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Plagiarism

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Plagiarism

Abstract: Plagiarism is theft. There are many forms that plagiarism can take, but the results are the same. Students plagiarize for many reasons, some innocent, some not so much so. Time management and study skills are essential tools to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism can, and should be, avoided on student’s behalf. Plagiarism The world-wide-web is exactly that, world wide. This means there is a veritable plethora of information about anyone or anything you can imagine as well as many websites where students sell their work to others for a small fee. Using these particular sites is not the problem; the fact that most of the time copy and paste are used next is. This is a form of plagiarism or using another’s work as your own. Plagiarism is a widespread problem in universities as well as online. In this essay, we will examine exactly what constitutes plagiarism, why plagiarism happens, and what the consequences of plagiarism can be. A group at the University of Missouri at Columbia School of Journalism says that plagiarism is: “The use of any part of another’s writing and passing it off as your own.”(Shotz, 2008). The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines plagiarism as “to steal and pass off (ideals or words of another) as one’s own: (another production) without crediting the source, present as new and original an ideal or product derived from an existing source.” When a student plagiarizes, he or she takes what someone has put time and effort into and makes it seem like his or her own. Plagiarizing can be applied to many factions such as an artist or songwriter stealing someone else's song or a public speaker stealing someone else's speech. (Shotz, 2008) Regardless of the form plagiarism takes, the definition does not change: Plagiarism is stealing! There are many sources that describe what plagiarism is, but the general consensus is this: “Plagiarism is presenting someone else's work as if it were one’s own, whether that person meant to do it or not. Someone else's work means anything that is not the student’s own idea, even if it is presented in the student’s own style." (Gaines, 2007) Plagiarism is considered a serious crime in the academic world. When it comes to plagiarism, most of us know inherently that it is not ethical to steal someone else’s work. We are taught at home and in school not to do this, yet many students don't know exactly what plagiarism is and how common it has become. There are many reasons as to why a student plagiaries. Some students might be under a great pressure and feel forced by parents or scholarships to get good grades. Instead of pushing themselves to work harder or give credit to the sources he or she uses in use writing the paper, these same students simply just copy. Some students don't have the time to write an "excellent" paper. It is also possible that those same students may believe that their original work might not be good enough. There are some students that don't know what plagiarizing is. On the contrary, there are students that do know plagiarism is wrong, and yet still do it because he or she is too lazy to do the work him or her self. Academic honesty is very important to universities and colleges for many reasons. One reason being a student’s honesty is invested into everything that student does. You know that saying, “Nothing is free”; well consider that with education as well. Education is not free and we need to consider this concept from the beginning. Instructors invest just as much time and effort into students as students invest into the work. Students who plagiarize and steal from another author's work are selling themselves short in the end. Who knows, those students could be our next favorite author? However, since that student plagiarized, he or she is now kicked out of school and the world may miss a great work of literature. “How does the internet play in the role of plagiarism,” you may be wondering? With the vast amount of information on the World Wide Web, each of us, as students, must be very careful to cite the web cite correctly. According to Gaines, the internet has caused plagiarism to reach an all time high in universities and research institutions. (Gaines, 2008). Rules of plagiarism on the internet should be spelled out in plain English so students across the country can understand what constitutes plagiarism on the internet. It has been reported that students have copied sources from the web, so it is very important to address this issue and to educate the students about plagiarism. Many universities are currently using anti-plagiarism software to help professors weed out students that are committing plagiarism. The exam board Edexcel has come up with a gadget to help reduce plagiarism. This gadget inserts “invisible” letters on papers to see if the paper has been photocopied or not. (Education, 2008). Plagiarism is something that should be taken very seriously among writers, especially students. Having anti-plagiarism software installed can and will be able to slow down the copying of others’ work, but careful citing as well will help prevent the spread of plagiarism. When research is conducted on a topic, different authors who wrote on the same topic can be used for a reference. It is highly recommended to consult other authors’ opinions on the topic to be included in the work. The only problem with this recommendation comes when someone copies the work instead of citing properly or paraphrasing to make it his or her own. According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, the definition of paraphrasing is, "To put something written or spoken into different words while retaining the same meaning." So, this is allowed simply because plagiarism does not prohibit rewriting someone else’s ides. Plagiarism prohibits using that idea and not citing the author from which the idea is derived. Paraphrasing is not plagiarizing since it is not an academic crime to use other ideas and thoughts. A simple way to get around plagiarism is to paraphrase the author’s words, making the thought one’s own, and remembering to cite every resource used. (Lyon, 2008) Another easy way to avoid plagiarism is to stay on top of assignment deadlines, making sure to consider time management as a number one priority. Being able to balance time between family, employment, and education means that we can dedicate time to all areas on a schedule. For example, use a calendar to balance time between education and family when necessary. Managing your time also helps you stay ahead of the game by knowing what assignment is due and when. Time management is an essential skill to avoid plagiarism. When a student chooses not to do his or her own work, that student is doing both him or her self and someone else a great disservice. Plagiarizing not only steals from the true author, it steals from classmates that have