Plagiarism occurs in many forms. Self-plagiarism and inadvertent plagiarism are two forms of plagiarism. Students plagiarize for many reasons. Self-plagiarism is a form of plagiarism that is difficult to detect and often over looked. Inadvertent plagiarism is often caused by sloppy work and poor citation preparation skills. Proper education and practicing citations along with the use of online tools will assist the student in preparing citations.
Self-plagiarism is perhaps one of the most common but most overlooked forms of plagiarism. Simply put, "self-plagiarism involves the handing in of the same work for more than one assignment" (MacDonell, 2005). While the authorities on plagiarism might agree that the line between self-plagiarism and the legitimate recycling of one's own academic writing is thin, MacDonell (2005) says it best when she describes self-plagiarism as the reuse of a student's work to get credit for the same work more than once. Just as with more well known forms of plagiarism, if a student is restating common facts or an opinion that he or she held in a previous piece of academic writing it can hardly be considered self-plagiarism. However, if a student re-uses substantial portions of a previous paper, even with changes in wording or formatting, proper citations should be used that reference the original paper. As Collberg (2003) puts it, self-plagiarism is often overlooked in light of other, more obvious forms of academic dishonesty. This is easily explained from a common sense perspective. More deliberate forms of plagiarism, such as cut-and-paste plagiarism, are easy to detect through readily available detection services such as turnitin.com. Self-plagiarism on the other hand is much harder to detect because oftentimes a student's own work is not published material. There are various self-plagiarism detection systems under development at...