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Plagiarism is for Fools?

By Calli Moniodis
On December 2, 2011

The many definitions of plagiarism include "wrongful appropriation," "purloining and publication" or "close imitation" of another source's literary thoughts and ideas. This was sourced from Wikipedia.com, the number one website that students steal information from. Plagiarism also has another definition:  expulsion.

 

With technology evolving on a daily basis and its use reaching an all time high, it is no surprise that professors are seeing an overload of Internet plagiarism. Before computers, it would have been quite a lot of work to plagiarize- at least compared to now. Students can simply go to a search engine, type in their topic and find facts about it. Students can also simply create a citation by going to sites like easybib.com and entering information.

 

Social networks and blog sites are something of abundance in today's society. This only increases a student's temptation to steal. Yes, plagiarizing is theft- literary theft. When others are constantly posting their thoughts and ideas on sites such as Yahoo Answers and answers.com, it becomes an understatement to say copying someone's thoughts is easy. However it is becoming almost as easy for teachers to discover plagiarism in papers.

 

Sites like dustball.com and articlecatcher.com allow teachers to type in a passage from a student's essay, and it will immediately pull up any web source that matches. For example, if a student was to copy and paste a paragraph from Wikipedia, the teacher could enter it on these sites and it would come up showing the original passage on Wikipedia.

 

One might think that encyclopedias would be the most commonly copied sources, but the truth is that unreliable sources from sites like Facebook are the used most. The most popular places to copy from, according to education journalist David Nagel, are "social and content sharing sites." These include Facebook, Yahoo Answers, Answers.com, Slideshare, SERPD, Ask.com and more. However, Wikipedia wins first place in this category for the most copied from website ever!

 

Just because ‘everyone's doing it' does not mean plagiarism is smart. It is taken very seriously by schools, professors and those who have words stolen from them. Copying is not worth the risk, so do not try this at home.

 

According to Frostburg State University's policy, plagiarism results in an automatic F on the assignment, probably an F in the course and possibly a judiciary hearing that may lead to expulsion. Expulsion is the harshest consequence in college; not only is the student removed from school immediately but the expulsion will stay on their record forever.

 

Some may say they do not fully understand the sometimes vague rules of plagiarism versus summarizing or paraphrasing. Have no fear, English professors are here! The English department at FSU has made it their mission to create a wealth of knowledge about plagiarism in every student. If the lessons taught in Freshman Composition do not help instill the citation process enough, they offer other workshops and private help to assure that no student ever accidentally plagiarizes.

 

To get online help in this area, go to frostburg.edu, search plagiarism policy and click on the first link. This file will give you examples of what is or is not plagiarism. It also goes into detail about the punishments of plagiarism. For more information on plagiarism statistics, visit thejournal.com.


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