WHAT IS THE WORST ACADEMIC OFFENSE?

PLAGIARISM!!! This is what I believe to be the worst academic offense. According to the University of Oxford[1], Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work or idea as your own, with or without their consent. My reference to the university of oxford is an example of how to acknowledge a source. Plagiarism is very common, and it proves a lack of understanding or knowledge in your essay or academic work.

In the past years as both an undergraduate and a postgraduate student, I have been a victim of plagiarism unknowingly and knowingly lol. This was either due to my impatience or lack of interest in a particular essay. However as a research student, I have learnt that the same time I spent paraphrasing a particular term would have been the same time I would have spent to think properly and have a good understanding of the topic. A lot of students are victims of this act, I do understand that as students there are times we can’t meet up to deadlines and want a shortcut but that is very wrong and not an excuse. Apart from the academic sanctions for perpetrators, education is quite expensive which a lot of people/students have sacrificed a lot to be in the academic world, therefore I believe we should be very focused and willing to think or create new ideas instead of borrowing or using someone else’s knowledge.

There are several types and forms of plagiarism, however, I will be explaining the forms in the context of the types of plagiarism, which are:

 Self-Plagiarism: Submitting his/her previous work either it is part of the work or the full work. Using myself as an example, I had my master’s dissertation in the topic ‘Corporal punishment of children in Nigeria’ which is related to my Ph.D. thesis ‘How does the Nigerian government enforce the security of child’s rights? An analysis of corporal punishment in public schools’. I got tempted to use some part of my master’s thesis into my PhD thesis, but it is wrong, and I avoided doing such, this is also to avoid academic dishonesty. YES, I am sure some people will say I can do anything with any of my academic work, sorry, you can’t except in situations where approval is granted. Another example of self-plagiarism is submitting the same work in two different academic institutions or authorities. Even though they are the same or similar topic, the context must be different or referenced properly.

 Direct Plagiarism: This includes word for word quotations without referencing the source, the act of cutting and pasting from the internet is wrong in the academic realm. For example, as a law student, there are several laws that I cannot paraphrase because they are laws, therefore I quote them with inverted commas to indicate that words are exactly the same from the same and then I reference them accordingly.

 Mosaic Plagiarism: The act of using phrases from other sources without using quotation marks or paraphrasing or writing it in halves. Paraphrasing is reasonably essential. However, it is wrong to paraphrase a work with the intention of claiming ownership of the idea.

 Accidental Plagiarism: In instances where the source is not mentioned or is incorrect. It is important to use the correct referencing style, depending on the discipline.

Avoiding plagiarism will help to have an opinion of oneself, instead of relying of other scholarly work or writers. It is difficult to have a personal view or opinion, however, that is why you are in academics.


[1] https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/academic/guidance/skills/plagiarism

3 Comments

  1. Plagiarism!!! I learnt this in my second year as an undergraduate student in University of Lagos. Two of my lecturers emphasized this so most of the students got used to the reference style.
    I felt I could tell people I have never being guilty of plagiarism until I was told to submit an article related to my final long essay as undergraduate student with the topic ‘The History of Colonial Educational Policy in Nigeria, case study of Queen’s College”.
    I am definitely guilty of self plagiarism but I am glad I didn’t submit the article to be published.
    As a member of American Historical Association (AHA), I have learnt that plagiarism is a big offense.

    Like

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