Plagiarism is something very common in higher education including universities and collages. In many universities and collages, there are cases of plagiarism reported more often. This therefore, implies plagiarism is highly increasing and that the concept of plagiarism is still less understood or ignored by the students and hence the need to study it.
A simple way of defining plagiarism is that plagiarism is the copying of someone’s work then claiming it original (Encarta dictionaries, (2007)). Actually, this is not the only definition of plagiarism. Both the students and the society do not understand the concept of plagiarism because of its confusing nature. If you find out from the society the meaning of plagiarism, they will tell you something relating to copyright. We can buy this idea but plagiarism is not a copyright but it is something of the sought.
Bramer (1995) defines plagiarism as the steeling and passing off the written ideas of someone to oneself, he goes ahead to say that it is the using of someone’s production without crediting the source. It is a form of theft to use someone’s original work as your own. Even after providing the definition of plagiarism to the students, we still find that this remains an issue in many learning institutions. This means that the concept of plagiarism is still not embraced by the students and hence the need for study. The concept of plagiarism is still an issue because of what we have pointed out. There is a big confusion towards defining plagiarism. We actually can say that different institutions have their own definition of plagiarism.
These institutions also have different measures as a penalty to those students who plagiarize, but the main fact is that they all discourage plagiarism. This study therefore is interested in the concept of plagiarism. This targets the students in the higher education. The study is also investigating the approximate percentage of the students who engage in plagiarism because of the lack of understanding. In the study, we will also bring to attention the way some of the students who plagiarize admits the act of plagiarism and how they justify themselves over the same issue.
The concept of plagiarism
Plagiarism is like any evil in the society that is not entertained, in this essay we are going to observe it in a view of higher learning institutions and colleges. This is not allowed at all because it cheating in exams. That is copying someone’s work and claiming it original. We can consider plagiarism as an exam theft. All learning institutions are trying their best to guard against plagiarism by discouraging their students against this action.
Generally, I can say the concept of plagiarism is still an issue to the student in higher educations. This is the universities and colleges, quite a number of students still plagiarize in their work. This means they do not understand or they ignore the concept of plagiarism and this is why they find themselves in this offence most of the time. In this study, we want to establish the fact that the students do not understand the concept of plagiarism. We will provide significant reasons why the concept of plagiarism is still an issue to the students and why is it that there is confusion between terms such as collusion, copying and plagiarism. In the study, we will explain some situations where the students get themselves in the act of plagiarism.
Most cases of plagiarism in the learning institutions have occurred because of the students misunderstanding of the concept of plagiarism. Other cases reported points out that students plagiarize because of being under pressure, when a student lack enough time to submit a piece of job they my be tempted to copy paste someone’s information thinking they are making a direct quotation. With this they later discover that even though they quoted, they did not use the right procedure of getting the information and hence plagiarism. The reality has it that plagiarism is on increase in the students work in many learning institutions (Yusof, (n.d)). Surely, it is difficult to come up with exact figures of measuring plagiarism in the learning institutions or in the students work. Recently, there was a study in Australia, where investigation of plagiarism took place in several universities. There was a suggestion that approximately eight percent (8%) of students had extensive amounts of plagiarism in their work. In the study, an analysis had it that the internet is the main source of plagiarism in their work. More evidences imply that the figure may be significantly greater than the provided figure (Jonston (n.d)).
It does not matter if the actual figure is low or high but it seems hard to prevent plagiarism completely even with a great struggle. Actually, no one can ignore the issue of plagiarism. Eventually, the worth of honor that a learning institution provides to its students is reliant of the honors that students achieved through fair ways and honesty. The university that will not do the best to prevent plagiarism will loose its reputation in future. Therefore, it is important that all the learning institution do there best to prevent plagiarism so that they cannot loose their reputation.
The learning organizations are coming up with substantial efforts to detect incidences of plagiarism using computerized software. With the use of this computerized software, all the learning institutions will know the students who plagiarize their work. The students found having plagiarized receives severe punishment to discourage them from this bad act. These warnings are characterized by the warnings issued by the plagiarism regulating body of undergraduate even program of study. This body threatens to fail the student in all the part of the test assessment and the decision of if to allow the student to be assed again or not. The same student is liable for an expulsion from the institution because of academic reasons.
