How to Prevent Plagiarism Term Paper

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¶ … affront to academic integrity. Coming from a Latin word meaning to kidnap or steal, plagiarism usually refers to passing off someone else's words or ideas as one's own. However, copying and pasting text from a Web site or writing verbatim from an encyclopedia is not the only type of plagiarism. Plagiarism may also refer to using someone else's core ideas without giving proper credit. A student who plucks off a Master's thesis from an old database of papers would also be committing plagiarism and academic fraud. Preventing plagiarism from a student's standpoint is relatively simple. Citing all sources used and especially offering in-text citations or footnotes for borrowed or paraphrased passages is the easiest way to avoid plagiarism. Students who are unfamiliar with the rules of academic citations can seek assistance in their school's library or from a professor or a writing tutor. Professors can strictly enforce rules regarding academic integrity when a student is caught plagiarizing but ultimately the responsibility rests with the student.

Technology is having a dual effect on plagiarism. On the one hand, new media like the Internet makes it easy for students to cut and paste whole blocks of text from Web sites and insert that text into their own essays. On the other hand, technology has also been developed to prevent students from copying and pasting readily from Web sites. software that scans the Internet and Web sites like Turnitin.com are making plagiarism harder to get away with.

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Yet students may also be inadvertently plagiarizing their work from Web sites and other sources. For example, a student might browse the Internet or their library for reference material, not intending to steal someone else's ideas or words. Subconsciously, the student could let other people's words and theories creep into their work. Without realizing what they have done, the student will have pulled ideas from their sources because what they read so thoroughly sank into their heads. Therefore, when students do research for academic papers they should always be sure to notate each and every source consulted. Doing so seems tedious but will ultimately prevent problems associated with plagiarism including personal humiliation and being expelled from school.

Term Paper on How to Prevent Plagiarism Assignment

The concept of plagiarism can be extended to encompass a broad range of unethical practices. Related to plagiarism is student use of pre-written term papers or essays they purchase online from Web sites or from private offices. In fact, many term paper vendors do not charge for some of the papers they offer and students on a budget can easily avail themselves of such subversive academic services. The Internet is almost as infested with term paper vendor sites as it is with pornography sites, demonstrating how pervasive the problem of plagiarism is and how the Internet facilitates some forms of academic fraud.

Plagiarism is also not limited to academia. Prominent artists, musicians, scientists and journalists have been caught and convicted of stealing other people's ideas. The problem is so severe that the legal system is having a hard time catching up with the culprits to protect the intellectual property of citizens. Intellectual property law addresses issues like downloading music for free using peer-to-peer software. Those digital music files can also be used as a form of plagiarism: such as when a musician samples work without offering proper credit. Copying another artist's work and then selling the new product is a visual arts version of plagiarism. Authors whose books closely resemble the works of others are often shunned. Jessica Seinfeld, wife of the famous comedian, was sued for plagiarism, proving also that celebrities are not immune to the act nor to being prosecuted for it. Jerry Seinfeld made light of the matter, defending his wife against what he tritely termed "vegetable plagiarism," (cited by CNN and the Associated Press, 2007). Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook reportedly contains ideas that were simultaneously published in another cookbook related to helping children eat more vegetables. Although the Seinfelds deny the accusations, plagiarism is certainly no joke.

Science is also not immune from the plague of plagiarism. Even at the most erudite departments at the nation's most prestigious universities, plagiarism is a problem. In 2005, an associate professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the most reputable institutions in the country, was fired for "fabricating data," (Cook & Bombardieri 2005). A high-profile "celebrity psychiatrist" who worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was recently suspended from practicing medicine because he was caught "passing off other scholars' work as his own," including four research papers and a book (Batty 2008). Moreover, the psychiatrist "admitted plagiarism but denied his actions were dishonest and liable to bring his profession into disrepute," (Batty 2008). The psychiatrist, Raj Persaud, claimed that he was "in a confused mental state at the time due to the stress he was under to meet publishing deadlines," as if stress were a plausible excuse for stealing someone else's work (Batty 2008).

Being under stress is no excuse for stealing other people's work, just as being under stress is no excuse for stealing other people's personal belongings. Students who feel that their deadlines cannot be met need only be honest with their academic advisors and professors. Stress is a serious problem that can lead to major health issues, and professors should be sympathetic. If professors claim that they will flunk the student if the deadline is not met, the student should report the incident to their Dean. Ultimately education is about learning and intellectual growth, not about making students' lives miserable. If academic institutions are becoming so rigorous as to be inhumane then deep changes to the educational system are necessary.

Rationales for plagiarizing people's work range from "I was under stress" to "I don't care about the class" to "I don't speak English well enough to write." Each of the excuses students -- or professionals -- use is spurious. Being under stress is no excuse to act unethically. A criminal can use stress to claim that beating his wife was necessary and excusable because of stress; a murderer can claim that stress provoked him or her. Stress is therefore a ridiculous reason to offer for stealing someone else's work and passing it off for one's own. If Persaud would have flunked out of school, then perhaps he was not deserving of his advanced degree to begin with. Acting unethically should never be an option, especially for a person who hopes to treat people for mental illnesses like Persaud. Ironically, the psychiatrist could not find adequate means of stress reduction and resorted to plagiarism instead of yoga or meditation.

I don't care" is another common claim among cheaters. For example, a medical student might plagiarize his or her way through an English course because their major is medicine and not Milton. Their personal perspectives on the relevance of the English class to their chosen profession is completely irrelevant, though. The medical student is obliged to take the required courses toward the fulfillment of his or her degree. If meeting those requirements seems like too much work, then the student might not be ready to graduate, let alone take on the enormous responsibilities of working fourteen hours straight in a hospital. All students come across classes or learning exercises they have trouble with or do not resonate with on a personal level. Dealing with classes they dislike is a sign of mental and emotional maturity; resorting to plagiarism instead is a sign of moral degradation.

Students whose first language is not English (or whatever language they take their courses in) may defend plagiarism as the only way by which they can pass their classes. A non-native language speaker might be the smartest student in the class or even in the school. Language, especially written language, could be that student's only weak point. Frustrated by the possibility that they might fail in spite of a command of the subject matter, students often plagiarize. Buying their papers from a third-party vendor is a common way for non-English speakers to fake their way through essays and term papers. However, many professors are understanding. Students sometimes underestimate how compassionate their professors are when it comes to recognizing language as a barrier to communication. Penalizing someone for not being a good writer in a second or third language is no way to motivate and inspire students. Therefore, professors should grade their non-native English speaking students differently when they read their essays so that those students are discouraged from plagiarizing. Students who feel embarrassed for their lack of full command of the language would feel less pressure and would be far less likely to cheat than they would be to write in their own voice. However broken their English, students can always find writing tutors to help them spruce up their work and improve their language abilities.

It is possible that academia pressures its students too much, so much that plagiarism seems a plausible solution. Perhaps medical students should not be forced to take English classes, and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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