Get Rid Of Plagiarism
A very serious ethical issue which all potential PhD scholars must avoid is that of plagiarism. Plagiarism essentially refers to the practice of passing someone else’s work or ideas as one’s own. It entails not attributing your sources or giving credit when it is due.
In the course of your research, you will come across several ideas which will appear new and original to you. These ideas may enhance and enrich your own research project. It is extremely crucial for you as a scholar to cite these sources. Do not fear of over-citing. When you cite numerous sources, it shows your reading has been broad-based and extensive. Further, it shows your inclination to be ethical.
You might argue that that an idea might occur to you originally. When it does, then expand on it by all means. However, do make sure you attribute each of those sources which caused you to think about your original ideas in the first place. Commonly known facts need not be attributed.
Many students feel they can pass off someone else’s ideas as their own. However, your supervisor is far more well-read than you and has been much more closely exposed to the literature. Hence he or she is likely to know when you try to claim credit for an idea or argument which is not your own. Plagiarism is treated very seriously by all universities. In most cases of plagiarism, students are severely penalized or not even permitted to finish their PhDs. Students will want to avoid such situations and hence should not take the short-cut of plagiarism which will likely land them in a serious situation.
In order to avoid plagiarism, make sure to organize your research systematically. When you are reading, you will certainly draw upon the inputs of other scholars. Make a note of the names of the books, journals, essays, articles etc you are referring to for your research. When you decide to use an input, immediately jot down the source. This includes name of the publication, the author, year and place of publication. There are formal methods of citation and referencing such as APA, Chicago, MLA, Turabian and others. Read up on each of these referencing styles and see which suits your research the best.
Even if you are paraphrasing somebody’s argument, you will still need to attribute the source for that argument. Remember, that in order to turn in a good research project, you will have to do your due diligence and rigor. You will need to spend at least some amount of time, in which you only prepare your references. Even if a hint of suspicion arises that a certain idea in your thesis, for which you have not provided a citation, is not yours might create a great deal of trouble for you. Thus the best route is to be extremely diligent in your citing of sources. The ‘cut copy paste’ method, obviously, will not do and most scholars do not even attempt it. Doing a research project implies a certain amount of integrity which all scholars must demonstrate.