Introduction and Description of the Problem
Understanding plagiarism is a necessary step in an attempt to reduce chances of its occurrence. Therefore, it is important to define plagiarism as the improper adoption of another individual’s words, ideas, or methods (Smith 57). It is a rule and a good practice that if one uses another individual’s material; he or she has to properly acknowledge his or her source. When a writer cites a source properly, he or she has given credit where it is due, and he or she has also given his or her readers a clear way to track down the original sources on their own (Moed 216). Therefore, when works are not cited properly, plagiarism takes course and the works are said to be plagiarized. Internet plagiarism is a serious problem among students as low as sixth form. In 2008’s Association of Teachers and Lecturers survey, 58% of teachers acknowledged that plagiarism is a problem amongst sixth form students. Of this group of teachers, 28% approximated that 50% or more than 50% of assignments turned in by their students had evidence of plagiarism (atl.org.uk).
Plagiarism is a direct infringement of national academic misconduct policies, whether a writer borrows only one idea, a phrase, or an entire write-up (Lise, and Myers 9). Besides, if one passes off someone else’s work as his or her own, he or she probably has plagiarized that work, and could possibly face serious consequences. That is one of the hints that plagiarism is bad—it is a problem. Furthermore, plagiarism sabotages the work one is doing as a student. As much as a student is not expected to possess ideas that systematically differ from those of authorities and professional academics, he or she is charged with knowing how to find expert thoughts on a particular subject and how to cite those thoughts in the correct way.
In spite of the fact that students read about and take part in class discourses about plagiarism, other students do not really understand that plagiarism is a severe academic problem. As a matter of fact, it is apparent that convenience and accessibility mean that simulating Internet content is looked upon in and of itself less serious by students. Irrespective of whether or not plagiarism is deliberate or inadvertent, student writers would be fair to contemplate that their teachers and supervisors look at plagiarism as student delinquency, which that may bring about unsurprisingly negative consequences (Randall 16). Anything in this view is a problem that requires a permanent solution.
Looked at critically, plagiarism is a criminal conduct, which can be held to the same level as stealing others’ property (Smith 21). Plagiarism is constantly an issue at schools, colleges, universities and the commercial world, especially in cases involving students creating several pages using a substantial amount of research within a very short period. Because of the increased awareness of plagiarism as a problem, many schools and colleges, including Baylor School and Duke University, have organizations, such as an Office of Judicial Affairs or Honor Council, which review each reported case of plagiarism and decide the most appropriate punishment (Caroline and Vicinus 169).
Minor infringements or cases of plagiarism might attract grade “0” on a given assignment, while major violations may be punished with suspension or expulsion. In any case, plagiarism embarrasses the affected the student and will encourage scrutiny of his or her future work more closely than other students’ (Vera and Nelson 21). However, while it is very likely that instructors would be tempted to awards failing grades to students’ plagiarized assignments, it may be unjust to students who may not even be aware they are violating any policy by copying and pasting (Bill 114). Plagiarism is increasingly becoming a problem because technology has enabled so many middle and high school students to subscribe to electronic databases and the Web to deceitfully complete assignments. These services allow for more cutting and pasting of information, which is formatted and submitted as one’s assignment.
Consequences of the Problem
Most of the aftermaths of plagiarism are realized only when the plagiarizing student is caught. However, though not commonly detected, the personal consequences are experienced regardless of any external interest (Wayne, Ramsey, and Smith 87). Most commonly, students who plagiarize are unable to understand many of the research and writing abilities that the class ought to be imparting in them. Once such students leave school, they lack the capacity to produce write original content, because they were used to cheating in the past. Moreover, there is a psychological effect to plagiarism—the continuous lying and dishonesty can take its cost on the psyche.
The main consequence of plagiarism is that students that are hurt themselves (Lathrop and Kathleen 156). This argument is based on information that good academic research and writing call for a various skills that need to be learned by practice. Plagiarizing makes students fail to evaluate sources probably, take neat notes, pick appropriate quotations from a source, paraphrase accurately, and give credit to other creators for their ideas and words. Students that plagiarize may never understand these important learning skills, thence life while in college and after can be challenging.
Apart from hurting themselves, students that plagiarize also hurt others. The most affected group is the plagiarizing student’s classmates. On the other hand, the school or university that that students attends is also hurt. Even from a narrow perspective of this, submitting plagiarized assignments is unjust to students who do the same assignments on their own. Plagiarism also threatens the reliability of the academic grading system. Regardless of whether it is discovered or not, plagiarism infracts the implicit policy of the classroom, which stands that learners and instructors are working together to assist learners acquire and abilities that will enhance them to accomplish their potential. Besides, plagiarism sabotages the entire concept of academic honesty on which the academic spheres is based (Wayne, Ramsey, and Smith 87).
Several media correspondents, authors, academicians and designers have had their personal and professional reputes destroyed over allegations of plagiarism. In addition to plagiarists having their current work stopped, by being sacked or by having contracts terminated, they also find it hard to get jobs in their future. In fact, a remarkably bad or unforgettable incidence of plagiarism can destroy an individual’s reputation and force him or her change professions to avoid the humiliation of plagiarism.
Besides all the individuals, professional and institutional problems that plagiarism is likely to create, in other instances there are legal concerns as well. For instance, copying of a copyrighted material for profit can make the plagiarist pay pecuniary damages for any ill-gained profits as well as for any other possible losses the plagiarism may have made the original creator to experience (Caroline and Vicinus 169). In some instances, plagiarism can even lead in the plagiarist having to go through a court hearing where the result can be fines or imprisonment.
Owing to the seriousness on the problem of plagiarism, it is important to solutions before it is too late. These solutions are aimed at making the education system better, while students obtain the necessary study and research skills. Plagiarism is a problem that needs to be acted upon collectively by students, the faculty, administration, and the society at large (Schmidt, Kincheloe, Steinberg, and Thomas 115). Institutions need to immediately develop institutional Student Pledge that has to be integrated with the Student Code. This way, the pledge would inform students about plagiarism and avoid academic knavery by guaranteeing accountability. This pledge will also institutionalize procedures for handling cases of plagiarism. Students will also be required sign off on every assignment, assessment, or paper, that will be turned in for credit.
Another solution to the problem of plagiarism would be to develop standardized assessment systems. Students would then be able to prove command of the issues of academic integrity through filling in an assessment instrument. There should also be tutorials for students that perform below par. All schools, departments, and programs, and institution-wide unit serving with undergraduate learners ought to develop various tools to help train students about local practices concerning plagiarism (Schmidt, Kincheloe, Steinberg, and Thomas 115). These practices may include organizing institution-wide workshops. The essence of this solution is to create awareness about plagiarism and its consequences.
The last solution in this paper is creating a “President’s Statement on Plagiarism”. This concept is based on the reality that high visibility has been proved to dilute the problem of plagiarism; low visibility tends to lead students to believe that academic honesty is not important. Even after implementing all these solutions, there may be some notorious students who may continue cheating. To deal with such students, institutions can buy a plagiarism detection system or service. Such systems may deter plagiarism because every assignment will need to run through the software before it is turned in.
After soberly reviewing the consequences for plagiarism in the education and commercial industry, it is not wise to copy other creators’ work and present it as one’s own. Instead, a student should properly cite all the sources used in an assignment. Institutions should also play a role in creating a learning environment that deters plagiarism while encouraging academic integrity.