As you are aware, plagiarism is an increasing problem on college campuses, in many cases as an apparent direct result of the Internet’s ability to provide access to not only large amounts of information but also entire research and term papers. Not all of the downloaded papers lead to plagiarism, but many do.

The age-old issue of plagiarism has become magnified in an era of copy-and-paste technology. Plagiarism is a difficult concept to define. It includes a range of actions from failure to use proper citation to wholesale cheating. A student who plagiarizes may do so unintentionally or with planful deliberation. According to encyclopedia Britannica, plagiarism is “the act of taking the writings of another person and passing them off as one’s own”. This report will dig deep in to that definition and find out why plagiarism has become such a problem in today’s society. This reports intention is to make the reader more aware of this issue and more self-conscious about the work produced. The Internet will be the source for a great deal of the statements used in the report because the topic is such a new issue and the fact that definitions are constantly changing. It was only a few yeas ago that plagiarism only referred to the copying of literature. Now this fraudulence is very closely related to forgery and piracy. The age-old issue of plagiarism has become magnified in an era of copy-and-paste technology.

Most students may want to know, exactly, what are the signs that teachers look for in plagiarized papers. Well, it is very simple. On the high school or undergraduate level, teachers may notice that students use Words or phrases that are too sophisticated for the average undergraduate, the topic or conversation of the paper is too broad or it does not fit the constraints of the assignments, or the citation style of the paper is of an advanced researcher.

According to author, Earl Babbie plagiarism is wrong for several reasons. First, it is lying. If you have been asked to write something as evidence that you have grasped the materials of the course you are taking, offering someone else’s work as evidence is a lie. Second, it is an insult to your fellow students. When you plagiarize, just as when you cheat on an exam, you treat unfairly those who play by the rules. You seek an unfair advantage over them, and inevitably, you will find yourself looking down on those who devote their time and energy to the task which you have cheated on. Third, when you use other people’s words and ideas without their permission, it is stealing. It would be wrong to sneak into a factory and steal the products manufactured there during the day, and in the academy, words, ideas, paintings, compositions, sculpture, inventions, and other creations are what we produce. It is wrong to steal them and claim them as your own.

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As prevalent as plagiarism may be in this day and age, there are ways and means to prevent it. The first step in the prevention of plagiarism should be that of discouragement. According to the researcher at the Staley Library at Millikin University, one should encourage students to do their own thinking, not paraphrase the thinking of someone else. What are their thoughts and ideas on a given topic? The teacher could also have students compile and turn in working bibliographies well in advance of term paper dates. This will require students to begin research at an early date, avoiding the temptation for last minute information downloads.

Author Lisa Hinchliffe says that one may use the following suggestions when trying to prevent plagiarism:

Emphasize the processes involved in doing research and writing papers. Ways to do so include requiring topic proposals, idea outlines, multiple drafts, interim working bibliographies and photocopies of sources.

Require students to engage and apply ideas, not just describe them.

Require students to reflect personally on the topic or the processes of research and writing, either in the paper or as an additional writing assignment.

Discuss plagiarism with students, both what it is and your policies about it.

In conclusion, it is acceptable -even tempting- – to want to use or include someone else’s work in your papers. However, it is important to remember to acknowledge the author and use proper citation when using others material. Remember, the key factor in proper citation is to let the reader know that you are borrowing or paraphrasing material and that they can go to the original or specified source, if cited properly.