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The case focuses on professor Deepak Pental who, prior to this past week, was best known as a noted research and former vice-chancellor at Delhi University (DU) between 2005 and 2010. However, according to another professor at the university, Professor P. Pardha Saradhi, at least some of that research is based upon plagiarism.

The case focuses on professor Deepak Pental who, prior to this past week, was best known as a noted research and former vice-chancellor at Delhi University (DU) between 2005 and 2010. However, according to another professor at the university, Professor P. Pardha Saradhi, at least some of that research is based upon plagiarism.

According to Saradhi, between 1995 and 1999, he and a team were working on genetically modifying Indian Mustard. In the next year, 2000, a PhD student working under Saradhi, KVSK Prasad, was appointed by Pental to work at DU on a similar project. Saradhi then rejoined DU in 2001 and, in 2004, became aware of what he felt was plagiarism.

 

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Undergraduate at Montana State University uses plagiarism checker every semester to receive feedback on citations and to increase confidence in her papers that "everything is spot on" Featuring: Diann Quaranto, undergraduate at Montana State University pursuing a liberal arts degree

See why Diann takes the extra step to check her papers:

Straight “A” Student Uses Plagiarism Checker to Avoid Mistakes| Writecheck from Turnitin on Vimeo.

Read along:

K: What’s your area of study and what’s the official name of the institution and for what degree?

D: It’s a bachelor’s degree, a liberal arts degree. Montana State University at Bozeman. I just finished the first year. When you do a lot of online study programs, there’s a lot of writing.

K: Do you use WriteCheck because you wanted to improve as a writer or to ensure that you aren’t plagiarizing or you have seen plagiarism at your school? What was it that drew you to WriteCheck?

D: Well, the thing that drew me in was the plagiarism issue, and the paraphrasing check. One professor I just finished up with this past spring was huge on (avoiding) plagiarism and there were a lot of people in the class whose work was on the verge of plagiarism. So, I used WriteCheck in order to insure myself. I didn’t want to put all this work into these papers and then somebody comes back and says, “that’s plagiarized.”

K: What would you say to people who don’t think plagiarism is an issue?

D: Yes, it is an issue. I see plagiarism as an issue because everything has advanced so much, there’s so much writing out there. I honestly think it is foolish not to use a service like this. If I can be confident that everything is spot on, that’s worth the money. I don’t like plagiarism because it’s very important that people’s ideas are documented to the people that came up with those ideas. You can accidentally plagiarize. So, my point is, why wouldn’t you do the smart thing and run your papers through and check it out. The $7 was worth the peace of mind to know that that paper was 100% in my words. And believe it or not, I ran it through the system and it came back with one small error–and it just on sentence structure. No plagiarism whatsoever. And I ended up with an A.

D: I think WriteCheck is an entirely useful service, and a good value. I thought it came back with excellent feedback. By the way, I got A’s on all those papers. I just wanted to be sure (that I hadn’t made any mistakes), so that’s why I used it. Now this semester coming up, it’ll be the first place I go when I finish them (papers) up.

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Knowing how to check an essay for plagiarism is crucial for the college student. Even if a student believes that he or she has cited, paraphrased, quoted, and referenced properly, problems can occur. If too many mistakes are made in any or all of these areas, text in a paper may be technically plagiarized.

Cite Properly

Citing properly entails checking your educational institution’s writing style guidelines (APA, ML, etc.) for citation writing instructions. Follow these rules closely. Every time another’s idea is used in the essay, a citation is needed.

Paraphrase Correctly

Paraphrasing can be time-consuming, but a student must put information or ideas found from any source into his or her own words and cite the source. Copying the words verbatim is plagiarism. This exercise also helps students understand the material that they are including in their essay. Checking an essay to ensure that ideas are paraphrased and cited correctly are crucial aspects in knowing how to check an essay for plagiarism.

Insert Quotes -- And Don't Over-Quote

Quoting is another area of concern. When using the exact words of another author, three or more words, quotation marks must be included around those words. Again, a citation is needed after a direct quote. Another issue in knowing how to check a paper for plagiarism is not using too many quotes. Each educational institution or instructor should share how much quoted information is acceptable.

