A few weeks ago, we were given an assignment. We were to write a four-page essay on the effects of globalization on feminism. We were supposed to submit it after one week. One week was sufficient to carry out the research and write a quality issue. It was important to present a well-researched and high-quality paper since it would represent 30% of our total grading marks at the end of the year. One of my classmates found an essay that was addressing the same issue. The source of the essay was the internet and rather than reading it and using it to have a deeper and better understanding of the issue, he copied the whole of it and submitted the work as his own. Fortunately or unfortunately, the class teacher used a plug checker to check the authenticity and originality of our papers. The teacher found that my classmates paper was wholly and plagiarized. He was given zero marks and is now in a very precarious position. He may not achieve the required grades at the end of the year.
Plagiarism is a worldwide phenomenon and is affecting all schools in the world. The rates of plagiarism have been increasing at an alarming rate. Plagiarism can be defined as the use and present of someone elses work as ones own.
Eret and Gokmenoglu define plagiarism as using and presenting someone elses work as ones own. They also describe it as academic dishonesty. The authors point out that plagiarism is a worldwide phenomenon and is affecting all schools in the world. Plagiarism is one of the primary manifestations of student academic dishonesty that welcomes a range of behaviors that include copying, stealing, or buying ideas, words, material, works, documents, or other people's works by presenting them as their own, without giving credit for their authorship. It is a major problem in our learning institutions and needs to be analyzed critically.
They say that incidences of acts of academic dishonesty and plagiarism, in particular in examinations, written works, and other academic tasks have been on the rise at an alarming rate and that institutions have to come up with the solutions of curbing this problem and restore ethical norms in the education system. The authors conduct a study on the perceptions of plagiarism on students and academicians. Through the use of a survey, the authors ask students whether they understand what plagiarism is, what it means to them and what the reasons that make them plagiarize are. The findings of the study show that even though students do know that plagiarism has many negative effects, they still plagiarize because of difficulties in understanding a foreign language. Some of the other reasons given by students include pressure to get good grades, the difficulty of the exam or assigned work, the need to raise the grade of the course, many examinations or work for the same date and heavy academic load. Eret and Gokmenoglu further point out that most students do not understand what plagiarism entails, its different forms and worse still, they do not know the many negatives of plagiarism. Eret and Gokmenoglu propose that students should be punished severely if they are found to be cheating or plagiarizing. They add that an example should be set so that other students become afraid of the practice.
Foster (2009) discusses some of the methods that learning institutions have adopted so that they can stop plagiarism. The author discusses how technology and innovation are used to prevent plagiarism. Some of the techniques that the author discusses are: software which checks the plagiarism rates in a paper, fingerprint identification mechanisms (this is used for online classes) and program web assessors. Foster also discusses some of the harmful effects of plagiarism. He says that plagiarism is equivalent to refusing to think and that it is a practice which goes against the essence of the university. Foster says that even though technology has made it easier to detect and show plagiarism, learning institutions are very reluctant when it comes to adopting these new technologies. Foster concludes by saying that it is high time schools stopped being bureaucratic and embraced these new technologies. It is the responsibility of teachers and heads of institutions to take action and tackle this issue.
Like Eret and Gokmenoglu, Gabriel (2010) says that students commit plagiarism without realizing that they are doing something wrong. He provides some of the ways through which students unintentionally plagiarize. The article lists some studies which were conducted between 2006 and 2010 on plagiarism in institutions of higher learning. The studies show that more than 15,000 students have been involved in cheating and plagiarism in one way or the other. He provides some simple ways through which plagiarism can be detected. The first way to detect plagiarism, for example, depends on the teacher's or teacher's analysis of the suspect text by identifying inconsistencies in ideas, vocabulary, style, citations from bibliographic sources and other elements. Another requires looking for certain elements in the text that tend to suspect plagiarism, such as (a) using different citation formats, (b) dispensing with bibliographic references, quotations or notes, (c) writing with various types of letter, (d) use vocabulary, style of expression, and grammatical structure that are above or below what the student usually writes; and (e) use of unknown references or non-academic sources.
