Many college students know plagiarism is bad and have heard the term, but surprisingly they don’t fully understand what it means. While this might shock many people, a lot of teachers aren’t really talking about plagiarism because they assume students just know what it is and why they shouldn’t be doing it.
Teaching students about plagiarism and how to avoid it is important because most plagiarism happens unintentionally. By knowing this information students won’t have to worry about the effects of plagiarizing a homework assignment.
What is Plagiarism?
Many people will define plagiarism as stealing another person’s words. However, it’s a little bit more complicated than that. When you have an idea or a thought, it’s important to use a source. While the opinion is your own, you are getting your information somewhere. By citing sources, you can avoid plagiarism. When citing sources you don’t have to cite something that is common knowledge. We all know that Christmas is December 25th so you don’t need to say where you found that information.
How to Prevent Plagiarism
Preventing plagiarism isn’t as tricky as people might think. The key to avoiding plagiarism is quoting a source or paraphrasing. It’s important to be very careful with paraphrasing. Just because you switch a few words doesn’t make it paraphrasing. You have to use your own words to describe what the information is telling you.
Find more than one source. By using multiple websites and books, you’re far less likely to plagiarize. Take good notes, but don’t write out full sentences. This is how it all starts. Once you’re done with the research, put your notes to the side and begin writing. It’s better not to have information near by, because you might get tempted to refer back to those notes far too often, which can cause you to plagiarize.
There are many different ways to avoid plagiarism. The best advice is to use multiple sources and paraphrase properly. We all have our own thoughts and opinions, don’t we? So why go and steal someone else’s?