Plagiarism is a habit that too many students fall into. Sometimes people do it accidentally without realising what they are doing is wrong, while others set out with the intention of blatantly copying another person’s work. If you were to search for the definition of plagiarism, the answer would be along the lines of “claiming another person’s work to be your own, with or with their prior consent or without giving the work full and appropriate acknowledgement. It covers both published and unpublished material.”
Although some teachers, lecturers and professors are prepared to overlook some minor indiscretions such as submitting work late, one thing that no professional will accept is plagiarism. Here at Harrow International School Bangkok, we have a stringent policy on this matter, and this is something that we believe all reputable places of education should adhere to. Quite simply, if a student has plagiarised their work, they will fail the course and be reported to the headmaster.
Of course, this is the main reason why you should never consider making a false claim that work is your own, but what are the other reasons?
- It’s theft!
There is no avoiding the fact that plagiarism is theft. You are stealing someone else’s work and claiming it as your own. The other person will have put the time and effort that you should have done to produce the piece of work. In some cases, the writer may have given you permission to use their work, but without proper acknowledgement, you are still lying and trying to deceive the person marking your paper.
- It doesn’t teach you the skills you need in life
It is something that many students overlook, but the reason that teachers give them specific projects and things to learn is to teach them skills which they will need in later life. Writing skills are necessary for almost every job that you will apply for, and without them, you will find life hard. In the workplace, there won’t be the opportunities to copy, and you could be left looking very foolish and unprofessional. Writing coursework and assignments is good writing practice and something you will need in later life.
- The consequences can be far-reaching
Copying a few paragraphs from a book or the internet may seem like a relatively minor offence, but if it leads to expulsion from school or college, the consequences are far more severe. The reason why you were expelled will need to be explained again and again. It will stay with you through your academic life and into your working one. There is also the chance that you won’t be able to find a school of a similar standard that will be willing to accept you, so your long-term education prospects may be harmed.
- Lose respect
While you might think that it is “cool” to get in trouble at school, you will quickly lose respect. Teaching staff that may have previously have held you in high regard will not show you the same the respect. Your peers too, especially those with high aspirations and who completed the work on their own, will have doubts and question about your work ethic, not to mention your ability. While these doubts may be unjustified about your general character, it is easy to appreciate why they exist.
- Teachers and lecturers remember
Connected to #4, teachers and lecturers will remember that you have cheated and this will remain with you. Your work will always face increased scrutiny, and if there are ever doubts about your work again, your previous misdemeanours will quickly spring to mind. If you are on the borderline between two grades for an assignment, you will likely slip into the lower grade due to the question marks that remain about your integrity. It isn’t vindictive; it is a natural human reaction.
- It is easy to spot, especially with modern technology
It has always been easy for teachers and lecturers to recognise plagiarised work. Firstly, they have experience on their side; they have seen it all before. Secondly, there is a good chance that they will read the text you have included in your work previously, so will recognise it! Of course, with many anti-plagiarism packages available, they will know at the click of a button that the text has been stolen. They will even be able to tell you exactly where from and have more information about it than you!
- Stolen work, may not answer the question youhave been asked!
Another point that often gets overlooked is the simple fact that you may be copying something that doesn’t answer the question which you have been asked. Often assignments are quite specific in what they ask; it is a technique used by teachers to make work unique, so even if your efforts go unnoticed, you may still get a low grade for not answering the question.
- Paying someone to do the work is often a scam
We all know that there are plenty of websites available on the internet offering to do coursework for you. While many pupils think that teachers are from the stone-age, generally we are aware of the workings of the modern world. Typically, these websites are a scam; if you get anything back at all, it is likely to be of inferior quality than you could produce yourself so you will be penalised and secondly they tend to be very expensive.
- It causes you stress
Planning ways to cheat is time-consuming and causes stress, so why bother? Also, you have the anxiety and guilt that you know you have handed in work which isn’t your own. It is similar to the stress you feel in an exam, only this time you are waiting for your paper back which you cheated on, and you also know that your teachers know you cheated on! The guilt and stress will affect every aspect of your life for days, potentially weeks.
- Adopt better practices
The main reason why people plagiarise work is that they are badly prepared, and it has left them in a situation where they have become desperate. Sometimes cheating seems like the only option left as they have left things to the last minute or failed to complete other required work. Try to work on your time management and instead of avoiding assignments and homework in term time, do it, and everything will seem easier at the end of the course. In the worst-case scenario, ask for extra time rather and accept a time penalty rather than for plagiarised work – it really is better for all concerned.