Reference Accurately

References are essential defenses against plagiarism. Each citation used in an essay must be supported by a reference. As with citations, references and the reference page require a specific format. A student needs to check that each citation used in his or her essay has a reference on the reference page.

Use a Plagiarism Checker

Another way to check an essay for plagiarism and to confirm that all of the essential areas have been completed properly is to use plagiarism checker software. WriteCheck plagiarism checker is available online and convenient to use, and includes a grammar check. Or using Turnitin through a school or university is equally effective. With both options, after submitting a paper, the student receives a report that includes a similarity index percentage. The index shows three types of sources: internet, publications, and student papers. Each area that shows similarity is highlighted to show with what type of source the similarity exists. Many students find that running their papers through plagiarism checker software provides  peace of mind that they haven't made any inadvertent writing mistakes.

Knowing how to check an essay for plagiarism is vital for the college student. Checking the key areas of citing, paraphrasing, quoting, and referencing can help to safeguard against plagiarism. Using plagiarism checker software can also ensure that the essay includes original material and is free of plagiarism.

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A Master’s degree student’s journey to understanding plagiarism through the help of online plagiarism checker software, and her rise to the Dean’s List and Honor Society

Featuring: Theresa Moore: Kindergarten teacher finishing up her Master’s degree at Ashford University

Watch this short video of Ms. Moore's story:

Plagiarism: Learning the Hard Way | WriteCheck from Turnitin on Vimeo.

Read along:

“When I first started out in my Associate degree program, I had no idea what plagiarism was. There was a fine line between saying what was someone else’s work and wording that information into your own words. I just did not get it and I was told that I was plagiarizing a paper. I could not understand because I only used three or four words from where I had seen the information written before. I reworded the paper to what I understood, but by even using three or four words from someone else’s work is considered plagiarism. I had to learn the hard way and by learning the hard way, my class was given a zero. That right there woke me up and got me into reading and looking at programs to help me.

WriteCheck by Turnitin helped me to see where my mistakes where. It was like a light bulb came on and I had an epiphany, and I knew how to read a paragraph or statement and not use any of the author’s work or his words or their words, but use my own and have my own identity in my writing.

Now I really understand the value of somebody’s work. I understand when students say, ‘I’m crunched and I don’t have time and I have to cook and I have to pay bills and I’ve got to get off work and I’ve got to do a paper and they want to take shortcuts. We’ve all been there but it’s just not worth it in the end.

Everything I do comes through this website and the amount of money that I pay for a paper to be reviewed is priceless. It is worth every penny, especially when I come out and I am on the Deans List and Honor Society. I was not on the Honors Society until I started using this website and throughout my Bachelor’s program, I have remained on academic honors the complete time.

I trust it. I trust the whole system. Since the grammatical component has been added….let's just say that in my Masters program and probably into my PhD, I will be using WriteCheck.”

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What is the second biggest writing mistake that students make when writing an essay? Educator Summer Dittmer says punctuation! In this video, Ms. Dittmer reviews the difference between colons and semicolons.

About the Writing No-No video series: Ms. Dittmer created a series of videos based on her experiences in helping students and adults learn how to improve their writing skills. These videos provide quick yet valuable lessons on what NOT to do when writing an academic paper.

Also watch the #1 Writing No-No: Never using 1st or 2nd person.

Watch the video (2:14):

Punctuation: How to use colons and semicolons | WriteCheck from Turnitin on Vimeo.

Read along:

The Misused Semicolon

The #2 Writing No-No is incorrect punctuation. In this video, I will specifically address the semicolon. So what, exactly is a semicolon? Let’s talk specifically about the semicolon.

A semicolon is used to join two independent clauses. Have I already lost you?  Don’t fret- independent clauses are also known as complete sentences; because they are independent- they can stand alone. Many writers use semicolons instead of conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet). Keep in mind, writers use them because the ideas that they are connecting are closely related, therefore they flow well.

Sarah loves to read and books are her best friends.

Sarah loves to read; books are her best friends.

I always tell my students that when they use a semicolon between two independent clauses, then those independent clauses must be given equal position or even an equal right. Neither is more important than the other; it just helps the flow. Let’s look at an example:

Johnny got an A in math; he is a human calculator.

