The Concept of Plagiarism

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* Clearly define plagiarism.
* Address why students plagiarize.
* Discuss intentional vs. unintentional plagiarism.
* Discuss the importance of citing with specific examples of improper citation and describe why this is considered plagiarism. * Discuss citing, direct quoting, paraphrasing and expressing another's ideas. * Define common knowledge and whether it is better to over-cite or under-cite.

Plagiarize means to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (a created production) without crediting the source vi: to commit literary theft: present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source. (S.E. Van Bramer, 1995) People plagiarize One of the most common reasons students plagiarize is because they feel overwhelmed. It's difficult to juggle the demands of several classes and have a social life. Many students also experience tremendous anxiety about writing assignments and research projects. Students engage in plagiarism for a number of other reasons as well, including: fear of asking for help with assignments, difficulty in finding and analyzing research materials, belief that unfair or unsympathetic treatment from a professor justifies cheating, or they get trapped into searching for the "one right answer." Unfortunately, a small number of students plagiarize out of laziness or surrender to the mistaken notion that "buying" a paper is not any different than paying for an education. However, plagiarism is never justified. (4) Experience brings an understanding of how to break writing and research projects into manageable pieces. Seasoned writers are often more relaxed simply because they know how to plan their work. They have learned from past mistakes and recognize that writing is a process. Learning how to plan your research and writing assignments reduces a lot of the pressure that can foster plagiarism. Why Students Plagiarize

There are many reasons students plagiarize. Sometimes deadlines come around more quickly than expected, sometimes assignments feel overwhelming, and sometimes the boundaries of plagiarism and research just get confused. But what situations are most likely to result in plagiarism? More importantly, how can they be avoided? Learning to identify the factors that make plagiarism an attractive alternative is the best way to stop it before it starts. Intentional Plagiarism

Just like hacking into websites, plagiarizing papers can be something of a thrill in itself. For many students it becomes a question of ingenuity: "can I sneak a plagiarized paper past my professor?" But there is usually more behind intentional plagiarism than just the thrill of deception. Searching vs. Researching

Today's students learn quickly that finding and manipulating data on the Internet is a valuable skill. With the wealth of information available online, the production of original analysis and interpretation may seem like "busy work" compared to finding the best or most obscure sources. Teach your students that the real skills they need to learn are interpretation and analysis -- how to process the information they find. Tell them that anyone with some basic knowledge can find information on the internet -- it's what they do with that information that is important. "But their words are better"

Some students might think, "Why sweat over producing an analysis that has already been done better, by someone who knows more?" Students may also be intimidated by the quality of work found online, thinking their own work cannot compare. Tell your students that what interests you most is seeing how they understand the assigned topic, and how they develop their own style and voice. This might go a long way toward making them feel more comfortable with writing. Explain to them that you know writing is a learning process, and that you do not expect them to be as brilliant as experts who have devoted years to the subject. You may also want...
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