Recently, WriteCheck conducted a poll on its Facebook page that asked students: “When teachers discuss plagiarism, do you:" along with five answers to choose from that best fits their reactions. Based on 126 responses, the results are shown below, located to the left of each choice:
49% Tune out: blah blah blah 27% Help spread the word: this is serious stuff 21% Listen & learn: maybe I'm accidentally plagiarizing 2% Yawn and take a nap 1% Jab the person next to me: He/she plagiarizes
It's reassuring to see that 48% of the students who answered the survey pay attention and do CARE to learn about plagiarism in the classroom; however, it is alarming to see that the majority (51%) have no interest in learning about plagiarism.
It's almost a split group, but given the heightened state of plagiarism cases and awareness in professional and academic environments, favorable student reactions are expected to be stronger.
Why It's Important to Care
Before you 51% nod off or mentally check out. If you are one of the 51%, let's take a look at some of the possible ramifications. Yes, the subject of plagiarism can seem dull, but if presented in the right way, perhaps the topic will take on new meaning.
You are living in a world with a global economy and a global job market. You will be in the same job market and in the same college courses as the 48% who don’t think that plagiarism is just another boring subject. If you want to compete for the best jobs, your communication skills will be a hot commodity. Corporations are looking for workers who communicate effectively in person and in writing.
Ignorance of plagiarism rules is not an acceptable excuse if you get yourself into trouble. Learning the intricate details of plagiarism in college can save your academic and professional careers.
3 Ways to Avoid Plagiarism
1. One way to help ensure your success is to get involved in the process of plagiarism detection. If your educational institution uses plagiarism checker software, use it; test it out and learn how it works. Upload one of your papers to the software. How well did you paraphrase? Did you quote too often? Learn how to find plagiarized material by “googling” phrases or sentences from plagiarized material. Observe how easily material can be found on the Internet. Some professors use this technique to find out if students are using someone else’s work.
2. If you have recently learned to paraphrase and quote properly (with citations and references), test your new found skills by submitting your papers to plagiarism detection software so you can see the results for yourself. Pick out the mistakes. Most people learn best by doing. Getting personally active in the process can help you take an interest and remember the details of plagiarism prevention.
3. Research stories about individuals’ lives that were ruined because of plagiarism. Many useful tips for avoiding plagiarism are available online.
Remember, you are accountable for your actions, and plagiarism is an ethical offense, basically stealing. Students are a reflection of their educational institutions, and school, college and university administrators want to be represented well. They also want students to be well-prepared for the global job market. The better you look, the better they look!
Fifty-one percent of students answered the WriteCheck survey negatively. Use some imagination to gain a better understanding of plagiarism. Involving yourself in the process of plagiarism detection can take the “boring” out of the subject matter. You must care about plagiarism; your academic and professional lives may depend on it.