However, a large number of people believe that improved detection methods and greater penalties is not the only required thing. Some great extent of emphasis of ensuring that students have the knowledge about plagiarism is a better way of avoiding it, and further concern by lecturers or professors on ways of reducing the possibility of its happening through different evaluation strategies and any other means.
Plagiarism among the scholars is now is the biggest dilemma facing universities and colleges. This kind of cheating is becoming a treat undermining the idea of collages and universities being a learner’s community with good ethics and responsibility. This leads to the disregarding of the institution and the awards they offer. An intensive determination to deal with plagiarism in the past became a failure. After a great increase of plagiarism in the learning institutions, a need to develop detecting software arose.
With the technology, it was able to come up with the detecting software. This software has become of great significance as it helps to detect plagiarism in the students’ work hence discoursing them from this act. After coming up afterwards, the learning institutions introduced rules and regulation that had heavy penalties to students who plagiarize. The cases of plagiarism had not highly increased until the new era of technology. The introduction of the internet has made a greater rise of plagiarism in the learning institutions. This gave rise to the companies that sell different kinds of assignment to the students with an aim of an aim of gaining better results. This has made plagiarism more clear than it was before. This kind of companies works against the goals of the learning institutions. It makes the students to lack self-motivation in learning and become more independent on such papers that lead them into the act of plagiarism.
Most learning institutions have a rough time in dealing with such deliberate actions of plagiarism. Because of this, they have put decided to weigh the intensity of plagiarism in a student work. This is by observing the quantity of material copied expressed as a fraction of the whole work. The student should also confirm if he/she has ever plagiarized and provide the level they are studying. The institution will then device a way of dealing with the student who undertakes such an offence
After looking at some issues of plagiarism in the above paragraphs, I believe we now have the concept of what it is. The perception of plagiarism is something simple or clear;nevertheless, if there is clarity on this, then we are unable to start making progress of any type on the realistic procedures that require actions for its reduction. Let us now explore a section of perplexity and inconsistency in how the institutions currently uses term plagiarism and try to put in place the meaning in the way some of these inconsistencies will be get rid of.
Let us make an observation of where the confusion begins. The confusion begins from where the students cannot come up with their own decisions or ideas, yet time is not on his/her side and the date of handing in the paper is due. They now decide copy or cut and paste someone’s work to their own to ease the completion of their work. Students likes to justify themselves after doing such an offence. They say there is nothing wrong for as long as they have changed the words. This is still an offence because the text contains someone’s work. This is not your own idea. There is a wide argument on what plagiarism is exactly, some people argues that if it is not word for word then it is not counted to be plagiarism. This creates a great confusion towards understanding plagiarism. It is true to say that plagiarism has no definite definition. Different institutions have different definitions of plagiarism. Some institutions provide that plagiarism is the using of someone’s information whether written, oral or visual without his/her consent. The same institution suggests that when using someone’s information you have to acknowledge him/her in form of referencing. With this, we will assume that the work done belongs to you and hence no plagiarism. When a student decides to do the work without acknowledging the owner, it will yield to an offence. The kind of an offence resulting from not acknowledging the owner’s information used in writing will be plagiarism. Therefore, it is clearer that plagiarism is the use of someone’s information without his/her consent or without acknowledging the owner. Students should bring it to attention that the merging of someone’s important work in their own even after acknowledging the owner is dangerous because it is plagiarism as well and it will lead to normal penalties deserved by students who plagiarize (Johnston, (n.d)).
Something so important here is using the word job in laying emphasis on the ideas and efforts instead of exact words used in plagiarism. Besides this, you can realize that all the lengthy definition of plagiarism look confusing. Even with this description or definition of plagiarism, we still can say there is no other learning institution with other new definition that contradicts this one. Sometimes plagiarism is confused with collusion, when students attempts to discuss their work and out of discussion they come up with individual work like an essay, we will get that there was a mutual effort involved. The mutual effort is not plagiarism but it is collusion. Therefore, there should not be confusion between plagiarism and collusion. Both plagiarism and collusion are offences but they are not similar.
