Plagiarism and academic misconduct

Executive Summary

The use of technology has enhanced the convenience, flexibility, and efficiency of both preparatory and continuing education. Unfortunately, academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, has shown a positive correlation with the increased use of technology in education.

Being a growing problem, plagiarism is generally defined as “literary theft” and “academic dishonesty” in the literature, and it is really crucial to be well-informed on this topic to prevent the problem and stick to the ethical norms. With this motive, the aim of this paper is to investigate, mostly, the prospective students’ views on plagiarism, the degree to which they are knowledgeable about plagiarism, and the factors leading them to plagiarize, if any.

In this paper I will talk about plagiarism and how it affects everybody even if it is a student, teacher, client, doctor or any other profession. I will discuss about the policies and the penalties that must be used in order to stop the plagiarism or at least to reduce the rate in which people use this awful „tool”.


Academic misconduct, including cheating and plagiarism among students, is not a new phenomenon. Of the various kinds of academic misconduct, plagiarism remains one of the most problematic student behaviors and has been a popular research focus.

The most alarming trend in internet use is plagiarism , the failure to reference another’s work. Plagiarism is a dynamic and multi-layered phenomenon. It is a form of research misconduct and a serious violation of the norms of science. It is the misrepresentation of another’s ideas or words as one’s own, without proper acknowledgement of the original source.

Numerous studies have documented that the reasons students give for cheating are anchored in individuals general motivation (e.g., self-efficacy for specific-domain learning performance) or personal understandings of cheating consequences (e.g., outcome expectancies) based on individual\’s beliefs. With rapid advances in information and communication technology, the Internet offers students extraordinary access to myriad information pertinent to their academic lives, as well as their daily lives.

What is plagiarism (cyber-plagiarism)?

In the past, plagiarism was limited mostly, but not entirely, to printed sources such as books, newspapers, journal and magazine articles. With the convenience of digital copy-and-paste techniques, student cheating with an emphasis on plagiarism has changed and expanded.

With the expansion of digital content, academic integrity has been facing the growing threat of cyber-plagiarism. Cyberplagiarism is a relatively new term that refers to use of information obtained from the World Wide Web (WWW) without proper citation . Cyber-plagiarism is an emerging term for the copying and pasting of online content, a practice characterized by the extraordinary ease of access that, owing to the Internet, would-be plagiarizers have to potentially plagiarize materials. It has become an increasingly serious problem because would-be plagiarizers, many of whom are students, may simply overlook the importance of citation.

The cut and paste function of computers turns copying a vast amount of information into a few keystrokes, making plagiarism easier than ever. It is defined as stealing and passing off as one’s own.

When plagiarism occurs?

You can either copy word for word from different sources , like books, journals or even some pages on the internet without placing the copied material in quotation marks and writing the source in a simple footnote or a list of references. Plagiarism is also when someone paraphrase another’s organization without acknowledging the source. And ,of course, is when we for example write an article and we do not acknowledge that it follows the outline , the content and of course , the main ideas from others written and sometimes orally presented work.

I remember that in my high school years I had some trouble with plagiarism. Because we as pupils we all have to write essay, but we, I don’t think as a pupil we have the ability to create own thought or create theory , so we always have to consult resources, right? In the way of consulting, in the way of selecting the data, we do not know, at least I myself do not know the proper way of how to quote it. So I might put myself at risk in plagiarism. But I do not intend to copy thought really, I always want to use my own words to interpret and express it, but maybe the situation is not allowed it, or I just don’t know the proper way of dealing with it. My teacher told me that, it is OK use others’ opinion and sometimes it’s necessary but you must give reference. It takes time but first it can avoid plagiarism, and it can make your essay more professional.

Why people plagiarize?

Increasing instances of plagiarism reported these days could be due to one or more of the following reasons: easy availability of information, intense pressure for publication (publish or perish) in academia for career progression, lack of confidence and writing skill, particularly amongst novices, writing manuscripts in a hurry or under stress for achieving a target, lack of awareness about what constitutes plagiarism, lack of awareness amongst authors that it is incorrect to copy-paste word-by-word even if one gives reference to the original text, many authors also believe that there is nothing wrong in using their own concept/data/ text in a new article without citation, as it does not entail copying from someone else\’s work and habitual plagiarists, those who can write a research paper in no time just by engaging themselves with their internet-enabled computers, as they have done in the past with or without getting caught

How to prevent people from plagiarizing?

  1. Culture of involving and engaging students should be created: lecturers should have to provide interesting tasks and be open to students’ opinions and ideas and to explain the tasks. The number of deceptions should be less if students respect their lecturers are interested in their studies;
  2. Academic culture in institution must be an example of good experience to students. Lecturers have to apply the same requirements to the students and to themselves;
  3. Safe presentation, return and system of evaluation of written works have be used so, that students could not take work of other student, works could not be lost, every student could get remarks from the lecturer and could be informed about advantages and disadvantages of his or her work.

What are the anti-plagiarism policies?

Most institutions have written policies that specify how cheating is to be handled. Plagiarism may or may not be delineated as a unique kind of cheating. If plagiarism is not mentioned in the policy, the assumption can be made that it is akin to cheating and should be dealt with as such.

