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Plagiarism and Academic Honesty

            In the Old West a person would be hung by the neck for stealing a rancher’s prized horse. To a writer, their words and writings’ are that prized horse; and the varmint that steals it must be punished for the misdeed! Although, thieves do not swing from the business end of a rope in today’s society, they are still punished severely. If one steals another’s writings, ideas, or phrases, and brands it as one’s own, this is plagiarism. There are many definitions for plagiarism, however, they all agree with one thing, it is cheating and morally wrong. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill defines plagiarism, “the deliberate or reckless representation of another’s words, thoughts or ideas as one’s own without attribution in connection with submission of academic work, whether graded or otherwise.”(The Writing Center, UNC, 2010) Plagiarism is a moral transgression and is dealt with harshly by administrators.

            Ignorance has never been an excepted excuse for breaking the law. Children are taught at a very young age not to take something that does not belong to them. Yet, even with stiff penalties, “about 80% of college students admitted to plagiarizing content at least once, according to The Center for Academic Integrity.” (Dye, Jessica; To Catch a Thief, 2010) The student that commits plagiarism brings shame to themselves and the university. “[A] university values what the public thinks of its faculty and students…Not to formally recognize the work and influences of others in your writing violates an ethic of mutual regard.”(Hillard, Van E., Consequences to Plagiarism at Duke, Duke, 2009) Plagiarism and dishonesty in any setting, is stealing and cheating, and it has serious consequences, both academically and legally.

            In the Information Age of Technology, stealing another’s ideas or statements is easier than previous generations. But, detecting plagiarized works are easier as well. As fast as a thief can poach information, new inventions are being made to catch them. The invention of such detection tools as Turnitin, Plagialnform, and others is to protect individuals from such thievery. (Dye, Jessica; To Catch a Thief, 2010) As long as there is so much valuable information in the world, there will always be some A Moral person whom will plagiarise.

            The best way to prevent being hung for stealing is not to steal! In other words, to prevent plagiarism use original thoughts and ideas, and only use resources to back up that information, never forget to cite the resources used, and when in doubt cite. If a student plagiarized by ‘accident” the first thing is to correct it, write a letter of apology to the author, then write a letter of apology and accountability to the Dean. This will in no way defer the consequences, but it may help refresh the outlook on one’s character. Still the best defense is knowledge; know how to cite APA style, and know it well, this will prevent plagiarism and the consequences following.


Dye, J. (2007, Sep). To Catch A Thief.

            Retrieved from: EBSCO Host database

Hillard, V. E. (2009, Dec). Plagiarism-Its Nature and Consequences. Duke Libraries.

Retrieved from:

The Writing Center. Plagiarism. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2010, Oct).


The Writing Center. Quotations. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2010, Oct)


About Stephanie Ann Kinzel

Small town country woman, American voter, Event Planner & Fundraiser, Writer/Blogger, Secretary/Treasurer/Education Coordinator/Community Social Responsibility Team Leader of non-profit.

Posted on February 7, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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