We need to have an understanding on both plagiarism and collusion, after understanding these two things we can now come up with major factors creating troubles in understanding the topic of plagiarism. A designed exercise shows the differences between plagiarism and collusion, it states that collusion is a type of plagiarism and all is under the category of cheating in exams.
When handling the issue plagiarism we have to understand that collusion is plagiarism, where as plagiarism is a form of cheating in exam. Still there is a main theoretical problem because some writers clearly outline that there is dissimilarity between plagiarism and cheating. It is confusing because at the first point we explained that plagiarism is the same as cheating and here we speak of the dissimilarity between plagiarism and cheating. Even if we have not talked about the differences of plagiarism and cheating, we can still categorize cheating to fraud which more of deception. With all these we have to note that even with the distinction of the two terms we will always come to a conclusion that no person can cheat accidentally, therefore a student that plagiarize the work cannot defend him/herself by saying it happened accidentally. Someone cheating always does it intentionally in order to have a gain.
A case that we can consider there was no cheating is where someone has no idea about plagiarism. That is where the person acts ignorantly towards plagiarism and where the person does not know the rules and regulation provided under the topic of plagiarism. We can realize that cheating takes place under a circumstance where someone is willing to do it. This means that someone cannot accidentally cheat and therefore it is a deliberate act.
We have to know how the problems of plagiarism seem to occur. With this, we have to consider situations such as when to cite. For this part, we have to put in mind that the rules of plagiarism do not provide distinction of cases where there was deliberate cheating or just by mistake. The whole issue is about the case of plagiarism in somebody’s work. There fore with accidental or deliberate cheating in your work you have plagiarized, then there is need to understand plagiarism and its rules and regulation so that you can guard against it and provide a plagiarism free work.
After noting the above, plagiarism cares a definition of copying of someone’s work accidently or with an intention. This is to mean that plagiarism is a constant and the reasons of its occurrence cannot alter it. Even though the occurrence of plagiarism do not affect it, when dealing with this issue, especially on laying down the penalties to students who plagiarize we can still consider is the act was under ignorance. This is not to justify the mistake but it is a chance given for someone without the knowledge of plagiarism, afterwards these people have to learn the concept of plagiarism. In handling such a case, we can handle such students differently from those who understand the concept of plagiarism and still goes ahead to plagiarize.
Therefore, lets as look it at this view. Cheating mostly occur at the point where there is an intention of cheating where as plagiarism occur even without the intention to do it. To some extent, a student can plagiarize without knowing he has done it, but it not true that one can cheat without knowing that he/she is cheating, this helps to come up with a distinction between cheating and plagiarizing. It sounds so confusing but we have to understand where the difference of plagiarism and cheating comes in and at the same time, we have to admit that cheating is plagiarism as well. For someone to come up with a clear understanding of this terms he/she must observe the situation at which each happens. After making a close observation of the way each of the above happens, it becomes very clear. At this point, we are able to distinguish the dissimilarities between the two and the similarities as well. Then you can categorize plagiarism under cheating and vice-versa.
For better understanding, in the categorizing of plagiarism and cheating, we will base on the rules of plagiarism as provided by the learning institution. Most learning institution have rules governing the learning process, some of these rules include rules for plagiarism. In the rules of plagiarism, the institutions have never said that the ignorant students will get an exemption from the punishment or the penalties, neither have they stated that there is accidental or intentional plagiarizing. Now we can make a conclusion that even if one plagiarizes intentionally of accidentally it will all result to plagiarism and that student will face the same consequences of plagiarism. This means there is no room for justification, for any manner of plagiarism will remain plagiarism.
There are many instances where plagiarism can occur, plagiarism can occur because of submitting an assignment that someone had already submitted, colluding or writing same type of work, using someone’s work directly through copy pasting and the use of someone’s work without proper referencing. In writing, a student should not just take somebody’s job and start copying. A student should make sure that there is paraphrasing and quoting the original writer of the book he/she is using (Concept of Plagiarism, (n.d)).
