Inspiration Vs Copying
You have given birth to your first child and it seems to you that you have chosen a unique name you have not heard even once from the people you know. The first day you go outside with a pram, you hear this name from every other neighbor. You have just decided about the color of your walls in the kitchen and it seems to be an exclusive choice until you open any design magazine and see it in the first page. All of us live in one information realm and it is complicated to solve a puzzle of inspiration vs plagiarism when it goes about making choices and expressing ideas. Copying is a terrible sin! You accept this as a fact; still, it is extremely challenging to distinguish between getting inspired by something unconsciously and intentional borrowing someone’s original (are they?) ideas. The line between them is blurry and that may cause lots of troubles.
Unintentional Plagiarism: Blame or Grant a Pardon?
For sure, if you pretend that the borrowed ideas are genuine and you do not refer to the origin that is a valid reason for accusations. Not indicating the reference, you as an author clearly demonstrate that you treat someone’s work without any respect. However, it may happen that you get trapped in the problem ‘inspiration vs copying’ and you just have similar thoughts with the author, being not aware of that. Plagiarism is actually much more than taking the ideas of other authors as they are without their permission. You can be dismissed from your university even if there is no word-for-word repetition of someone’s ideas in your written paper.
You have probably thought a lot about how to get inspiration for writing, looking through the relevant materials. No one lives in a vacuum and all ideas are around within arm’s reach. As a result, your mind has feigned some ideas on the basis of what you have learnt from other papers and publications. It means you cannot say that you moved ahead yourself without any driving force from inside. However, was it actually plagiarism in the form of stealing someone's writing or innovative ideas?
Plagiarism Check in Academics
Committing crimes in academic writing is pretty easy and the word ‘plagiarism’ even sounds nasty. Unintentionally, even the students at the top level of diligence and integrity can fail in giving proper credit to the used ideas. Thorough plagiarism check for all the submitted papers is a great way to sort out the papers of honest students from those who keep cheating. However, there are papers somewhere in between which show a certain percentage of plagiarized content, but their authors had no notion of stealing.
There are some writing habits which might result in plagiarism:
- You want to refer to someone’s idea but you forget to cite it properly, you will definitely be accused of plagiarism. Even if you tell about someone’s ideas in your own words without referencing, you do not produce original text.
- If you want to introduce someone’s thoughts into your paper and you take effort to paraphrase it in a really nice way, you still plagiarize as you are making use of someone’s ideas.
- If you remember that you have heard someone’s argument that you really like and you take it for your paper without clarifying who has said that, you run high risk that some software used to check plagiarism online can trace these ideas.
Current Tendencies in Plagiarizing
- It is much cheaper and easier to copy than to create
- Plagiarizing saves lots of time and effort
- Using the ideas which have already been applied gives a guarantee that the intended audience will accept them again
- Check for plagiarism reveals borrowed content, but you actually were just under the influence of some ideas unconsciously.
Get Inspired With No Stealing Involved
Think about the aspects of a certain piece of art or writing which you really like. Instead of copying it directly, you can try to gain an insight into the core of inspiration you get. Reflecting over the strengths of this work you like, you will figure out what you should do to change your own paper or piece of art. Besides, you should get the ideas you like but without any offence or hurt to the original source or your own reputation. Study the mechanisms of influencing the readers in the piece of writing that appeals to you and then write your own. After that, you can start the plagiarism check and see if you have managed to draw inspiration with no stealing of ideas.
Thus, which steps should you take to ensure that no check plagiarism procedures can prove that you have taken some ideas without permission?
- Make it clear for yourself which pieces of work inspire you
- Figure out which mechanisms were used when it was created. Try to gain understanding of the key principles of this source.
- Create your own text, but trying to apply similar techniques and mechanisms in it.
Plagiarizing texts or being inspired by some writing, you nevertheless refer to it in your own work. If you need to check plagiarism in it, you can do that. However, the most effective thing is to think whether you have managed to extend the content or add anything to it. You are a creative person; so, it is not enough just to feel inspired! What you need is to accumulate energy and let it flow into a new text, which will combine the outdated, current, and promising ideas. Even the most careful plagiarism check in your writing will not be capable of tracing the ideas without referencing if meet all the standards of writing. You build the basis for your writing on new original ideas and if you support them with the opinions of other researchers, you are obliged to cite them and check text for plagiarism to make sure.