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Is Using Your Own Paper Plagiarism?

Is using your own paper plagiarism? The answer is no when it’s your own paper that you truthfully did the work on starting from the time the paper was assigned. For example, the professor gave you the following assignment: Write a critical analysis on the use of religion in the Song of Ice and Fire books by George R.R. Martin. If the work you do for this particular paper was done for that assignment only, and proper citations for any quoted and paraphrased material from the books was used, then using that paper is not plagiarism.

Since it is your own paper that you are using for the first time, you are rightfully claiming the credit for it. As long as any sources you use in the paper are properly cited, you can do that. You are not lying to your professor about doing the work.

Now, is reusing your own paper plagiarism? That is a different story. If you are reusing your own paper, but not properly citing yourself as you should be doing (according to the policies of every US college and university), that is plagiarism. If you reuse a paper and present it as new work, you are claiming that you did work that you actually did not do. Therefore, you are guilty of plagiarism.

Even if you use proper citations, you can really only reuse parts of your previous work if your professor allows it, not the entire work. Professors will not accept your paper if it’s just one huge citation. They expect you to use multiple sources, and they want to see your own ideas and words on a topic. They want to see that you are learning what they are teaching in class.

Now, let’s say the paper you are reusing was for a different class the first time you wrote it. This will usually be the case for students who choose to reuse papers. For both classes, the professors had you submit the paper via turnitin.com. When you turn in the paper for a second time, that professor will look at the originality report that’s generated by turnitin.com for your paper, and see the first submission that you made while taking the previous class. The possible academic sanctions you can face include suspension and expulsion.

Let’s look at a pretend scenario involving the reuse of one’s own work:

Samantha is a 3rd year history major at a public university. During her 1st year, she had to take an Introduction to American History course. One of her assignments for that course was to write a five-page essay on an important figure in America during the 1800s. She wrote about Andrew Jackson at that point in time. She submitted the paper to the professor through turnitin.com. She got an A on the paper.

Now, in her 3rd year, Samantha is taking an upper-level course on Slavery in the United States During the 1800s. The professor assigns a ten-page term paper for the course. The topic Samantha chooses is Andrew Jackson’s pro-slavery views and how they might have affected his presidency.

Samantha does a lot of research on the topic, gathering information. She is able to put together a good outline. The professor requires multiple drafts of the paper, and even peer editing. Samantha is able to complete all of those requirements.

However, while working on the final draft of her paper, Samantha realizes that she needs to add more to the paper. Then, she remembers that paper on Andrew Jackson that she wrote during that Intro to American History course that she took. In that paper, she wrote a large section about Andrew Jackson’s slave ownership and how he treated his slaves.

She decides to include that entire section from her previous paper into her term paper. She doesn’t provide a citation for the inclusion. She either does not know any better, or just doesn’t understand why she should have to cite her own work.

She turns her term paper in on the due date to her professor via turnitin.com. When her professor sees the originality report for the paper, she sees that there is a match. That match is the previous paper Samantha wrote on Andrew Jackson during her first year. The professor looks at the comparison between the two documents, and sees that a large section of text from the first year paper was copied verbatim into the term paper. Of course, no citation is there. The professor realizes this is an act of self-plagiarism and files a report.

When Samantha is confronted by the professor about the offense, she acts confused, and states she does not understand how this is plagiarism. After all, it is her own work. The professor explains to her that even though it’s her own work, she is still required to provide a proper citation when she uses it again. She also tells her that she should not have used such a large part of the original paper.

Samantha has to go through the judicial process outlined by the University Academic Integrity policy. But, university officials eventually decide that this was a case of a student who did not know any better, and Samantha was able to remain at the University. On the downside, she got an F on her term paper due to her ignorance. When that F was averaged in with her other grades in class, she was able to pull away with a C. This disappointed her because she prided herself on getting A’s and B’s.

This scenario shows what can happen when a student plagiarizes themselves. If Samantha had just provided a proper citation for her own work, this entire situation could have been avoided. She wouldn’t have had to go through the stress of a University judicial process. She would have probably received an A for the course because her performance on other assignments and tests in the course was excellent.

Reusing your own paper is a bad idea. You should only use your own paper if it’s the first time you’ve turned it in. But, if the assignment for a paper is significantly similar to a paper that you wrote before, you may have a hard time writing it. In that case, the pros at Prescott Papers can help you.

Prescott Papers provides custom papers that are guaranteed to be original. We only use writers with academic and/or professional backgrounds in countless subjects who are based in the US and have English as their primary language. The writer we handpick to write your paper will have expertise in the subject that your paper is about.

No one will ever find out from us that you ordered a custom paper from Prescott Papers. We maintain complete confidentiality on all our orders, even yours. Your professor will consider the paper to be a form of plagiarism if they found out you bought it, due to the fact that you are claiming credit for work that is not actually your own.

You also have unlimited edits and revisions included for free with your order. You can contact us via email to advise us of any changes needed. For example, you can let us know that a citation is missing or that an additional point from your research needs to be included in the paper.

To summarize, using your own paper for the first time ever is not plagiarism. However, if you use it again, and don’t cite yourself properly, then it is plagiarism. The important concept that you need to remember is that you need to properly cite your own work when you are including it in a new paper. To be sure that you are giving your professor the best work possible, you can always turn to Prescott Papers.

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