Ever wondered why students plagiarize? If you are a student or work in a field that involves sharing or using information from research, you might have come across the word “plagiarism”. Even or if you have never come across it you might be a victim of this act. Join us as we delve into the concept of plagiarism, why it is done and how it can be avoided.
What Is Plagiarism?
People often take plagiarism as merely copying someone else’s work or idea. The act actually goes beyond that. Per the Merriam Webster Dictionary, plagiarism involves any of the following:
- to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : use (another’s production) without crediting the source
- to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
What Motivates Students To Plagiarize?
Students turn to plagiarism for several key reasons. These motives, though different, drive them to commit this academic offense. A few of them are:
- Some students lack motivation to complete assignments. This might stem from a belief that their education lacks value or that the task is insignificant. In essence, they might not see the importance of proper citation, often seeing it as unimportant.
- On the opposite end of the spectrum, fear plays a significant role. Students feel immense pressure to excel, whether due to scholarships, job prospects, or maintaining their academic standing. Those who doubt their writing skills may resort to plagiarism, as it offers a chance to pass when failure seems imminent.
- In some cases, students plagiarize due to a lack of necessary resources, such as time, energy, or access to vital materials. Poor time management contributes to this problem, but external factors like work or family responsibilities can also hinder completion of assignments.
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How To Avoid Plagiarism: Best Practices
There are some good tips from a research guide from Lowa State University students can make use of. To prevent plagiarism, follow these crucial steps:
1. Don’t Procrastinate: Begin research and assignments early to avoid rushing and making careless mistakes.
2. Commit to Your Work: Seek help when needed, and don’t resort to copying or group work unless it’s allowed.
3. Organize Your Notes: Clearly differentiate your own ideas from external sources in your notes.
4. Cite Sources: Always acknowledge the sources of information, whether from books, articles, or websites. Use quotes for verbatim text.
5. Master Paraphrasing: Understand that good paraphrasing involves using your own words to summarize a source’s content, while crediting the original source.
In conclusion, plagiarism is driven by a complex interplay of motives. It can be combated through proactive measures such as early planning, clear understanding of assignments, and diligent note-taking. By following these guidelines, students can avoid the pitfalls of academic dishonesty.
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