Plagiarism is the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of
another author and the representation of them as one's own original work (Encyclopedia
Britannica, Inc). The most common reasons students plagiarize is because they feel
overwhelmed. It is difficult to juggle several classes and have a social life. Many students
experience tremendous anxiety about writing assignments and research projects. Students engage
into plagiarism for more than one reason, including fear of asking for help, difficulty in finding
and analyzing research materials, belief or unsympathetic treatment from a professor justifies
cheating, or they get trapped into finding 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.
Whether a teacher judges plagiarism as intentional or not depend on three factors: the age
of a student, the nature of the offense, and the scope of the offense. (1) The age of a student: A
freshman or a sophomore with little experience may argue for example that poor paraphrasing
was unintentional - - meaning that the student simply did not know any better. On the other hand,
a junior or a senior who has more experience in doing research papers should know better. For
that cause plagiarism would not be accepted. (2) The nature of the offense: It is one thing to
insert a word by an author without knowing or understanding the meaning. It is another thing to
insert chunks of another authors work with no in-text citation. (3) The scope of the offense. To
generalize, a teacher would judge a younger students plagiarism as unintentional and a older
students as intentional.
Plagiarism is equivalent to looking at someone’s test and copying down their answers. It
is the theft of intellectual property. The simplest way to avoid plagiarism is to give credit where
credit is due! Changing the words of an original source is not sufficient to prevent plagiarism. If
you have retained the essential idea of an original source, and have not cited it, then no matter
how drastically you may have altered its context or presentation, you have still plagiarized.
Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Simply
acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed, and providing your audience with the
information necessary to find that source, is usually enough to prevent plagiarism.
Plagiarism is a very serious academic offense and could be handled in a very serious
matter. Many students do it in an attempt to take the short cut out. Others do it because they
don’t understand the concept of doing it yourself. All students are held accountable for their
actions and the consequences would lead to different things. Some of