The pre-test scores were slightly better than the post-test ones. In the pre-test, 6 answers were answered correctly and 4 incorrectly. In the post-test, the opposite trend has emerged, as 6 questions were answered incorrectly and only 4 were correct. The question about a summary of an idea was answered incorrectly because there was some confusion, as to the attribution of an idea to the author. This is because paraphrasing an idea is allowed, as compared to the exact words said by the author.
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Often, the amount of writing is rather extensive, but an idea can be stated in a short paragraph, as soon as the person understands the concept. As such, a whole paragraph can end with a source that directs the reader to the author of an idea. In case a phrase or an idea is used in a conversation, it still must be sited, and this question was answered incorrectly as well. This is because even a conversation is the intellectual property of the person speaking, in case those words belong to them. Overall, it is difficult to site conversations because people can say something that already belongs to someone else, but they will not mention that they are using someone’s words or concepts.
Even in case a few phrases from an article are borrowed and mixed with own words in a personal work, it is still plagiarism because the words belong to someone else, and a credit must be given to the author. This rule also applies when song lyrics are used. All the words and ideas must be properly cited, as the format of the words or phrases does not matter, they still belong to someone else and credit must be given (Pecorari, 2010).
If it is general knowledge, such as people’s birthdates, famous locations or other well known facts, there is no need for a citation. This is due to the fact that the information can be found in numerous sources, so it cannot belong to one particular individual and is accessible to the public. From the two tests it is clear that the pre-test was done with fewer mistakes because of the order of questions. When going into the test, the primary response is most correct while the second thought usually adds some confusion, and makes a person change the correct answers to incorrect.
Some of the areas that need improvement are recognizing the difference between the exact words’ citations and paraphrasing. When using the direct words that were unchanged, the amount or order of words does not matter. Every time that an exact phrase or even a single word is used, it must be properly cited in order to give credit to the person who came up with the phrase (Sutherland-Smith, 2008).
Paraphrasing is still using some else’s idea, but there is no need for quotation marks because the person using the idea has put it in own words, and only the concept being described is the same. The improvement of the needed areas can be done through setting up guidelines for easy use. Short rules can be recorded and remembered, so that there is no need to look information up every time. Even if there is some doubt that the information or an idea might belong to someone, it is better to do some research and make sure that it is properly cited. The learning of different styles of citations is also key in developing proper skills when using quotations or links to the sources used.
There are numerous resources on the internet and in the printed books that specifically reply to questions regarding plagiarism. Most commonly, websites belonging to universities or other educational institutions will provide examples and formats of a citation style. This is a very important aspect of studying and writing, and it is taken very seriously in literature and educational institutions (Neville, 2010).
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Plagiarism also deprives the person of a valuable experience and learning that cannot be gained by simply copying words and using some else’s ideas. Writing is a process that makes a person think and develop own opinion. Cognition and memory can only evolve if an individual analyzes an idea or words, puts in own effort and contemplates the meaning. Also, it is unfair towards other people or students who do not have access to resources or materials. All the existent literature must be used as a guide, so that everyone develops own thinking and adds personal individuality to a concept (Lathrop, 2005).
Not to mention that the penalties for using someone’s work without citing it are rather harsh. In many schools, colleges and universities there are severe consequences, and in some cases, a person might be expelled. In the end, it is better to stay safe and cite all ideas and words that belong to other authors.
Overall, plagiarism is wrong on many levels. Everyone must know the rules of using someone else’s works, and make an honest effort in learning and understanding the concepts of other people, as well as one’s own.
Lathrop, A. (2005). Guiding Students from Cheating and Plagiarism to Honesty and Integrity. Westport: Libraries Unlimited.
Neville, C. (2010). The Complete Guide To Referencing And Avoiding Plagiarism. New York: McGraw-Hill International.
Pecorari, D. (2010). Academic Writing and Plagiarism: A Linguistic Analysis. New York: Continuum.
Sutherland-Smith, W. (2008). Plagiarism, the Internet, and Student Learning: Improving Academic Integrity. New York: Routledge.