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Plagiarism: An Epidemic

There’s an epidemic in our schools. It’s been around for centuries and is so common that sometimes it gets overlooked. It’s upsetting, frustrating and even scary (if you’re accused of it that is). What is this monster lurking in the corner? It’s plagiarism!

This article will define plagiarism and provide you with ways to keep your work safe and plagiarism free.

So what is Plagiarism? It’s the act of copying and claiming ownership of someone else’s work and it’s on the rise. With the invention of the internet, we have boundless information at our fingertips. It’s much easier access a library of knowledge in our homes, which leads to a greater temptation to cheat.

Kids, in public schools, private schools, and at home, are tempted to copy information they find on sites like Wikipedia and pass it off as their own.

But do they truly understand what they’re doing? According to Plagiarism Today, a Yale study shows “children see the right and wrong of plagiarism as early as [the age of] 5.” And the repercussions of plagiarism are serious. In school, someone could fail a class or receive detention. In the real world, they could be fined, sued, or thrown in jail.

Plagiarism takes many forms and can include, but isn’t limited to: blatant copying, summarizing, paraphrasing or quoting without proper citations, paying someone to write a school paper for you (not ghostwriting), or having a parent, guardian or older sibling write for you.

Then how do we avoid falling into the plagiarism trap? Use proper citations when quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing someone else’s work. Access online plagiarism checkers that review your work and can show you where edits need to be made. Find new and creative ways to discuss research topics. For example, if writing about a historical figure, you could discuss something specific in their life, maybe a hobby or illness, and find a way to relate it to the 21st century or your own experiences.

In today’s internet society, it’s easier than ever to plagiarize, and that’s why it’s so important for students to remain honest in their work. The easiest way to avoid plagiarism is to cite your sources. If you want to know how to stay safe and cite sources, tune in for next week’s article: “Citations Made Easy,” our guide for clear, simple, foolproof citations!


Bailey, Jonathan.“Why Plagiarism Is on the Rise.” Plagiarism Today, 11 Nov. 2011,

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