How Much Plagiarism is Allowed in Research Paper

How Much Plagiarism is Allowed in Research Paper

There is no point in asking your teacher, “When is plagiarism acceptable?” because the chances are higher than ever that they will say that it is completely banned. When it comes to the academic environment, plagiarism is a true scandal of the neighborhood, so you shouldn’t even think about a tiny possibility to simplify your life in this way. However, as you might have guessed, things are not that simple. Even though you cannot just ‘borrow’ someone’s ideas and pretend they are yours, you can use them as a background for further research. You must be just extraordinarily careful with that because if you overdo it with paraphrasing, not to mention copy-pasting, you will be blamed for cheating. There is such a concept as plagiarism percentage, which defines the uniqueness of your paper and affects your grades. If you want to be a straight-A student, you should stay within the limit.

How Do Students Plagiarize?

Sometimes students are busy with various things, so they don’t have time to work on their assignments properly. While some turn to specialized writing services in such a case, others decide on cheating. The most desperate ones who are short on time just copy suitable material and maybe change some words to make it more unique. However, such a trick doesn’t work out because modern technologies allow professors to check your paper for plagiarism in a matter of seconds. Another category of students who don’t ask themselves the question, “What percentage of similarity is considered plagiarism?” copy their roommates' assignments, changing nothing in them. Can they be blamed for cheating in such a case? Apparently. In general, there are four common types of plagiarism out there:

  • direct plagiarism;
  • self-plagiarism;
  • mosaic plagiarism;
  • accidental plagiarism.

You may believe that one cannot talk about plagiarism consequences if you use your own ideas and phrases mentioned in another work. However, it doesn’t matter what type of cheating your paper belongs to. If you want to incorporate old thoughts in a new essay, you should inform your audience about that by following citation rules.

What Percent Is Considered Plagiarism?

Various academic institutions have their own norms about how much plagiarism is acceptable and utilize special plagiarism checkers to find the percentage. Thus, it is hard to provide a definite answer to the question, “What is an acceptable amount of plagiarism?”. For example, someone says that a match of 15% may be acceptable if you have cited all the sources correctly. But, on the other hand, a match of 5% or less may show that you haven’t done deep research, and your paper lacks quotes to support your arguments. Thus, it is a two-edged sword.

How to Avoid Excessive Plagiarism

As you have already got, the answer to the question, “How much plagiarism is allowed in a research paper?” can be about quite a big percentage if you do everything right. Thus, if you use someone’s thoughts, you should properly rewrite the text. It shouldn’t be about using synonyms or deleting a few words. You should fill the paper with your ideas, conclusions, and emotions or cite the sources correctly. Otherwise, you will get a poor grade at best or be dismissed from college in the worst case. Your paper should reflect your position, ideas, and stuff. If you like someone’s point of view and want to involve it in your paper, just mention the author, following all citation rules, and don’t forget about creating a reference list. In other words, plagiarism percentage is more about how honest you are in using someone’s intellectual property.