In every student’s life, there comes a time when they flatter everyone with a perfect project, but then the class changes and you get a new project. Unfortunately, you’re still stuck on the previous project, its structure, content, presentation and how it had the wow factor.
These thoughts lead you to follow the same steps and make a second version of the previous project. But, remember self-plagiarism is a term well-defined and recognized as you are still copying work, even if it’s yours. In a nutshell, if it’s not something new, it is plagiarized.
How Are You Plagiarizing Yourself?
You must be confused about the fact that why you cannot use your own work twice? See it as a reader because in this case your teacher or professor is the official reader. Observe this act from your teacher’s perspective and how she/he would react to assess the same kind of project the next year.
Understand it’s a ‘new project’ for a reason, as it demands more creativity, new examples and above all, fresh content. By plagiarizing your content, you are not only affecting your grades but also contributing to internet crime.
Moreover, if there is any specific quote or statement that you originally wrote in the previous project and now you want to use it in the new project, it is essential to mention a reference. Otherwise, you are again engaging in plagiarism.
How to Avoid Self-Plagiarism?
We know that self-plagiarism is a difficult concept but avoiding it is easy and gets easier with time and practice.
Here are some ways you as a student can avoid self-plagiarism.
- Remember not to submit the same work/assignment to a couple of teachers. This way, you are defying your teacher, contributing to degradation and most importantly, you are not learning anything new.
- Review and study your previous projects, and then create pointers of what you don’t have to include in your recent project. Doing this before starting a new project can save you from the risk of self-plagiarism.
- It is important to let you know that copying a few lines and words from your previous project would also contribute to self-plagiarism. For avoiding this, just read your work and try to rephrase the sentences you want to include from your previous project.
- Moreover, if you think your previous content goes well or fits with the existing topic, and you are out of ideas and can’t find any other relevant content, discuss this with your teacher or professor. If he/she is okay with you including your previous content, it won’t be a problem. After all, the sole purpose of writing is pleasing to potential readers.
- To make sure your content is authentic and completely original, it would be beneficial for you to use a free plagiarism checker. Various plagiarism checkers applications are present online. Some are free; others charge you a minimal amount on a monthly basis. But, if that application is saving you from any harmful accusations, spending a little money won’t cause any harm.
What Are The Consequences Of Self-Plagiarism?
At a student level, plagiarism won’t really cost you much, but it is important to learn about the plagiarism policy at your educational institution.
As recent studies show, most universities and colleges have a serious policy against plagiarism even on an education level, as it still proves that you are dishonest. If early punishments are not set, later on in life, you will struggle on a professional level where there is no space for a second chance.
Some of the university/college measures against plagiarism include detention for a week/month or straight zero on the plagiarized assignment. Major measures include the accused student getting expelled or worse, his/her permanent suspension.
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A major consequence of self-plagiarism at a student level, such as, if you’re working on a story, article or essay and it turns out to be plagiarized from an assignment you did before, is that the publisher might just delay the publication and in some cases, even just straight away cancel it.
So, before you take this ride, remember to clear all the hurdles even if you take a week to proofread what you write. At least, in the end, you will be satisfied and come out safe.
It might take time for you to fully understand this mind-boggling concept, but as soon as you do, you’ll enjoy writing every single article assigned to you. Plus, this concept will help you become self-aware and contribute to your knowledge as you will be searching for new information for each assignment.
Remember, your readers (teacher/professors) are only excited to learn about your upcoming project because they expect it to have fresh content that is even more interesting than the previous one. But, if you serve the same content, they will soon lose interest and might grade you less, which is one thing no student would want.