Understanding of plagiarism


In recent years Plagiarism has become one of the hot topics in Academic learning and research studies. Plagiarism according to oxford dictionary is defined as "the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own". There is record of plagiarism in almost all fields. For example Dr. Raj Persaud, a psychiatrist was in the limelight when he accepted plagiarism charges against him. He had used other scholar's works and ideas in his articles and TV shows, Times Online (2008). Conferring towards education, with the advent of the internet and other advancements in information technology students find it easy to plagiarise. According to BBC (2009) "modern gadgets worsened pupils' spelling and concentration, encouraged plagiarism and disrupted lessons". Copying and pasting information from the internet, published books, journals, websites and databases and using it in their own work are some of the ways that students use to commit Plagiarism. The number of students committing plagiarism has considerably increased in the last decade. According to a research survey by Ashworth et al (1997) in US, 80% students have accepted that they have committed plagiarism at least only once. Therefore, understanding the importance and stopping student from committing plagiarism is necessary. Based on some of the resources, I've tried to define Plagiarism, why students commit and the ways to stop students from involving in Academic dishonest activities.

Understanding Plagiarism:

According to American Association of University Professors (1989), Plagiarism is defined as "taking over the ideas, written words of another, without acknowledgement and with the intention that they be taken as the work of the deceiver". Considering the above definition, whenever a student copies work from other student, published books, internet and uses in their own report or assignment without giving due credit to the author is considered as Plagiarism. Even when a student commits plagiarism without the real intention of cheating it is still considered as Plagiarism.

Types of Plagiarism:

According to Park (2004) Plagiarism by students falls in any one of the following five types. They are as follows.

  • Collusion Plagiarism: This is when a student submits an assignment done by a group of students under his name.
  • Complete Plagiarism: This is when a student submits a work which is entirely copied from one or more sources or completely done by another person.
  • Self Plagiarism: This is when a student presents the same work done for another course without the permission from the tutor. This is often referred to a Self Plagiarism.
  • Copying information from a source and paraphrasing without proper understanding and acknowledging the author.
  • The last type is submitting the work of another student with or without the permission of the other student.

Why Plagiarism has become more widespread?

The number of students committing Plagiarism has increased considerably over the years. A survey by Dordoy (2002) among students and staffs explains the reasons for rise in the number of students involving in Plagiarism. The implications of the survey is shown in the following table

According to this survey results, bad time management or Laziness is considered as the main reason for students committing Plagiarism. The ready availability of information and resources on the internet is one of the main reasons for students involving in Plagiarism. The presence of search engines like google.com can bring rare and valuable information in milliseconds. There are also certain websites which sells academic essays and research works for students. Students mainly from other countries lacking good English writing and verbal skill pay huge amount of money to buy essays from these websites. "UKEssays.com says it had a threefold increase in overseas students buying university essays- almost half of its customers", BBC (2008). According to JISC (2002), student lifestyle and pressure from their families induce students to involve in various dishonest activities to get good grades with less effort. The increase in the number of people involving in Academic dishonest activities such as cheating and Plagiarism can be shown with the proof of students getting caught for related activities. According to Times (2008), during the academic year 2006-07 alone, number of students caught for Plagiarism is 801 in one of the universities in London.

Ways to Prevent Students from Committing Plagiarism:

Universities can prevent students from Plagiarism. The best way is the use of Plagiarism detection software which detects Plagiarist activities by students. This can point out students who cheat easily.

Universities can implement strict rules against Plagiarism defaulters. Students must be made aware of the consequences of Plagiarism. The consequences of Plagiarism are always severe in almost all the universities. According to Assessment Regulation and Procedures Handbook 2009/10 of Sheffield Hallam University the students who are caught for Plagiarism are subjected to various sanctions ranging from formal warning; zero in the assessment to expulsion from the University.

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