done the required work. It also robs the student of a chance to shine and show his or her intelligence and original opinions. Turning in someone else’s work is a serious breach of ethics and morality. Personally, I would rather know that my own work is only at a B level than turn in someone else’s. One of these days, the student that has plagiarized his or her way through a degree will have a job. The student’s boss will ask him or her for something. However, since that student did not do the required work in school, he or she will not be able to give the boss what he needs. Not only will the student now look like he or she is inept and incompetent, the student will probably also lose his or her job in the near future. There are ways that schools have developed to detect plagiarism, and are quite serious about it. A student’s grade could be docked or that student could be expelled, depending on the seriousness of the breach. The best way to avoid this whole messy scene is to develop great study skills. (Education, 2008) Studying in high school probably meant that the student studied on the bus on the way to school, or looked over notes on the way between classes. Cramming became a popular pastime. I know that it did for me. The situation is different now. Staying up all night may not be something that the adult student is so keen on. Studying in the car on the way home is not practical (or safe for that matter) and when the student comes home, a spouse and children are begging for attention. Finding what works best, as far as time management and study skills, can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. However, any student needs to find what works best. One way to develop these skills is to ask peers what works for them and develop best practices. If listening to music helps with concentration, grab a set of headphones. If it is absolute quiet that the student needs, send the kids out for ice cream. The point is that once a student finds what works best, he or she should stick with it until the end. One key to studying is time management. Again, we are not in high school anymore. Staying up all night to cram, or to write that last minute paper, means that work will definitely suffer tomorrow. Working ahead is imperative at this point in the student’s life. The same hold true for time management as does for study skills (they go hand in hand); the student has to find what works for him or her. Maybe the student works best at night, so he or she gets some time in after the kids and spouse go to bed. Maybe the student is a morning person and he or she gets up an hour earlier everyday to work on assignments. Either way, the student is working ahead or that can mean the difference between an A or a D and citing properly or being expelled. Studying ahead also gives students the chance to look over their work before submitting it. It helps students avoid accidental plagiarism. It helps students make sure they don’t miss assignments or misunderstand assignments. We all know how fickle internet connections can be, and posting early ensures enough time to get an assignment in without being docked late points. Good time management should be something students aspire to not only to avoid plagiarism, but to maintain sanity as well. When a student gives into temptation and the crime of plagiarism has been committed, there are several consequences to be expected by that student. These consequences will accompany the student through his or her entire educational journey. Consequences can range from a note being kept in personal file or failing the class and course to diminishing any chance of further education in other universities. In the University of Phoenix web page, the plagiarism info in the tutorials and guidelines section of Center for Writing Excellence sets UOP standards for students. The tutorial explains plagiarism, why plagiarism is a crime, how to prevent copying another person’s work, and how to properly cite resources in APA writing style format as well. Also included is an important message with information about the Plagiarism Checker. The Plagiarism Checker is a resource that is used in the sequence of submitting your final paper. Students should first submit their papers to the Plagiarism Checker to be scanned for instances of plagiarism before final submission to the instructor. (Phoenix, 2007) Looking at the consequences of plagiarism and the simple ways to avoid them, why would anyone need to plagiarize? Plagiarism doesn't have to affect our society; there are ways it can be avoided. One way to do so is by citing the sources used, giving credit to the original wirier. Take notes as you write your paper, don't wait until finished and remember all the sources used because it might not be possible. Here are six examples of plagiarism, 1. Direct copying from original sources. 2. Direct copying from original sources, but with footnotes. 3. Rewording a sentence (paraphrasing). 4. Borrowing organization. 5. Submitting someone else's work. 6. Failing to reference/footnote source material. (Smith, 2008) Plagiarism is stealing. It is taking someone's original work and making it seem like your own. Students who fail to find out what plagiarism is or students that know what it is and still do it can find themselves in hot water very quickly Plagiarism is not a laughing matter nor should it be taken lightly. Plagiarism can result in a drastic consequence such as getting kicked out of school with the possibility of not being able to attend another. Therefore, it is important to give credit to the original writer. Some instances of plagiarism are unintentional, because some fail to remember all the sources used, while other instances are very intentional. However, if students are diligent, and adopt good study skills and time management practices, plagiarism does not need to be part of that student’s vocabulary or permanent record.

References Exam board uses James Bond-style gadgets to catch cheats. (2008, May 30). Education (14637073), Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Gaines, Anne Graham. (2008) Don't steal copyright stuff: avoiding plagiarism and illegal internet downloading. Retrieved from ndsl.lib.state.nd.us/New%20Material/NewMaterialsApril2008.pdf

Lyon, A. (2008, Spring2008). Plagiarism: Alchemy and Remedy in Higher Education. Composition Studies, 36(1), 102-105. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Phoenix, University of. (2007) Online tutorial: plagiarism checker. Retrieved from https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/secure/aapd/grammar/plagiarism.asp

Plagiarism: do we really understand it? (Ethics). Andy Schotz. The Quill 96.4 p.28 (1). (823 words) From General OneFile.

Plagiarism, (2008). Retrieved from http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/Plagiarism

Smith, L. (2008, April). Plagiarism rampant among world’s students. Information World Review, Retrieved from Master File Premier database.

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