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Sure - summer, sun, sunshine invites you to spend relaxing hours with friends at the lake instead of busy days in the library. Everyone would like to make the bachelor's thesis a little easier and take over one or two thoughts from foreign scientific work. Whether Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg or Annette Schavan - even high-ranking German politicians have copied from others in their doctoral theses. Even so, it is not a good idea to copy someone else's text without making it clear. Because plagiarism is severely punished: If you are convicted of deception, it not only means that you failed your bachelor thesis. In most cases, the universities punish the attempted deception with a forced de-registration. In the end, a plagiarism only harms you!
But not every student intends to plagiarize his bachelor thesis. There are more and more students who feel insecure and are downright afraid of unconsciously producing plagiarism. The lecturer, the examination office, fellow students or the media: Everywhere you are warned against plagiarism and the consequences are pointed out urgently. Especially those who write their bachelor thesis in biology or a bachelor thesis in chemistry often write their first scientific paper with the bachelor thesis and are therefore particularly unsettled. But when do I actually plagiarize? Which rules have to be observed when writing the bachelor thesis in order to be on the safe side? This post is intended to provide you with important information and tips on the subject of plagiarism.
(We can only warmly recommend our partners at Scribbr for the plagiarism check)
When do I produce my own bachelor thesis and when is it plagiarism?
According to the definition, plagiarism is a scientific work in which one or more text passages have been taken over literally or in the same way without being identified by a quotation. This is known as plagiarism to most students, but there are more to the term. It is also forbidden to cite your own term papers without specifying it as a source or to translate foreign-language texts and to use the translation without reference in the bachelor thesis. Working as a ghostwriter is also considered plagiarism. Of course, it is not only important but necessary to rely on sources in your bachelor thesis, because the bachelor thesis is a scientific work. The texts and findings of other scientists should serve you as a support and starting point for new, own considerations. However, it is extremely important that you not only identify every text passage you have adopted, but also every foreign thought as such. In the case of precisely formulated sentences and innovative insights, one quickly tends to simply adopt them. But intellectual property must be identified as such. And that also applies to foreign-language texts. By translating a text, you do not transform the thoughts presented in the text into your own thoughts; the insights of the other author remain. In addition, it is crucial not only to mark the adopted passages as such, but also to observe the required citation rules. Most chairs prefer a certain style of citation that you should use whenever possible. It is best to find out more from your lecturer or on the homepage of your institute. A wrong citation not only leads to a deduction of points in the evaluation of your bachelor thesis, but in the worst case can also contribute to the production of plagiarism.
A difficult point with regard to plagiarism is the use of so-called "general knowledge" in the bachelor thesis. After all, there is certain knowledge in every subject area that you can mention in your bachelor thesis without indicating the source. However, where this general knowledge begins is sometimes debatable. In general, it can be said that in addition to your own thoughts and the knowledge you have gained, general idioms and statements, as well as sound knowledge in your specialist area are considered general knowledge and do not have to be identified.
How does my supervisor check my bachelor thesis for plagiarism?
On the one hand, your supervisor usually knows the literature in his or her subject very well. If he reads your bachelor thesis, he will already notice catchy passages from research. In addition, the style of the adopted text passages stand out from your own text and can therefore easily be recognized as plagiarism. There is therefore a high probability that one of your two supervisors will identify passages of text that have been adopted. In addition, all universities have so-called plagiarism software with which they systematically examine your bachelor thesis again for plagiarism. The text is analyzed word group by word group and compared with content from the Internet. If suspicious spots are found, these are marked by the software. The software also specifies the appropriate source for the plagiarized text passage. To be on the safe side, you can have a software-based plagiarism check of the bachelor thesis carried out yourself. This is offered by various providers on the Internet.
We can only warmly recommend our partners at Scribbr for the plagiarism check.
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You can find out which sources are suitable for citing your bachelor thesis and how you can give your work individuality in Part 2 of the article!
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