Plagiarism happens for a number of reasons—one is because some students decide consciously to gain credit for the work of others. However, most incidents of plagiarism are not the product of deliberate cheating but of underdeveloped academic skills.

Plagiarism, in these cases, is a consequence of a lack skills needed to be successful in a tertiary learning environment. If you develop these skills, your chances of being accused of plagiarism will be greatly reduced.



Intellectual insecurity: the 'use your own words' paradox Find your own voice
Poor time management Learn to use your time effectively
Lack of a clear argument: not answering the question Develop a clear argument
Lack of critical/ analytical skills Asking questions and developing answers
Inadequate research Read and research more widely
Poor note-taking Develop note-taking systems
Poor referencing skills Learn how to acknowledge your sources
Underdeveloped writing skills Work to improve your writing
Cheating Don't do it!

See next: The path to avoiding plagiarising

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