Avoid a record of plagiarism

Plagiarism is a real issue and the consequences can be very serious. Nadine Botha of Boston City Campus Head Office in Stellenbosch, says that incidences of plagiarism too often cross her desk, and she advises students to err on the side of caution when submitting assignments.

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University students know the fear of handing in an assignment, and having it marked down or worse, unmarked, because of plagiarism. The fear is real! Lecturers do understand that you work long hard hours sometime late into the night, and that at times you use research or words you have found without creating your own words. Because the exhaustion is real as well! Do not slip into negligence. Plagiarism is a real issue and the consequences can be very serious. Get in the habit from Grade 10 of checking every essay for plagiarism. 

Nadine Botha of Boston City Campus Head Office in Stellenbosch, says that incidences of plagiarism too often cross her desk, and she advises students to err on the side of caution when submitting assignments.

Plagiarism is the representation of another author's language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions as one's own original work. In educational contexts, there are differing definitions of plagiarism depending on the institution. (Wikipedia). Read that again. It’s not just copying a paragraph and passing it off as your own. It can also be ideas and concepts. It is a real minefield!
Nadine discusses the consequences a student can face when work has been plagiarised. “It does depend on the level at which you are studying, and if it is a first offence, amongst others. If found guilty of plagiarism in an academic setting, real repercussions could involve a failing grade, recorded removal from the module, academic probation, or even expulsion from the institution. And remember, when transferring to another institution, this will be noted on your academic record, and may even prevent a transfer. Plagiarism really is that serious, so get fully informed about what constitutes rule breaking and how you can guarantee your academic transparency”

Nadine gives the following advice of what you should you beware of when you are answering assignments. Be aware of the following situations. 

Direct copying ie, cut and paste. Don’t assume that you are the only person who has found this information. If you came across it, so may your lecturer, and most certainly so will the plagiarism checker! As soon as you use information from a website, copy the source into the bottom of your document, include quotation marks and include in-text citations, this can always be edited out, but at least it is there if you land up using the information. 

Paraphrasing? Its okay to use someone else’s research or ideas, just make sure you cite the source!

Using information from various sources? That’s ok too– just use your in-text citation numbers, and list each source individually, be as specific as possible with sites and authors.. 
What else should you be wary of? Don’t be afraid to come to your own conclusions or form your own opinion. Use the work as a source of inspiration, but don’t hand in a work that is simply a compilation of another’s ideas. 

It can happen that you run a plagiarism checker on your work, and it comes as plagiarised even though you wrote the work yourself. This can be that the checker has picked up on your work if you perhaps ran the checker on draft of the same work, or perhaps you worked with a friend and you have handed in similar works. Perhaps you forgot to reference one of your sources. Make use of plagiarism checkers to make sure your work is honest- try out Plagly, a free online work checker. 

Nadine concludes, saying, “Just pay attention to your references from the beginning of the work, citing as you go along, so that you are not put in a position to start trying to find where all the sites you used for your research. Use your own words. And have the confidence to draw your own ideas and conclusions!”

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