In order to be a good writer, a person must have a repertoire of original words. It is more imperative now than ever, for writers to be able to have originality in their writings. They also must be able to use citations appropriately or they could be accused of plagiarism. This paper will discuss several different issues regarding plagiarism. These issues include:
1. The definition of plagiarism and why students plagiarize.
2. Intentional vs. unintentional plagiarism
3. The importance of citing with specific examples of improper citation and why it is considered plagiarism.
4. Discussion on citing, direct quoting, paraphrasing and expressing another’s ideas.
5. Definition of common knowledge and whether it is better to over-cite or under-cite.
According to Plagiarism.org, (as cited in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary) plagiarism meaning is, “to steal 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; and to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source (“What is plagiarism?”, n.d. ).
Part of the definition gives an answer to some of the reasons why students plagiarize. The portion that states, “Without crediting the source,” is what gets a lot of students in trouble. They don’t start off using another’s words, but improper citing leaves the impression that they are committing plagiarism.
Using another person’s words is one reason that students plagiarize. Other reasons students plagiarize according to Plagarism.org, is because of deadlines, overwhelming assignments, and sometimes the boundaries between plagiarism and research are unclear (“What is plagiarism?”, n.d.).
All students don’t plagiarize intentionally, but serious consequences can still occur and students can be suspended from school. Baylor School.org states the definition of intentional and unintentional plagiarism as, “Intentional Plagiarism occurs when writers or researchers know full well they are passing off someone else’s words or ideas as their own.” “Unintentional Plagiarism occurs when writers and researchers use the words or ideas of others but fail to quote or give credit, perhaps because they don’t know how.” Whether a teacher judges an instance of plagiarism as intentional or unintentional depends on three factors: the age of the student, the nature of the offense, and the scope of the offense (Intentional . . . n.d.). The difference is looked at in the level of knowledge and experience of the individual. On the Baylor School.org website it states, “A freshman or sophomore with little research experience might argue successfully that poor paraphrasing (for example) was unintentional—the student simply did not know better” (Intentional . . . n.d.). Students in a graduate program would be held to a higher standard, and poor paraphrasing would be seen as intentional plagiarism. Whether intentional or unintentional,...