What is it? Why is it important?
"Originality is the essence of true scholarship. Creativity is the soul of the true scholar" - Nnamdi Azikiwe
Plagiarism is the act of taking another's ideas and/or words and claiming them as ones own. In effect, to plagiarize is to steal from another person. Most, if not all, people recognize the "wrongness" of stealing; it is a basic tenet that we learn as small children. Unfortunately, when faced with a hefty assignment, a packed schedule, a dislike of writing, or a misunderstanding of proper citation of sources, students may commit plagiarism.
Thankfully, plagiarism can (and should) be avoided. First, it is important to understand what plagiarism entails. The brief description above defines plagiarism in a nutshell. Here at Bucks County Community College, there is a policy in place to help students understand what is expected of them. This policy can be found in numerous places including on the college's website and in the college catalog. The policy states:
The expectation at Bucks County Community College is that the principles of truth and honesty will be rigorously followed in all academic endeavors. This assumes that all work will be done by the person who purports to do the work without unauthorized aids. In addition, when making use of language and some idea not his or her own, whether quoting them directly or paraphrasing them into his or her own words, the student must attribute the source of the material in some standard form, such as naming the source in the text or offering a footnote. (Bucks Catalog 159)
Students may be intimidated if they do not feel confident in their abilities to properly paraphrase, quote, and cite secondary sources. Often, this material is discussed in class, and students are always encouraged to come into the Tutoring Center to work on their original ideas and proper documentation with a tutor one-on-one. There are several excellent sources on the web for students to consult if they need clarification on what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.
Indiana University - Bloomington's Writing Tutorial Services has a fabulous and comprehensive site that many students find helpful.
Click here to view.
The Purdue University Online Writing Lab's site on plagiarism is also particularly helpful. Click here to view.
Remember, it is vitally important for students to practice academic integrity at all times.