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research papers I have prepared so far have occasionally required me to conduct
research, either in the library or using online sources. Indeed, researching is
an inevitable activity in learning as it exposes one to experts’ opinions in
the field, as well as gaining knowledge. One of the most common challenges that
face students while conducting research relates to plagiarism. Plagiarism, as defined by Cornell University,
is the use of other persons’ words, research, and ideas, and failing to
acknowledge the original sources of the
information. While preparing research papers, I must admit that it has been a
process of learning how to recognize plagiarism, understand its consequences,
and therefore, avoid it. In this regard, the essay is, in essence, a reflection of my academic journey, particularly with regard to carrying our research, and the
ways to uphold the values of academic integrity by avoiding plagiarism.

Prior to exposure to the concept of
plagiarism, I have to admit that I did not consider it such a critical aspect in academics. I have, however, come to
understand that plagiarism is as grave as any other form of academic
dishonesty. It is, indeed tantamount to cheating and disrespect of other
people’s academic efforts, whether done intentionally or by chance. This is because a student who practices
plagiarism seeks to pass on the ideas of others as if they are his or her own, meaning
the audience of the papers prepared will get a false impression. Institutions
of learning take the matter of plagiarism very highly. This is the reason I, and I believe every other student should take plagiarism with utmost caution. Notably,
the offense can lead to punishment with
penalties that include deduction or cancellation of the grade (Students’ Guide
to Academic Integrity). In certain instances, the
student can also be expelled from the course or college. It is also not
unlikely that such academic misconduct may reflect permanently on a student’s
records and eventually hurt future career
prospects. Having recognized the downsides of plagiarism, I have sought to gain
skills to help me identify scenarios that qualify to be plagiarism cases, and
importantly, avoid engaging in the practices. As such, sources of information
and data should be cited. The most effective
way to identify if the information requires being
cited is by evaluating if it is common knowledge
and if it fully or partly alludes to someone else’s work. Information that is common
knowledge or facts that are in the public domain need not be cited unlike information obtained either partly
or in full from people’s work.

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have some developed skills to enable me to avoid
plagiarism in my subsequent academic work. The most effective way to avoid
falling into the trap of plagiarism is by planning ahead and taking time to work on own papers. I have realized that
the pressure associated with the last minute rush to complete assignments increases
the likelihood of attempting to copy from fellow students, from textbooks, or from online publications which
all qualify to be plagiarism. I, therefore, always start working on my
assignments early enough so that I have ample time to conduct research and cite
my sources accordingly. Moreover, I am now conversant with certain skills that
I have found to be indispensable in avoiding plagiarism. They include
paraphrasing, summarizing, note taking, quoting and referencing. According to University of Southern Mississippi’s Plagiarism Tutorial, summarizing
involves compressing another person’s ideas while highlighting the most
important points. Proper use of the techniques where appropriate helps
eliminate most scenarios that would otherwise end up becoming plagiarism cases.
Going forward, I hope to keep using the techniques to avoid plagiarism. Paraphrasing
entails presenting sourced ideas in one’s own words. As I have come to realize,
paraphrasing someone else’s work is not a leeway to avoid acknowledging the source.
I feel that paraphrasing is one skill that will continue to be of immense use
to me due to its applicability. Furthermore, a paraphrased statement should not
distort the original information; it
should be accurate. Just as important is the ability to correctly cite and
document the source in accordance with the
discipline’s guidelines. Citations should be genuine and not just made up to
deceive the professors. Similarly, failing to take notes well, as is usually
the case when done hurriedly, one is likely to provide adequate details of the source of information.

is a pertinent concern in higher
education that I have come to acknowledge as a serious challenge to academic
success. Plagiarism remains an academic offense
whether it is intentional or not. It is, therefore, upon the student to
exercise discipline and due diligence to avoid it and the negative repercussions
it has. I have consequently made an effort
to understand what it entails and why it hurts the student’s academic life. Moreover,
I have familiarized myself with the skills and techniques that are needed to
conduct plagiarism free research work. Going
forward, I intend to utilize the
skills in every assignment that I am required to complete. This includes identifying the information that requires
being cited or documented, and doing it

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