See how it helps the flow of two related ideas with equal value. You would never write:

Johnny got an A in math; he just purchased a washing machine.

Let’s also take a quick look at where students go wrong. The most common error is using a semicolon where a colon should be used.  Colons are used to introduce something to the reader or to join two things of unequal weight. The independent clause can be followed by a dependent clause (also known as a fragment).  This brings me to the second most common misuse of a semicolon-students use it with one independent clause and one dependent clause, as shown in this example.

Example:  Rashad tasted the lemonade; too bitter.  INCORRECT

Rashad tasted the lemonade: too bitter.  CORRECT!

Or

There were three types of ice cream; chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. INCORRECT

There were three types of ice cream: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. CORRECT

Here’s a helpful hint: if you can’t remember which one to use, a colon or a semicolon, keep in mind, the SEmicolon connects two complete SEntences; they both begin with SE.

Thanks for listening, and good luck with your writing! Stay tuned for my next Writing No-No.

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Writing Tip #17: Avoiding Plagiarism: Citing

This is how you legally use someone else’s material in your papers. Students make such a big deal out of citing, but it’s an easy process that covers your behind and makes you look smart! The rules are that you must cite after you have paraphrased and after you have used quotes. Cite after each sentence in which you have used another’s idea(s).

If you have made conclusions based on what you have read from the material that you are citing, you do not have to cite that material. Those ideas are yours, and perhaps someone will need to cite you one day! Remember that your professor most likely has access to plagiarism detection software, so don’t take the chance. You are a scholar!

Check your institution’s chosen document formatting style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) for exact guidelines. Usually, citing only entails the author (s) name(s), year of publication, and page or paragraph number for quotes. Why put yourself through the embarrassment and punishment of plagiarism accusations when citing is simple?!

An example of a (paraphrased) citation in APA format is:

“Research shows that the two theorists are correct in their assertions (Simon, 2012).”

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What are the biggest writing mistakes that students make? Educator Summer Dittmer has put together a series of videos, based on her experiences in helping students and adults learn how to improve their writing skills. These videos provide quick yet valuable lessons on what NOT to do when writing an academic paper.

First up: never use 1st or 2nd person.

Watch the video (2:29):

Or read along:

The #1 Writing No-No is to never use 1st or 2nd person.

Why? In academic writing, it’s important to avoid personal bias.  Using “I” or “we” makes the essay about you and your experiences, instead of research and concrete details.

Before I give examples, let’s review the 1st person. 1st person uses I or We, as in “I am upset” and “We ran away.” Also stay away from using me, us, my, mine or ours.

Let’s also take a quick look at 2nd person. Second person uses you and your. When you use 2nd person point of view, you are directly addressing the reader, kind of like I am doing right now.  While this is okay when writing a personal letter, it is not okay in formal writing, especially essays or research papers.  Avoid using this pronoun at all costs because you never want to communicate directly with the reader.

Students often ask, “How can I use a hypothetical question as a hook to begin my essay if I can’t even use YOU?”  My answer is simple: you never want to use a hypothetical question in an essay either. An academic…aka YOU, who uses 2nd person, has not only written too informally, but he or she has also missed the target audience.  YOU indicates that you’re writing for the teacher only, but in an analysis or even just a book report, the student is writing for a broad audience.

My basic rule is this: First is the Worst...Second’s not the Best...Third is the Way You Can Pass the Test.

Let’s apply this rule to a few examples:

  • Instead of “I cannot believe how much tuition has increased,” try, “Tuition has drastically increased.”
  • Instead of “Don’t text while you drive,” try, “Don’t text and drive.”

Students are so used to using I, my, we, you and your, that they have a hard time weeding them out of their papers.  So, here is my tip of the day: Every writing program, like Microsoft Word, has a search function. Do a simple word search for each of the ones listed here [show visual of word list].  Once you see them, shift your point of view.

Thanks for listening, and good luck with your writing! Stay tuned for my next Writing No-No.

Brought to you by WriteCheck, plagiarism checker software. www.writecheck.com

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