Everybody has heard the word. More than likely, everybody knows someone who has committed plagiarism.
I am willing to go out on a limb here and say that almost everyone reading this has committed plagiarism in some shape, form or fashion.
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines plagiarism as “to take (ideas, writings, etc.) from (another) and pass them off as one’s own.
As a journalist, I know that this is a big no-no. No matter how you look at it, plagiarism is a crime. Plagiarism is the same as stealing. You are taking something without permission that does not belong to you. So when I read articles about people like Jayson Blair, I absolutely have no sympathy for them.
Plagiarism can be as simple as putting a quote from a book in your story and not citing the source to blatant plagiarism such as cutting and pasting a research paper from the Internet. Either way, it is plagiarism.
In the past I have had teachers that were nice enough to give an “F” if you were caught plagiarizing. Had this been a job, the boss would be handing you a pink slip.
Why do people plagiarize anyway?
Some people usually wait until the last minute to work on their paper and find they can’t find enough information on their paper, so they panic and go to every student’s best friend, the Internet. They may get the assignment, and say ” I’m going straight to Google to find a research paper.”
If it was that easy for you to find the paper, don’t you think that your professor would be able to find that same paper?
What about the students who plagiarized but didn’t intend for parts of their paper to be plagiarized? Oh well, you should have citations all throughout your paper.
I can say this because that happened to me in one of my classes. I didn’t cite all my sources in my paper, and I received a zero. Who is going to believe the ‘I-didn’t-mean-to-plagiarize’ excuse?
Surely your professor is not going to believe you and neither will the board. Just do the work on your own. Explaining an “F” on your report card is better than explaining why you are being kicked out of school for plagiarism.
Leonard G. Wright is a senior public relations student from Jackson, Miss. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org