This is the third post in a four-part series discussing how students can avoid plagiarism. In the first two posts, I discussed the importance of maintaining a good paper trail during the research process and citing while you write to ensure proper attribution. The third simple tip to avoid plagiarism and one that students often overlook is to give ideas the same credit as words.
If there is ever an instance when you agree strongly with another person’s idea you should always cite them as a source and then comment or expand on that idea. The definition of plagiarism based on the Apple dictionary is: “the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own.” Many people often forget that it is not only the copying of work but also passing off someone else’s idea as your own that is considered plagiarism.
I know that there appears to only be a limited amount of ideas out there but oftentimes by using someone else’s idea as an initial foothold and properly attributing the idea to its owner, it allows you to climb to a higher level of thought and analysis.