The Dangers of Plagiarism
While some teens may see plagiarism as something everyone does and rarely relate to it as a criminal or civil offense, in reality, this form of copyright infringement is far more than just an academic violation.
While some teens may see plagiarism as something everyone does and rarely relate to it as a criminal or civil offense, in reality, this form of copyright infringement is far more than just an academic violation. To avoid these life-altering ramifications, it’s best to keep these four tips in mind.
- Consult with your instructors. There are many different levels of plagiarism, and people may define it differently. Depending on the teacher or policy at your school, simply not citing sources correctly or turning in work you originally submitted for another class could be considered plagiarism.
Real world advice: When in doubt, always ask questions to clarify. Communication is the death of ignorance.
According to a survey on academic integrity done by Penn State, the No. 1 reason students plagiarize is due to their fear of failure. As parents, it’s important to make sure your teens put things into perspective and get help when needed rather than placing their academic career at risk. Teens need to understand that a lower grade on an assignment isn’t as bad as getting caught plagiarizing.
- Use an online plagiarism checker. Instructors today are using plagiarism detection software like Turnitin to catch students who plagiarize work. When in doubt, before turning in your assignment, try using an online plagiarism checker like WriteCheck (en.writecheck.com) to make sure you’re not violating any copyright laws. You can also use sites like EasyBib (easybib.com) to make sure you’re citing your work correctly.
Real world advice: It’s never okay to turn in work that belongs to someone else without giving them the proper credit.
- Say no. Doing someone else’s work for them is a violation of academic integrity, and both the author and the person turning in the work can be penalized for committing plagiarism. Many institutions treat plagiarism as a serious offense, and if you aren’t careful, you could risk losing your college degree.
Real world advice: If you don’t stand up for something, you will fall for anything.
- Use citations when paraphrasing. Make sure you’re conveying the main idea without using “too much of the source’s language or word order,” said Darren Harris-Fain, Chair in the Department of English and Philosophy at Auburn University at Montgomery. He also recommends using quotation marks when using someone’s exact words, and use your own words when translating the source’s ideas.
Real world advice: “Take your writing courses seriously,” said Fain. In them, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to properly paraphrase, avoid plagiarism and your teacher’s expectations for success.
“Unlike high school, we report every instance of plagiarism to our academic affairs office, and if students are repeat offenders, they may be dismissed from the university. In addition, if a student receives an F for a course because of plagiarism, this is noted on their academic transcript, and future employers will see that the student engaged in academic dishonesty.”
—Dr. Darren Harris-Fain, Chair in the Department of English and Philosophy at Auburn University at Montgomery
Out of 43,000 high school students surveyed by The Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics, one in three students admitted to using the internet to plagiarize an assignment.