All my own!
What is plagiarism? Ajay, who writes for the Manila Bulletin's Technorama (I couldn't establish the link at this time, sorry) section featured the Blogkadahan members about their take on the issue which appeared on Sept. 25 issue. Here, the blogkadahan members were one in defining the word, albeit said differently, and condemn the practice as it is very unproductive.
Anyway, one of the greatest sins a student can do during his lifetime is to plagiarize. Plagiarizing is the act of passing somebody else's work as your own. This can be in the form of copying actual words or ideas. Merely paraphrasing the sentences is a form of plagiarism. In this day and age of computers, to plagiarise is so tempting. Why not? All you have to do is "copy and paste"! How many high school students have done that? I guess a lot. But that doesn't make it right. Plagiarism is a crime which teachers should be conscious about in checking what the students submit to them.
Sometimes, students miss the point. What is important with research work is not only the substance you learn from the information gathered but more importantly, the learning of the process. Data gathering is an art in itself. One has to gather enough materials so as to be able to form a substantial conclusion. i don't know how teachers give the assignment but if I remember correctly, my teachers used to say, "Okay, make a research on the life of Jose Rizal... Compare and contrast his life with that of Andres Bonifacio... and then those powerful, USE YOUR OWN WORDS."
Honestyly, at the time, I didn't exactly know what that meant. I have heard those words quite often that it kind of lost its meaning. Since there are high school students reading this (I hope) I'll try to do it using a metaphor. In making your research, picture yourself as having seen a film and narrating the entire story to a friend. Now, I'm sure all of us have done that, right? You see a movie that you really liked, you tell your best friend how you liked the film. You are ecstatic. First you tell him/her a summary of what happened in the story. How the protagonist was beaten up at the start and how good triumphs over evil in the end. Then, you realize your friend does not yet share your enthusiasm, so you give comparisons like, "Yes, it's better than Harry Potter I and give reasons why you think so!" Then, if you have more time and you have a good listener, you go on deeper. You analyse the film. you talk about the persuasions of the characers - "IN YOUR OWN WORDS"
Well, in making your research, the books that you read would be the film. You synthesize these, compare the points where the authors agree and take note if there are conflicting accounts, make up your mind and write about what you think it is all about. Should you need to copy a phrase, do not forget to cite the source. You could either use footnoting or incorporate it in the text. ex. George Bernard Shaw (1956:p. 10) said: "I dream of things not here today and wonder why." (note, the year and page is bogus)
Remember, education is not really all about Math or Science or whatever subject there is. More than anything, it is about teaching you how to think! In like manner, research is not only about learning the content, what is more important is learning how to do it. hope that helped.