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Plagiarism: The Illegal Recycling Of Information

1433 words - 6 pages

Plagiarism: The Illegal Recycling of Information

Plagiarism is defined as using others people’s ideas, writings, and quotes without giving credit to the author by citing the material in the paper. Plagiarism can come from copying many things including charts, graphs, text, and music. Even paraphrasing an author’s work without citing it can be considered plagiarism. Plagiarism certainly has been around long before the first research project was assigned. One of the most famous scientists Gregor Mendel had his work plagiarized by another scientist Hugo de Vries in the 19th century.[1] Mendel had come up with breakthroughs in genetics, but no one realized what he had accomplished. Later in the early 1900’s, de Vries published a paper with very similar to Medel’s work. It was not realized until a third scientist Carl Correns was doing some similar experiments and read the works of both Mendel and de Vries. In his paper, he gave credit to Mendel and discredited de Vries’ work.[2]

The problem of plagiarism has increased drastically over the years with all of the new electronic sources. Now, all that the student has to do is to copy an article, highlight it and paste it into a word processing program. It was not much harder for a student to plagiarize before the Internet. A lazy student could easily copy an entire section out of a book word for word and conveniently “forget” to cite the reference from which it came. It would take the professor forever to find this source especially if it was not well known. With just some quick manipulating of words, professors can be tricked into believing that they are looking at a new original work.

There are several reasons why students plagiarize documents according to Robert Harris’s article “Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers.” He believes that one reason is that “students are interested in the shortest route possible through a course.”[3] Plagiarism is a definite shortcut over researching a topic and writing a whole paper. Students now have the ability to cut and paste sections of an article, or they can purchase a term paper on-line. He also believes that they plagiarize because they “are faced with too many choices, so they put off low priorities.”[4] If a student has a lot of things to do, they will not spend much time on the things that have a low priority or things that are considered boring. He also points out that a big reason for plagiarism is that “many students have poor time management and planning skills.”[5] If the student waits until the last minute to write a paper, they may not have enough time to completely research topic. Other students plagiarize because they “fear that their writing ability is inadequate.”[6] If the student does not believe that they have the ability to do good work, they may think that the only chance to get a good grade is to cheat.

Students can find area to plagiarize in...

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