Plagiarism is legally and ethically wrong. Plagiarism is cheating, stealing, and dishonesty. Student should not plagiarize because it is morally wrong, whether it is performed unintentionally or intentionally. When someone plagiarizes, he/she is cheating and may not learn anything by copying someone else’s work, and it is morally wrong to steal someone else’s work.
What is plagiarism?
According to Webster Online dictionary “Plagiarism is to steal someone else’s work and pass it as your own idea, and thought. It is an act of fraud to steal someone ideas and lies about it.” (Springfield, 1981) (Plagiarism, 2009) Plagiarism is cheating; when one is copying someone else’s work without given proper credit, it is cheating. However, there are many other forms of plagiarism, such as failing to put required quotation marks, giving incorrect/false information about someone else’s sources, changing words, and copying someone’s sentences and stating them as your own. However, there are a few ways to use others’ thoughts and ideas without plagiarism.
For instance, if someone uses someone’s word for word from books, articles, internet, or any other sources, he/she must give credit to it. On the other hand, if others read someone’s paper for review, one should make sure that they might not add any new information to it. Adding other information to the paper without writer’s knowledge might result in plagiarism. To be sure that my paper is not plagiarized, it is very important that every thoughts and ideas taken from someone else should be credited in the paper with the help of in-text citations and references.
I understand that this is really important for a student to avoid plagiarism, and one should try to avoid it as much as possible by using guides and proper citations that may distinguish own words with statements of other authors. In this regard, it should be made sure that readers may know the source of information. Provision of such information to the readers is very important, as such practice tells readers about information that belongs to the writer and information that has been borrowed. It is always important to show the readers what information is your own knowledge. Writing while using personal knowledge is the best way to write your paper, so you can avoid plagiarism.
The Concept of Plagiarism
Best free plagiarism checker is the same as stealing, and so, it is wrong. In addition, it is corruption of academic life, and therefore, we should do whatever we can do to eliminate it. We must not allow corrupting students in our school systems. We need well-educated role models to educate the future generations. Besides, our school depends on us to represent them when we move forward with our degree. After all, our academic life rely on our knowledge, therefore, we cannot afford to be cheaters. However, it is observed that students do not have knowledge of understanding related to plagiarism, and for that reason, it is important that students should be educated and awareness must be given about plagiarism. Many students like me are confused about plagiarism, and the confusion starts when one cannot come up with own ideas. At this moment, students try to rely on other people’s ideas without giving credit, which is a very wrong practice.
When I rely on other people’s ideas, I focus too much on their statements, discuss them with myself, analyze them, and then, acquire my own understanding by concluding those ideas. One of my problems is that I depend too much on others’ ideas and thoughts; however, I have a good practice of paraphrasing that information into my own words. But, it is also unethical to get everything from one place and write them in your own words, which will be another form of plagiarism or cheating.
Why the Use of Proper Citations is Important
Proper citations are always important because it is a good way to identify and verify your sources. When you cite properly, you let your readers know where the information came from. It is always important to let the readers know if the material is reliable. In that way, the readers know that you have used ideas of other scholars to support you own point, which is a good thing. By doing so, it allows you to avoid copying and plagiarism. Copying material is one of the forms of plagiarism that is not acceptable universally, because it is unethical, and at the same time, presents that teacher was not successful in teaching his/her students, which results in disappointment and anger. One way to avoid teachers/ professors’ anger is to cite properly when using someone else’s work. A proper way to refer a source is to cite at the end of a paragraph. For instance, plagiarism is a problem faced in many universities and colleges. (Williams, 2002)
Basic Definition of Integrity
Academic integrity means honesty and taking responsibility of your own work. It is very important that students should be honest in their own works. In other words, it should be written personally and must not be copied from someone else. All students should be responsible to provide honest work without doubts. In this regard, teachers must question students regarding the paper, which may clear any doubts related to plagiarism. Students need to be honest to themselves and to others as well, which is very essential to earn respect in their life.
When there is no honesty, there is no trust, and without trust, there is no relationship between teachers and students. Academic integrity means understanding the meaning of truthfulness. Teachers and school systems depend on such characteristic of students. If one does not understand something, it is important that he/she may ask teachers freely for detailed explanation, or ask someone one else’s from the school for the support. This is the best way to make sure that trust and respect between teachers and the students is not violated, rather than copying work from other sources.
According to International Journal for Educational Integrity (IJEI). “Academic dishonest is widespread and increasing, 40% of the academic staff responding admitted they had taken no steps regarding a suspected incident of cheating due to insufficient proof.” (Gynnild & Gotschalk, 2008) I strongly believe that staff and teachers should inform students about their cheating, as students often are now even aware of such practice. On the other hand, it is a very dishonest practice for students to cheat. They show that they did not learn anything, as well as, violate rules and regulations of the academic integrity. By reporting students about the academic integrity, students will learn better way of doing their work. Learning to do your work properly is a way to show others and teachers that you know the difference between learning materials versus copying materials.
