This semester, I have a professor that is passionate about students and professionals maintaining intellectual integrity. The first two days of class he brought up some interesting cases of students and professionals plagiarizing.  Nowadays, your professor in a matter of minutes can check to see whether your assignment was submitted in another class–maybe even another university or high school!  Here are some ways that scholars can make sure that they don’t commit academic and intellectual theft!

  • Cite, Cite, and Cite: Make sure that if you are doing a direct quote that you are giving the author credit.  Improper citation can be considered plagiarizing. You can use the OWL services from Purdue; they have great tips and suggestions!
  • Copy & Paste is Not Your Friend: If you want to get a good grade or that awesome job, it shouldn’t be that simple.  If you are going to quote someone, make sure that you cite them (see previous suggestion).
  • Switching Words Around is Still Plagiarizing: Paraphrasing or using the clever Shift-F7 to come up with alternate words, doesn’t equal original thought.  Just remember, if it came super easy with a couple of keystrokes, then you might want to rethink it.  Even with paraphrasing you have to give the original writer credit.
  • Account for Time Spent on an Assignment: I didn’t know that using a paper from another class is consider plagiarizing, you are just plagiarizing yourself.   This also includes making one assignment count for two classes, double check with your professor first.
  • Follow Instructions: If a professor assigns a solo assignment, honor their instructions.  If you work with a classmate proofreading grammatical errors and sentence structure, be sure to use original thoughts.

When looking at some of these examples and the consequences of their actions, it seems completely silly to take that chance.  Generally, give credit where credit is due and write your own material.  After all, you are a scholar!

VaNessa Thompson is a graduate student at Lawrence Technological University majoring in Technical and Professional Communication.  She graduated with a BA in Communication from Michigan State University where she was a NSCS member.  Currently, she is one of NSCS’s Social Media Ambassadors and one of Dormify’s Style Advisors!  In her free time, she blogs and vlogs!  Feel free to tweet her @nessabirdie!