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 manage their time well are sometimes willing to do whatever it takes to complete the assignment. They copy sections from other sources and piece it into their own works with the hopes that it will not be discovered. Some students go as far as stealing or buying papers that were written by someone else and presenting it as their own. This of course is intentional plagiarism which is a very serious offense. Although plagiarism can be “unintentional”, it is still a serious offense because it is easily avoided.
Importance of Citing
The use of proper citation is important to prevent the writer from committing plagiarism. It also shows that the work or the idea actually came from a different source and gives credit where it is deserved. By citing all the sources used, the writer also shows how much research was done on the topic. The citations also help others who are interested in finding more information on the topic presented in the paper.
Knowing when to cite is sometimes unclear, so students should remember that any time they express an idea that is not their own, they must give credit to the original source. These ideas or information can be expressed through exact quotation, paraphrasing or a combination of both but...