Don’t be lured in by plagiarism this spring

We’ve reached the time when many students are tempted to cross the line.

Courtney Johnson

ItâÄôs springtime. The snow is melting, and students can finally jog down University Avenue without the woes of cold hands and frostbitten toes. With Spring Jam on the horizon, many are enjoying these balmy 40 degree days. Homework is often the last thing on a studentâÄôs mind.

When the motivation for school seems to be hard to find, some students decide to cut corners and look toward alternative resources âÄî such as Sparknotes or a roommate âÄîwhen doing their classwork. With time and motivation in short supply, itâÄôs very easy to steal some elseâÄôs idea and make it your own.

Using the Internet for research in writing papers is universal in the 21st century. As a result, the temptation to cross the scholastic dishonesty line and plagiarize is ever more tempting. Many think it is OK to use the Internet as a source to collect different opinions and then go on to form an idea from there. While it is OK to use the Internet as an enhancement to an already developed idea and argument, it is not OK to use it as an alternative to reading the material. Even if worded differently, a student using othersâÄô ideas as their own in a paper is still considered plagiarism.

When students find themselves in this position, there are alternatives to using dishonest shortcuts. Many find it useful to think about what was appealing to them within the reading. Also, talking about possible topics with a professor or TA and discussing what was interesting in the reading turns out better paper topics than plagiarizing someone elseâÄôs ideas.

Finding the motivation to stay on task for these next couple of weeks is going to be challenging, and I know that I am not alone on this endeavor. This spring be sure to stay on task and use this fresh springtime air as an advantage to coming up with crisp new ideas, instead of an excuse to procrastinate.


Courtney Johnson welcomes comments at [email protected].