Jaschik (2010) analyses some of the efficient and effective ways and techniques that could be used to plagiarism. Jaschik looks into a study conducted by Thomas Dee and Brian Job. These two had also researched on techniques which could be used to detect and stop plagiarism. The findings of the study showed that through sensitizing students what plagiarism was, the different forms of plagiarism and the effects of plagiarism on their academic and personal lives, students would be influenced not to cheat or plagiarize other peoples works. The study had conducted a survey and students were asked to give reasons why they would not plagiarize. Most of them said that it was not because of fear of detection or punishment; rather, it was because of being taught about integrity. Thomas and Brian provide several recommendations to schools. One of the recommendations is that schools should adopt an educational approach in minimizing and stopping plagiarism. The authors say that some of the methods used such as punishments and moral persuasion have less impact on the students. He recommends actions aimed at helping the student to understand the particularities and requirements of evaluation of academic work, as well as to reflect on acts contrary to academic honesty.
Why Schools and Academicians Should Be Concerned About Plagiarism
Plagiarism is harmful in several ways. The first is that plagiarism is equivalent to refusing to think. Indeed, when we do a written work or an oral presentation and use the ideas of others, we are using what others thought not what think for ourselves. The University is an academic area where we should learn how to think critically. If I plagiarized, I would be doing something contradictory to the essence of University, and it would be degrading the efforts of my teachers and the learning institution as a whole. Plagiarism can also result in the cancellation of a students work and prevent people from getting jobs later on. Plagiarism has to be dealt with before it worsens.
It is the responsibility of teachers and heads of institutions to take action and tackle this issue. Most schools use websites to detect plagiarism then penalize the student. This is not the way forward. Rather than addressing the problem, institutions decide to punish the culprit. Teachers and school heads should take it upon themselves to educate students about the adverse effects of plagiarism. Students should constantly be reminded and encouraged to avoid plagiarizing. Through sensitization and educating the students to see the adverse effects of the practice, they will avoid plagiarism.
I do not agree with Eret and Gokmenoglu (2009) recommendation of punishment being a solution strategy to tackling plagiarism issue. First, there are some students who do not understand the extent of plagiarism and they unintentionally plagiarize someone elses work with realizing it. Punishment is a weak and ineffective method, and it should be applied as a last resort. Many students believe and know that plagiarism is only when one copy-pastes. However, there are many different forms of plagiarism, and if students are taught to them and told about the negative effects of plagiarism, there will be a change in the attitude of students with regards to plagiarism.
Through educating students the various forms of plagiarism and the negative consequences of the actions, students will start adhering and conforming to the rules dealing with plagiarism. Most students are not aware of the many cons of plagiarism, and much more are not aware of how plagiarism is committed. They urge institutions of higher learning to establish a culture and institutional policy which favors academic honestly use appropriate techniques to teach relevant curriculum content and evaluate student learning, provide appropriate instruction and guidance about assignments and define the concepts and behaviors which are associated with academic dishonesty.
Plagiarism is theft, and it affects academic standards negatively. College education thrives in a culture of academic honesty. The lack of this culture erodes the reputation of a university institution and the confidence in its graduates and graduates. In this context, higher education in most countries has been transformed from a center dedicated to the development and construction of thought to non-business or commercial, with emphasis on massification, productivity, and consumption (UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean, 2007). This favors an educational environment based on unbridled competition and obtaining high grades "at any price," where ethical obligations are violated, and the motivation to learn is affected. It contributes to generating imprecise and invalid information about students' learning (Diaz et al. 30).
The reasons for committing behaviors associated with academic dishonesty and plagiarism are diverse and complex. Diaz et al. (38) show that the five reasons selected as very important and critical to act dishonestly by 791 students of the University of Puerto Rico, namely: (1) pressure to get good grades (91%); ; (2) the difficulty of the exam or assigned work (90%); (3) many examinations or work for the same date (89%); (4) the need to raise the grade of the course (88%); and (5) the heavy academic load (88%).
As I we have highlighted, academic dishonesty is a complex issue that needs to be addressed with multiple strategies, and the main one is prevention. John (24) conducted a research on how the issue can be dealt with and they came up with four initiatives: (1) establishing a culture and institutional policy in favor of academic honesty; (2) define the concepts and behaviors associated with academic dishonesty; (3) use appropriate techniques to teach relevant curriculum content and to evaluate student learning, and (4) provide appropriate instruction and guidance about assignments.
Through educating students the various forms of plagiarism and the negative consequences of the actions, students will start adhering and conforming to the rules dealing with plagiarism. Most students are not aware of the many cons of plagiarism, and much more are not aware of how plagiarism is committed. Knowledge is power. Equipping students with knowledge on plagiarism is the b...
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