What Is Considered Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is a form of intellectual property rights infringement. If you take credit for the other’s work, you’re plagiarizing. Some schools will also consider purchasing papers online to be a form of plagiarism or academic dishonesty, as you submit a paper you didn’t write under your name. You should check out your school’s Honor Code to learn more about what is considered plagiarism before you go learning how to plagiarize without getting caught.
How can you get caught plagiarizing?
Some professors can catch plagiarism just by reading your paper. They are familiar with the typical sources students use to notice missing citations, borrowed ideas, and standard arguments. However, an instructor cannot do anything about their gut feeling until they get solid proof of your wrongdoing, and that’s where plagiarism checkers come in. They compare your essay to millions of database entries and highlight all similarities. The sum of these similarities is your plagiarism percentage. So whenever you’re looking for ways to plagiarism without getting caught, you’re probably interested in beating plag checkers, not your professors.
Before we cover how to plagiarize on purpose without raising red flags, let’s ensure you’re safe from accidental similarities.
How to Avoid Accidental Plagiarism?
Even if you’re not looking for an answer to “How can I plagiarize without getting in trouble?” you can still fall prey to accidental plagiarism. False-positive results occur if you:
- Miss in-text citations. It’s easy to forget the source of the data or a quote; without proper citation, they will add to your plagiarism percentage.
- Get sloppy when paraphrasing. When transforming your notes into an essay, you may miss a few sentences or paragraphs and keep them in their original form. To keep track of borrowed text, consider highlighting everything you copy from references.
- Lean into sources too much. If you read a book or an article too many times, your writing style may shift to mimic it too closely. Advanced plagiarism checkers may catch the similarity and flag it, so be extra careful when formulating your thoughts.
Plagiarizing Without Getting Caught
Despite its glaring flaws, Turnitin is among the most popular plagiarism checkers among US colleges. Still, it’s very good at catching the tiniest traces of similarity and is notorious for highlighting plagiarism even if there’s none. So if you wish to learn how to plagiarize without getting caught by Turnitin, you won’t find better advice than writing original papers. However, if your school uses other plagiarism checkers, you can try one or more of the tricks below.
Your best bet is to do a deep rewrite of the paper. Unfortunately, most plagiarism checkers can now identify surface paraphrasing, so simply replacing every other word with a synonym won’t cut it. Instead, you need to rework sentence structure, transitions, and paragraphs. Ideally, you should retell the paper in your own words while keeping the same core ideas and arguments. This can take more time than you have, so you may use an automatic paraphrasing tool to get a headstart.
There are plenty of online services that automatically paraphrase any text you upload or paste. Ideally, you should choose a tool that includes an academic rewrite option to keep your paper from getting too sloppy after the rewrite. You should also look for a plagiarism rearranger that goes beyond simple thesaurus swaps and alters the structure of the text without affecting its meaning. Advanced paraphrasing tools, like Quillbot, are usually premium with a free option that allows you to rewrite tiny portions of your paper. If you intend to use them often, consider a subscription you can share with your classmates.
Research is one of the most time-consuming steps of writing a paper, but you can skip it if you know enough about the topic. Still, your professor will want to see the sources cited throughout the piece. If you only need a handful of references, you can get away with citing random articles and books you find on the Wikipedia page. Most instructors won’t bother checking the titles and pages you mention unless it’s your thesis.
You may find advice online on swapping one or two letters throughout your paper with their Cyrillic lookalikes that look the same to a human eye but confuse the plagiarism checkers into thinking your piece is 100% unique. Unfortunately, plag checkers’ developers caught onto this trick a few years back. Most premium checkers will highlight the words with swapped letters and draw your instructor’s attention. You may have to explain the reason for using the wrong characters, and that’s bound to be awkward. If you have the option, check this trick on an original paper replacing one or two letters. If it works, you’re in luck. If it doesn’t, it will be easier to explain a couple of swapped characters than a full paper of them.
It isn’t fun, but you need to think of what to do if you get caught plagiarizing. So read up on your school rules and regulations and develop a plan B in case you get in trouble. In most cases, you can get away with a slap on the wrist and a warning if it’s your first time getting caught. If that happens, you need to get better at unplagiarizing or reconsider your writing approach.
I cited my sources, is it considered plagiarism?
No, if you credit the original authors of ideas, quotes, or data, you are not plagiarizing, merely using sources, as is acceptable in academic and scientific writing. Of course, some plagiarism checkers may still flag these excerpts, but you should be able to prove they should be excluded from the similarity percentage if you use the proper citation style.
Can I have a pre-written paper "unplagiarized"?
You can use free and premium online tools to paraphrase an old paper, but it may not meet your school’s originality requirements. Writing a new essay may be easier than unplagiarizing an old piece.
Can I be punished for plagiarism?
You won’t find many true stories starting with “I plagiarized and got caught,” as proving plagiarism can be a pain for instructors and school administration. Still, if they go through with the accusation, you may get a black mark on your record, have to retake the class, or leave college altogether.