For this season's WriteCheck contest, How do you avoid plagiarism?, we received a large number of well-written, well thought out and creative entries, which made it tough to pick just one! After much deliberation, we selected the entry by Joshua Hutchison who studies Interdisciplinary Studies: Mathematics and Science at San Joaquin Delta College. In his submission, Joshua explains his thought process and why academic integrity is important to him. He also included a note that said he had fun "writing [an] assignment I didn’t need to do, but wanted to" which earned him a bonus point because it shows how one's attitude can impact written work.
Read how Joshua maintains academic integrity:
"I don’t go to College to impress my professors, get good grades, or repeat words written by others. I go to College to learn, and assimilate new ideas into my world-view. When I do this, I will often express ideas I have never thought before. I am often very proud of the insight that my perspective can give to these new subjects as I explore them. I would not be as proud to repeat ideas if I had not imparted my own special point of view, or interpretation of new information.
When I read a new text that I know I will be writing about, I open up my word processor and start typing full sentences and phrases that paraphrase, condense, and interpret what I think the authors work means. Sometimes I will write my opinions about what they are saying as well. Sometimes I will write questions that the work does not answer. When I am done, I don’t need to refer to the work to write a paper on it. I barely need to look at my notes after I have chosen what the focus of my writing will be, and what writing strategy I will use. If the assignment requires me to submit an outline, I can simply take my notes out of the order of the author’s paper, and put them in the order I plan to use them.
As an example, below I will summarize and paraphrase myself.
He doesn’t go to college for: the teachers, grades, to become a parrot.
He likes to learn, it has changed his idea of the world.
Plagiarism isn’t sexy, he likes to write for himself.
He takes notes while reading, and uses the notes to decide what to write.
After he writes his notes, he doesn’t read them except as a reminder, or for an outline."