How Does Plagiarism Happen?

Plagiarism happens for a number of reasons—one is because some students decide consciously to gain credit for the work of others. However, most incidents of plagiarism are the product not of deliberate cheating, but of underdeveloped academic skills.

Plagiarism in these cases is a consequence of students' difficulties with the cluster of skills and states of mind needed to be successful in a tertiary learning environment. If you develop these skills your chances of being accused of plagiarism will be greatly reduced.

Problem

Solution

Intellectual insecurity: the 'use your own words' paradoxFind your own voice
Poor time managementLearn to use your time effectively
Lack of a clear argument: not answering the questionDevelop a clear argument
Lack of critical/ analytical skillsAsking questions and developing answers
Inadequate researchRead and research more widely
Poor note-takingDevelop note-taking systems
Poor referencing skillsLearn how to acknowledge your sources
Underdeveloped writing skillsWork to improve your writing
CheatingDon't do it!

See next: The path to avoiding plagiarising

Related tags: Academic skills