Students often involve themselves in different activities that challenge academic integrity. Academic dishonesty refers to conscious attempts to falsify, fabricate, or tamper with the information that is relevant to the student’s participation in an academic exercise. Examples of academic dishonesty are plagiarism and cheating. Cases of plagiarism are on the rise, as students use academic sources for their work and they fail to cite them correctly. Current students are technology savvy, and the internet provides them with a shortcut for completing their homework. Instead of researching their work early, they wait until the last minute so as to copy and paste everything from the internet.
Many students fall victims of plagiarism because they do not understand what plagiarism is. Plagiarism is presenting some else’s work as your own. Failing to use proper citations for direct quotations used in research work is the most common form of plagiarism. Sometimes students get the whole assignment from a source and fail to paraphrase it. In order to avoid plagiarism, students should familiarize themselves with the different types of citations so that they can use them to cite their sources effectively. Many internet sites teach students how to cite their papers properly using various techniques. Students should rework/ paraphrase their sources. Even one poorly cited sentence can render the student’s work unoriginal. Even when in doubt, students should cite the source just to be on the safe side.
There are many programs on the internet or in the school’s site that can be used to check plagiarism. These programs will identify the plagiarized parts of the assignment so that students can correct them. Students should realize that good writing takes time, and they should not rush when doing their assignments. They should take time to brainstorm, research, write drafts, and revise their work. They should not wait until the last minute as they will be overwhelmed with the work. This is another way of preventing cheating. Students, usually, cheat when they have not prepared well for the exam/ assignment.
While cheating, students copy from their peers or the internet. There are many academic papers on sale on the internet. There are sites that charge students a certain amount to help them with their assignments. This is considered cheating since the student is not responsible for his/her work. In these sites, there are testimonials from students that claim that their services have improved their grades tremendously. In order to prevent this type of cheating, teachers should be aware of their students’ capabilities. They should give out impromptu assignments and ensure that students do them during class time. Knowing a student's ability will further help teachers tell the difference between work done by students and those done by professionals. To avoid such temptations, students should use the resources they have in doing their work. There is no point in paying someone who has no prior history about the subject to do the work, when students can do it easily. Students who usually cheat lack skills, hence rely on others. Students should learn to develop the necessary academic skills they need in order to succeed in school.
In conclusion, students should seek help from their teachers instead of plagiarizing or cheating. Teachers can offer guidance on how to do the assignment, and they can even extend deadlines when requested. Rather than submitting plagiarized work, students should talk to their teachers and ask them for more guidance or time.
Carroll, J. & Appleton, J. Plagiarism: A Good Practice Guide.
Ehrlich, H. Plagiarism and Anti-Plagiarism.
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