War on Plagiarism

Tools to Defend Your Credibility as a Student and Writer

by Raven

halloween-full-moon

As the spooky month of scary movie re-runs, haunted house trips, and tons of candy corn slowly approaches its climax (Halloween), consider the true terror lurking in the minds of every stressed-out college student. It feeds off of your insecurities and digs its poisonous tentacles into your brain. It dissolves your creativity and critical thinking and replaces it with acidic thoughts and intentions that can destroy your educational and professional prospects. Beware the enemy of every student and educational professional; beware the tortuous demon, Plagiarism.

Plagiarism is the act of using others’ ideas and passing them off as your own. This manifests itself in many ways. Some examples include buying papers from online sources, using others’ work/having someone do your work for you, using incorrect citation guidelines, or choosing not to cite your sources. The punishment for plagiarism ranges from a failing grade on the assignment you plagiarized to expulsion from the University.

This demon spirit is lethal to your educational and professional well-being, but there is a way to protect yourself from the horrors of this foul creature. In the following paragraphs, I will outline a detailed list of super-powerful weapons that you can use to fend off plagiarism.

The first piece of weaponry that is needed is your shield of time management. When you don’t have a sufficient amount of time to complete an assignment, you send yourself into a downward spiral of stress and hopelessness. You are more concerned with getting the essay done and receiving a decent grade than you are with using your writing process to develop strong content. This desperate situation leaves you defenseless against Plagiarism’s deadly advances. Employing your shield of good time management will allow you to stave off the threat of Plagiarism by allowing yourself more time to fully develop your own ideas.

The second piece of weaponry is the sword of Citation Knowledge. Citations were created so that authors could reference each other’s ideas while giving proper acknowledgment. Not writing a citation (whether parenthetical or end citations) or not including all of the necessary information in a citation is misrepresenting the source of the ideas you are referencing. Lack of citation knowledge is an open invitation for Plagiarism to sneak into the work of any student, and more often than not, students don’t even realize they are Plagiarizing until it’s too late. Wielding the sword of citation knowledge will allow you to slice through any uncertainties about the credibility of your writing.  Ensuring that you are citing your sources correctly within the confines of the specified guidelines will ensure that all ideas that do not belong to you are properly attributed to their authors.

The third piece of weaponry is your fighting mentor. This can be your professor, your peer, or anyone from the Learning Hub’s writing staff. They can help you by spotting Plagiarism lurking in your work and assisting you to devise a plan to fix the issues before the final draft. Remember that no one can ever win a war single-handedly. If you are struggling with the plague of Plagiarism, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

The war against Plagiarism is one that students, professors, and tutors have fought for countless decades. The fight rages on, and the more you know about Plagiarism, the more you can guard yourself against it. For more information on what Plagiarism is, check out the Learning Hub’s handout on “Avoiding Plagiarism.” If you click on the handout, it will take you to our homesite, where you can check out other resources to improve your writing skills and prepare you for academic, professional, and civic writing.

I wish you luck in your battle for academic integrity.

UIS The Learning Hub Handouts

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