Have you been accused of plagiarism? If so, then it can be a frightening time for you. What you’ll need to do and not do will depend on several factors. The first thing to keep in mind, though, is not to panic. It’s not the end of the world, and you will figure out a way to set things right and get through it.
Check Your Work
Let’s say that you are a student and it is a professor who is accusing you. We will also assume that you did not intentionally plagiarize any other author. If that’s the case, then the first thing you’ll want to do is to use an online plagiarism detector. Teachers use them too, so if any fraction or significant portion of your work gets flagged, then you will know why it is that the professor singled you out.
Talk to the Teacher
It is probable that your reputation as a student can be a tool to get you out of the hot water in which you find yourself. If you have been in high school or college for several years, and you have a reputation as a diligent student, then you should be able to fall back on that. If you can get other professors to stand up for you and vouch for your character, then perhaps the professor who accused you will understand that although your thoughts or ideas are similar to a previously published work, the resemblance is incidental. As long as none of the sections are identical, you should be able to prove your innocence.
Don’t Lose Your Temper
What happened might be upsetting if you did not plagiarize anything or anyone. The last thing that you want to do, though, is fly off the handle and say or do anything that you are going to regret. There is no reason to assume that the professor has it in for you or that there is something malicious going on. Try to be patient and even-tempered, and you have the best chance of things working out satisfactorily.
Bring in an Intermediary
If it is possible to do so, you can take the case up the chain of command. That might involve someone like the dean of students or whoever is in charge further up in the administration. If you’re innocent, then you should be able to plead your case successfully. Again, without actual sections of the same text, it will be hard to prove plagiarism against you.
Present Evidence of Your Innocence
If it seems that your work is very similar to someone else’s, then you can help your case if you can produce notes, rough drafts, or anything else that proves that you attempted to write the paper on your own. It would be difficult to fabricate such evidence in a short period, so if you can produce it immediately, it will help your cause.
Regardless of whether you are a student or if you are a published author in the academic world who is accused of plagiarism, it’s never going to be a fun experience for you. You can reach out to Duffy Law or another law firm if you feel that you are in need of legal help. Competent legal representation is always going to be good to have in such a circumstance.