As you rush to get the research for that pre-Thansgiving paper together, take a moment to reflect on this:

A 2003 issue of the newsletter CQ Researcher focused on the subject of combating plagiarism in colleges.  It asks the very pertinent question “Is the Internet causing more students to copy?”

It’s certainly easier than ever to access information, ideas, and interesting writing at the click of a button, and yet this particular discussion compares two studies, one from the early 1960s in which more students admitted to plagiarizing than students surveyed in a more recent, post-Internet-era survey.  What’s more, a survey conducted in the early 2000s found that more students admitted to copying “traditional materials” – from journals, books, etc.

While we’ll never catch everyone who plagiarizes, we do know that the price of getting caught, as laid out by the Academic Honesty Policy, makes the risk not even close to worth it: a failing grade, a lengthy academic trial, and a ruined academic reputation are just some of the possibilities in the mix.  Check out the library’s page on avoiding plagiarism for techniques to ensure you’re not making mistakes, purposeful or not.   And read over these quick do’s and don’ts for an academically honest paper:

Don’t discuss or include in your paper an identifiable phrase or an idea that appears in someone else’s work without acknowledging and documenting your source.

Do not use exactly the same sequence of ideas and organization of argument as your source.  Copying ideas, even if you don’t copy the words directly, is plagiarism too!

Always put an author’s exact words inside quotation marks.  Changing only a few words to those with similar meanings in a passage or a sentence does NOT count as paraphrasing.

Always cite the source of anything, be it a single paragraph or an entire book, that you summarize or paraphrase.

Do not use in your paper long sections that have been rewritten by a friend or a tutor.

Never – but never – buy, find, or receive a paper that you turn in as your own work.

Happy (and honest) writing!