In terms of definition, learning materials will be own words. Information that one retrieves and understands personally. On the other hand, copying materials is information that is entirely copied and pasted from some one else’s sources without giving proper credit. Using people thoughts as my own is dishonesty, and I would not like someone else to use my work, ideas, or even my thoughts without my permission. It is always important to use proper citations when it is due because you want the readers to know what sources are yours and what sources that is belong to someone else.
If you are using someone else’s work, and present it as your own, it is an act of cheat and fraud. When you lie to someone, it shows that you are very dishonest and lack self-esteem. I have noted that people lie every other day to me for no reasons. Even then, I always try to find the underlying cause of the reasons. For example, during the last semester, my residential counselor manager lied to me. She made some arrangements for me to attend training, a day before the training, and she called me to inform that the training was canceled. I was not too happy about it, because I was prepared to attend the training, and I needed the training to move forward from my probation period. Later that day when I went to work, I opened my works e-mail, and accidently, I found out that my supervisor had recently communicated with her supervisor regarding the training, and she had forgotten to request the training for me, and it was too late when she attempted to do so.
From that day on, I totally disliked her because of that one lie. There was no need for her to lie, she could have told me the truth, and maybe I would have forgotten. I know that we are human beings and sometimes, we forget things and so, we are not perfect. By finding that one lie, I was wondering of how many times she lies to me. I cannot say that I do not respect her after I found out that she was lying to me, but I do not trust her anymore and I disqualify her as my superior. She supposed to be my role model for the job, but she is not anymore. Therefore, this is why it is important for students to understand the anger of teachers, as they might feel the same for students. In this regard, it is important to present work in own words and thoughts, rather than copying others’ work and ideas.
How harmful it can be to Claim others’ Writing as your Own
If you claim someone else’s work intentionally as yours, it is wrongful, and it can cost you everything in your life ahead. One should make sure if used someone else’s work that it is properly credited. There are several ways I can use someone else’s work and give them proper credits when it is due. For example, I am using this writer’s idea to make a point; I need to introduce her by writing the next sentence. According to Ann Lathrop and Kathleen Foss (2000), the author of Student Cheating and Plagiarism in the Internet Era, a wake-up call, “There are at least, three serious negative consequences for copying too much. The first is that the child does not learn to do the work assigned and does not learn the associated study skills. Secondly, you could be overemphasizing perfection and creating an impression that the child cannot be successful alone. Finally, and perhaps most damaging, you are modeling dishonest behavior.” (Conway & Groshek, 2008)
These three serious negatives consequences helped me too much. I was relying too much on other people to help me with my papers; I never focused on the problems until it was too late. By not learning to fix the problem on my own, my self-knowledge and understanding was poor. One time, I let my husband editing one of my papers, and he changed a paragraph from it and added something else, that was not part of the paper. When the teacher returned the paper to me with a fail grade, I felt that was not fair. However, when he told me the reason, I accepted the consequences and took full responsibility for my actions.
Of course, it was a hard way to learn that lesson, but I never give my papers to my husband to fix for me anymore. To write properly, I need to do it by myself, because I need to prove to others that I can succeed by myself. It is very hard when you try to meet the criteria of every teacher, but doing your papers on your own without trying to let someone else do it for you, help you gain respect and honesty. However, there are a lot of different ways to get help without letting someone else’s doing your papers for you, and I learned that it is fine to use someone else’s sources and paraphrase them.
When you paraphrase, make sure that you draw your own understanding of what you read. For example, Thomas Mallon (1989) from Stolen Words suggested that it is natural for human to imitate other human beings because it is human nature. In addition, when you cite other people sources, make sure you cite the exact material. For example, according to Charles Lipson (2004) the author of Doing Honest Work in College they are three simple rules of principles for academic honesty “when you say you did it yourself, you actually did it. When you rely on someone else’s work, you cite it. When you present research materials you present them fairly and truthfully.”
Why Plagiarism is wrong/bad?
Plagiarism is bad because it is dishonesty and it is fraud. Students who plagiarize do not learn how to do their work properly. Plagiarism is bad and wrong because you show no self-confidence of what you learnt; you deny yourself the opportunity to learn practice skills that you need for the future. You do not give teachers an opportunity to help you and give you positive feedback. Plagiarism is bad because when your teachers think that you are not doing it, they doubt your work performance. It is very bad to make your teacher doubt your work performance, because no matter how you work hard to show them that you are the one who are doing the work, they will never believe you. I know that because I have experienced it once. Once you have found plagiarism, whether you did unintentionally or intentionally, you will never earn the same respect from your teachers ever again.
What Students should do to avoid Plagiarism?
To avoid plagiarism, always make it clear where the information comes from. It is very important to give credit to the ideas and thoughts that are not yours. You should always cite any information that is not yours, and if you have doubts about unclear ideas or if your thoughts are similar to someone else, please cite it, and that is the best way to avoid plagiarism. To avoid plagiarism, students must know everything about plagiarism. Plagiarism is anything that does not belong to you and you use and state as your own. You can use other’s material as your own, but you must give credit to it. It is very important for students to avoid plagiarism, because it is really a big mistake, which you cannot mend when teachers will find out. Because, I was found guilty of plagiarism using a passage from a paper, my teacher made me feel powerless. She used that mistake against me as if I was charged with murder. I do not believe whether writing this paper is a penalty for plagiarism.