To cope with the epidemic of Internet plagiarism, many colleges and universities add to their formal honor codes, promote greater awareness programs, enact strong enforcement policies, and install anti-plagiarism software. Of these countermeasures, systematic detection using anti-plagiarism software provides a pertinent and effective method.

Regardless of the reason, nowadays, there have been prominent attempts to detect the plagiarism and to punish plagiarists through certain set of ethical rules in higher education institutions. Besides these rules to discourage the attempt to plagiarize others’ work, especially, the invention of technological plagiarism detection tools can be, indeed, beneficial if used by instructors and institutions effectively.

Plagiarism policies in educational settings and reports in the media of the ‘‘epidemic’’ of plagiarism do not help dispel this view: They tend to focus on detection and punishment rather than learning, and not to distinguish intentional from unintentional plagiarism .

How to use anti-plagiarism policies?

For example , the American Dietetics Association (ADA),actually the students that are ADA members must respect the Code of Ethics for the profesions of dietetics. By becoming ADA members they must commit to honesty, fairness and integrity. When a dietetics student who is an ADA member is found guilty of plagiarism, a complaint may be filed with the ADA Ethics Committee. Once the complaint has been filed, the student will be notified of it and provided an opportunity to respond. The Ethics Committee will take into account all details of the case and determine from the viewpoint of professional integrity an appropriate penalty for the student. Given the implications for professional practice it is pertinent to recommend that institutions urgently review and possibly revise their policies and procedures relevant to plagiarism due to the fact that the electronic plagiarism is new and developing and most of the policies are old or non-existent.

The availability and accessibility of the Internet can be considered a ‘double-edged sword’ for those students engaging in plagiarism as it ca equally be used to detect the practice as well as conduct it. Indeed, institutions may have already invested in electronic detection services. However, if detected then there must be suitable penalties employed by the universities to deal with perpetrators which should be clearly linked to issues of professionalism.

Possible penalties when using plagiarism

Plagiarism is so serious that, because of it, some universities have withdrawn degrees after they were awarded .This is a serious penalty in the education field. Even in Romania this happened with several well known politicians when they were accused and proven guilty of plagiarism of their doctorate.

Whether student plagiarism takes place via printed publications or online resources, plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty and may violate copyright laws. Depending on the laws of that country or institution ,if you violate the copyright laws you will be fined with a sum of money and/or you can possibly go to prison.

Should plagiarism be tolerated ? Let’s see what the Chinese have to say about this issue; the Chinese University of Hong Kong places very high importance on honesty in academic work submitted by students, and adopts a policy of zero tolerance on cheating in examinations and plagiarism. Any related offence will lead to disciplinary action including termination of studies at the University .

Recommendations & Conclusions

As a recommendations I think that avoiding the plagiarism can be done by citing the original source when distributing the materials downloaded from the Internet to students ,patients (dietetician) or clients(business consultant). Using quotation marks when taking word to word from another source is necessary.

A recommendation for the students is that , they must maintain their personal integrity and must be accountable for their own learning. They must be true to themselves and never forget why they wanted a higher education , to learn more , not to plagiarize. Colleges , or some of them, have Student Codes of Conduct that ban cheating, including plagiarism so, ignorance can’t be an excuse.Sometimes students use the plagiarism because they don’t have enough time to finish the assigned essay or research paper. In order to avoid this , it is necessary to develop good time management and to have plenty of time to write the paper. Starting well in advance of deadline is a must.

From the other side, things are hard also. The instructors (teachers,professors ) must be vigilant against plagiarism. Actually,if we are talking about the education field, the professors have more responsabilities than the students because they are the „ law „ and they must see that they respect it. Recognizing that elecronic plagiarism is a problem is a first step in taking action and stoping it , or at least reduce the rate of plagiarism across the world.

Actions can be taken on plagiarism prevention in universities such as the adoption of internal documents, regulating prevention of plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty , clases like students teaching, training and consulting on plagiarism discouraging and regular control of students’ progress, especially in process of preparation of projects and final works and establishment of internal subdivision and services the study quality policy should be implemented.

Each institution can and have follow regulations approved by the state authorities and examples of good practice published in scientific literature, however, institutional plagiarism prevention policies have be prepared taking into account experience of a certain institution, existing academic culture, procedures and peculiarities of study process. Otherwise suggested regulations could be not understandable for academic society and procedures would not be implemented.

Plagiarism is clearly a serious issue for students who are undertaking training to enter a profession where integrity, honesty and trustworthiness are paramount to the nurse patient relationship. It is thus essential that nurse educators contribute to building a culture of integrity and professionalism demonstrable throughout the academic community from the commencement of training. If a student cheats during their academic career (and gets away with it) then they are almost certain to continue this behaviour in their working lives. This is an uncomfortable and challenging thought but one that nurse educators must hold at the forefront of their practice.

A combination of high tech and low tech methods may be used to minimize unethical behaviors among students and practicing professional nurses in order to maintain the integrity of the profession.

In sum, students engage in plagiarism because of easy access to Internet resources, pressure from coursework, and misinterpretations about plagiarism; for example, students may regard copy-and-paste practices as a convenient way to do homework or as a type of learning strategy. Accordingly, investigations into students\’ “alternative thinking” about plagiarism can shed light on effective approaches to minimizing students’ inappropriate copy-and-paste behavior.

This essay was donated by a student on 6.12.2016 in exchange for a free plagiarism scan.

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