Plagiarism is defined as: to steam and pass off the ideas or words of another as one’s own. To use another’s production without crediting the source. To commit literary theft. To present as new and original an idea or product from an existing source (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary).
Why Students Plagiarize
Plagiarism occurs among College students for many reasons. Creating a well written research paper, book review, etc. takes a lot of time and discipline. Many students do not manage their time very well and find themselves facing a quickly approaching deadline. Under the pressure of time, students look for quick fixes such as “copy and paste’ techniques which can lead to plagiarism. In other situations, students simply fail to take proper notes that include quotes, paraphrases and the proper citations. Lack of confidence in their own writing skills can lead some students to borrow information from other sources because they feel that they are unable to come up with original thoughts and ideas. Failing to learn how to use proper citation can cause a lot of confusion during the writing process. This confusion causes many students to use improper citation, which can be viewed as plagiarism.
Intentional vs. Unintentional
Many of the reasons for plagiarism already discussed are examples of “unintentional” plagiarism. Most students do not plan to plagiarize but they are often overwhelmed by deadlines and multiple assignments. This leads them to look for a quick way to meet the demands so they quickly put together an assignment and fail to cite their sources properly. Also as mentioned, some students do not understand how to use proper citation so they commit plagiarism without intending to do so. However, students who do not m...
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Plagiarism is an issue that should be taken serious by all students. Although, most cases of plagiarism are unintentional, most are easily avoided. Students can avoid making mistakes that lead to plagiarism by managing their time well, taking good notes that include all the bibliographical information from the source, asking questions when in doubt and following the writing guidelines of their given field, such as those of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Plagiarism prevention for students (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2011, from http://library.csusm.edu/plagiarism/
PlagiarismdotORG (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2011, from http://www.plagiarism.org
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