However, it is a learning experience for me and I will remember it for the rest of my life. I do not think that I will ever want to be in a position like that ever again, because at the end of writing this paper, I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and I even felt that it is not worth copying. Plagiarism is not fun, as I was constantly reminded by my teacher of how I would not be accepted on the workforce due to my language usage and my writing barrier. I do not think this is the best way for me to learn from my mistake or learn how to do something that I do not know or understand the meaning of it. I know I made a mistake, I understand that there is a price to pay for it, but not by making me feel that I am worthless and powerless.
There are many students just like me who plagiarize while writing essays, research paper, and many other school assignments. No matter the reason is right or wrong, plagiarism is deceitful legally and ethically. If you get caught cheating and stealing, there is a big price to pay. It is not worth to plagiaries, because it throws you in a very complicated situation. According to Mallon Thomas the author of Stolen Words (1989). “Plagiarism isn’t murder, but it is a bad thing.” After I read all the research materials about plagiarism, I understand that plagiarism is something; people may do for a variety of reasons, and almost something that they do more than once. After that, I am done with the paper, I am able to learn and identify what the variety of reasons students’ do to plagiarize.
Plagiarism is stealing someone else’s work without giving proper credit. To steal someone else’s work when you know it is not yours, is morally wrong. If you know that you are using someone else’s work, you should give proper credit to it. Without giving proper credit to some one’s else work, it is an act of stealing. Anyone who presents someone else’s ideas as their original work is ethically and morally wrong. However, I believe almost all students who do not intentionally plagiarize, should be given a chance to know and learn about plagiarism, and most importantly, how to avoid it.
Most of the time, teachers think that students know what they are doing when they catch plagiarism. However, I do not believe that this is always true. Many students like me sometimes are not even aware that they are plagiarizing until they are told by the teachers or by a professional writer. From the past semester, I have been found guilty of using other writers work without proper citations, and I have learnt my lessons. From now on, I will use quotes and citations to cite the work. This is one of the most important and effective ways to avoid plagiarism, besides using your own thoughts and ideas. To be on a safe side, if I am not sure about a research material, I will double check it and give credit to it.
According to Thomas Mallon (1989), “Imitation is natural to man from childhood.” When we imitate, we tend to act like the person, but we tend to forget that we are not that person. We need to be our own self and do things in our own ways. In the way, we would not be having trouble in copying from an original. However, when students like me write papers, we should try to avoid imitating other writers as much as we can, and if we use their works, we need to be sure that we use them properly and according to the rules of academic integrity. It is very important to use your own words when you write a paper, because you do not want the teacher to doubt your writing. I find that hard to believe that I have been in LAC for more than six years, and suddenly, teachers doubt my writing and my speaking language.
I was not born in USA. I will never be able to speak and write English like a U.S speaker, I will always have accents; I will always sound like I am outsider. I know that I need to improve my speaking and writing skills to fit this society professionally and academically. This is something that I have to do as long as I live in the United States. I am fully aware of my English barriers and as long as I live here in this country, I will do all, which is necessary to be a part of this culture, to better learn how to write and speak and write proper English language. My primary goal besides getting a job and payment of my student loans is to continue to take adult education classes to improve my English language and five years from now, go to medical school to become a physician assistant, and go back home where I came from to do my own business.
The only question I have is why now; I do not think this is fair to me, after I spent all this time in school, paying all that money to get a better education and now teachers are telling me that I am not ready to graduate. Now I felt, as if someone is forcing me to accept the blame of not learning and knowing the skills of writing and citing properly. I do not think that anyone could imagines of how I feel. I feel like my freedom has been taken away from me, and I feel powerless. I know it is important for LAC to avoid sending their students to the professional world with their degree without concerning of their reputations. Nevertheless, what about me as a student who spent about thirty five to forty five thousands dollars on student loans for this school only. I hope that I will be given a chance to prove myself worth of this degree.
Conway, M. & Groshek, J. (2008). Ethics Gaps and Ethics Gains: Differences and similarities in Mass Communication Students’ perception of plagiarism and fabrication. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, Indiana University Press.
Gynnild, V. & Gotschalk, P. (2008). “Promoting academic integrity at a Midwestern University: Critical review and current challenges.” The international Journal for Educational Integrity. 4(2), 60-66.
Lipson, C. (2004). Doing Honest Work in College: How to prepare citations, avoids plagiarism, and achieves real academic success. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
Mallon, T. (1989). Stolen Words: Forays into the Origins and Ravages of Plagiarism. New York, Ticknor & fields.
Plagiarism. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved May 23, 2009, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.classic.reference.com/browse/plagiarism
Springfield, MA. (1981). Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary 9th Edition. Merriam.
Williams, J.B. (2002). A Different Perspective on Plagiarism. Springer.