PLAGIARISM & THE ESSAY
Plagiarism is a serious academic offense, one which is far too prevalent in today’s academic environment. The penalties range from failing a class to expulsion from school. At The Paper Experts, plagiarism can result in loss of pay for a paper or dismissal from the company’s pool of writers. Nevertheless, many writers have discovered that internet-based sources have made it easy to “cut and paste” material into their own work, and too often they fail to properly document this material, resulting in plagiarism. Often this occurs accidentally through carelessness or mistakes. The key to understanding how plagiarism happens and how to avoid it is to understand the philosophy of writing and what makes an academic paper an essay.
What is an Essay?
Because academic essays involve using other people’s research, ideas, and opinions to support and defend the writer’s own thesis, many writers believe an essay simply assembles these outside sources. Too often, papers read like a series of quotations glued together with transition words like “additionally” or “in contrast.” This is not a real essay. This mistaken idea about what an essay is makes it easy to plagiarize because the writer is doing very little thinking or writing by him- or herself.
A true academic essay develops a strong thesis statement in its introduction and spends the rest of the essay supporting and defending that thesis, both through the use of facts, ideas, and information from outside sources and, more importantly, through the writer’s own analysis and discussion of those outside sources. Remember that in an academic paper, the analysis and discussion is the most important part of the essay. This is where you the writer show the client and your readers that you understand the sources you have assembled and that you understand the assignment the client has given you. Anyone can glue together quotations to make other people tell a story. A real writer integrates those...