Plagiarism 101
How to Write Term Papers
Without Being Sucked into the Black Hole
What it is • Helpful Strategies • Citation PracticeResourcesReferences Style Guides

Helpful Strategies: OK, so why do students plagiarize?

One of the most common reasons students plagiarize is because they feel overwhelmed. It's difficult to juggle the demands of several classes and have a social life. Many students also experience tremendous anxiety about writing assignments and research projects.   male student in anxious sweat  (by Sarah Malavasic)
    Artwork by Sarah Malavasic '02

Students engage in plagiarism for a number of other reasons as well, including: fear of asking for help with assignments, difficulty in finding and analyzing research materials, belief that unfair or unsympathetic treatment from a professor justifies cheating, or they get trapped into searching for the "one right answer." Unfortunately, a small number of students plagiarize out of laziness or surrender to the mistaken notion that "buying" a paper is not any different than paying for an education. However, plagiarism is never justified. (4)

Experience brings an understanding of how to break writing and research projects into manageable pieces. Seasoned writers are often more relaxed simply because they know how to plan their work. They have learned from past mistakes and recognize that writing is a process. Learning how to plan your research and writing assignments reduces a lot of the pressure that can foster plagiarism.

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What it is • Helpful Strategies • Citation PracticeResourcesReferences Style Guides