagiarism is considered breach of ethics.
There are various kinds of plagiarism and they all are considered breach of academical ethics and honesty.
Here are some:
Direct plagiarism: Direct plagiarism like the word connotes is the absolute copying of another’s work exactly word for word without quotation or reference. This is considered violation of ethics and has varying penalties depending on the institution or industry.
Self plagiarism: Self plagiarism occurs when a writer or student reuses a previous work of theirs in a new work without reference or quote. This is equally considered violation of code of conduct.
Accidental plagiarism: Accidental plagiarism refers to when a person forgets to cite their sources, or misquotes their sources, or accidentally paraphrases a source by using exact or alike words without due reference.
All these and other kinds of plagiarism are considered infringement of copyright, breach of ethics and code of conduct and are punishable depending on each industry’s law.
However, there are ways to avoid plagiarism. Here are some:
Be Original: This is the act of writing each work fresh and new. Not having to copy or use someone else’s work with reference to them or otherwise, not even your own old work.
Each new work birthed from deep and strong imagination.
Originality is the beauty of works therefore a writer should always embrace originality.
Due Referencing: In all sincerity, there’s no great work that will be done without research.
There are some embellishments that could be found in already done works either by a totally different writer or by you that perfectly fits the current work and needs to be copied. You do so, qouting and referencing it, indicating that you are not stealing it, rather it’s a borrowed material. Giving due credit to the original owner.
A writer has to be meticulous and error-free thereby not forgetting to reference the material/s used in their work.
Editing and Proofreading: Proofreading is the act of totally reading through a completed work for the purpose of discovering (if there’s any) error/s so it could be corrected.
With proofreading comes editing which is the act of meticulous checking through a completed work to discover and fix errors such as grammatical blunders, phrases and sentences errors, punctuation errors, changing of some words or phrases or sentences, removal or addition of some words, phrases and sentences, making sure borrowed materials are copied properly with due quotations and referencing to avert cases of plagiarism and addition of beauty and perfection to the work.
Summarily, to avert and avoid plagiarism, when quoting another person’s work make sure they are properly placed in quotation marks. Likewise, paraphrase the other person’s words. That is to rewrite it in your own words as mere word substitutions are equally considered plagiarism.
Lastly, nothing beats originality, and if you must, use historical and scientific facts.