When borrowing the ideas of others, we must leave a record not for showing how the idea was encountered but so that the audience of our work should have a deeper experience with the text. One way of doing this is citing; citing is a way to add to the collective memory of humans. When we use other people’s ideas and fail to acknowledge them, it is said that we have not only kidnapped these ideas but also disrupted their collective memory. But we cannot avoid using other people’s ideas but we have to make sure we avoid failing to give credit. How shall we do this?

Before looking at the many ways in which we can avoid stealing or using other people’s ideas as though they are our own, it is very vital to have learners know that having a good grade comes from acquiring skills that show how these grades were acquired. It is also very crucial to have students research and write their ideas before they can have them on paper. reading through the source, internalizing it and having what you have understood written on paper could be very effective in making sure you submit work that is original.

Plagiarism avoidance

One simple rule to make sure that you prevent plagiarism is to always remember that; any composition you have not done personally must be cited inside the text and further incorporated in a reference section. For example, if a student is presented with an essay of ‘violence in media’, they can read through a variety of researches and probably wish to use a passage from Rhodes article of ‘Hollow claims about fantasy violence’. In using a passage from this source, students must include the name of the author and the year of publication at the end of the passage to show that these ideas are borrowed. There are so many ways to make sure that you cite properly;

  • The first option, use a direct quote and cite it. By using a source, one can be sure to avoid plagiarism by using a direct quote from the source and have it followed by the name of the author and the year of publication.
  • The second option, paraphrasing the quote. Other students prefer to use the same exact words in the quote and follow it with a citation. But another effective way to avoid plagiarism is by reading the quote, understand it and have it written in your own words and still followed by the name of the author and the year of publication.
  • Option three, explain the quote. In explaining the quote, one can make sure the citation comes before the real quote in full explanation and still have it followed by a citation.

There are so many reasons why students find it easy to submit copied work. One of the main reasons is being assigned something similar to what they can comfortably find on the internet. Another excuse student give for submitting plagiarized work is when they have a wrong attitude towards the course, lack the skills and time to engage in research. These excuses are some of the reasons why students find it easy to keep up with their peers. Students also have a busy schedule with more than one assignment from different courses to accomplish, still have extracurricular activities to engage in, meet with friends, have time for family and study for exams. Therefore the best way to respond to assignments is to plagiarize because they do not want to be left behind by their peers.

This happens because students are not taken through what is expected of them from the beginning of the semester. There are also not support systems in school to have them find learning fun. The many assignments have close deadlines and they cannot afford to procrastinate and so they find an easy way out by copying what they think is similar to what they have been asked to do. However, this situation can still be dealt with. One way of making assignments fun for students is by asking them to submit drafts of their final work and by doing so, the student will be able to take as much time as possible to engage in research. Another way to avoid plagiarized work is by taking students through how to avoid plagiarizing the works of others. Students should be taught how to cite when using other people’s ideas because most times plagiarism happens because students are not aware of how to cite properly.

Having students aware of the most common styles of citation can reduce the trend of plagiarism. It would also be very constructive if teachers show students how they can check for plagiarism on their own using internet software. Turnitin software is one example of an online checker that helps minimize the instance of plagiarism by running through the document highlighting the different areas that have been plagiarized. In addition, students can also be taught on the strategy of note taking which is beneficial in writing original assignments. Note taking together with the methods listed above could save students more time and have them understand clearly what is expected of them.