Students may look at collusion not being plagiarism because they think it is an effort that they all strived at, but this is not the idea. We had earlier on said that plagiarism is independent. How it is committed has northing to do with it. This student may be right to think so because they might have written perfect work acknowledging the writers of the books they used to get the information. Then one thing they have not put into consideration is that even after colluding to come up with this great work, they cannot present it as an individual work. If they present it as an individual job, it will have a different meaning. This may look like students have copied of duplicated one another’s job and will therefore be plagiarism.
A student may decide to give a friend his/her own work to use, we understand that this student is aware that someone is using his/her work but the person using can not acknowledge the friends work because the work is also gotten from a certain source that does not belong to them. If the friend does so, he/she has participated in plagiarism.
To some extent, it becomes hard to categorize plagiarism to cheating since this instance can happen accidentally where as cheating cannot occur accidentally. Plagiarism and cheating is highly discouraged in learning institution. Bust the most confusing concept is differentiating between cheating and plagiarism. At tine time plagiarism is called cheating because if you use someone information without acknowledging them, it will bring a notion that you are cheating that the work is yours because that work belong to someone else. The field of education has a negative attitude towards plagiarism and always discourages students against it.
In the analysis of plagiarism, we find out that plagiarism is still a great issue in the higher education, universities and colleges included. The analysis provides that still a higher percentage of student still hand in jobs containing plagiarism
In analyzing the research questions, I employed stratified random sampling where I divided the target population into three homogeneous strata, followed by sample from each stratum. I then collected the data by the use of questionnaires and structured interviews. The questioners were to help to get the response from the students who did not need more explanation. To improve the collection of data, I used the structured interviews where I literally held a talk with some students and recorded the data obtained from them.
I found out that all the research question was worth researching by the use questionnaires and statured interviews because trough the use of these methods I was able to collect sufficient data for answering the research question. I was able to analyze the study in a way that I was able to know if students in the university or collage understand plagiarism, and the way in which students justify themselves after plagiarizing. It also helped me to come up with a percentage of the students that are still plagiarizing in the present learning institutions.
Description of the data analysis
After the collection of data, I did the cording and organized the data in an analyzable order. I then used percentage and frequency tables to present the results. I examined in details the data collected and then grouped it according to relationship of the variables objective and the question of the study. At this point, I used the stratified random sampling method for the different categories of students in order to get required samples for persons that I interrogated. I did the complete enumerate and the strategies sampling war for each stratum which constituted the sample of the respondents. I then analyzed the data and presented it in a way that easily understood way.
The study had an interest of answering thee main questions. These questions included the feedback on; explaining if the students in the in the university and collage understand the concept of plagiarism. Providing the estimate number of the students who plagiarize or cheat in the higher education and how the students who plagiarize justify themselves.
Do the students in the university and collages understand the concept of plagiarism?
From the study, I can analyze that a small percentage of the students do not understand the concept of plagiarism, but a greater percentage of the students understand this concept but they ignore it. The learning instructions should therefore put in more emphasis on this issue so that in future same cases will not occur.
Number of the students that plagiarize or cheat in the higher education
In the study, we provided that plagiarism is highly increasing in their higher education. About twenty percent (20%) of students in researched area acknowledges cheating in exams and about fifty (50%) percent acknowledges cheating or the issue of plagiarism in their class assignments. This brings us to a total percentage of seventy (70%). From this, we can understand that many students still plagiarize or cheat in their exams. We have not come up with exact number of students that plagiarize in the universities and collages but the percentage will help to establish that.
Ways in which students who plagiarize justify themselves.
The students who plagiarize have different ways of justifying themselves. Some of them talks of insufficient time. They claim that they have much work to do against the deadline requirement. With, this they feel time will catch up with them. They therefore decide to discuss with friends in order to come up with new ideas quickly. On doing so they forget to use different words to present ideas and as a result, they find themselves in the act of plagiarism.
Another solution of helping them to complete their work quickly is though copy pasting of information. They usually have an aim of paraphrasing it later or rewriting the information in a different manner. A great challenge that follows is that because of the hurry, they forget to do the necessary correction and find themselves plagiarizing.
Some of the students had not understood the concept of plagiarism and hence found themselves in the act of plagiarism. This students could not even justify themselves in the right manner. They only said they do not understand why they are plagiarizing even after working well in class. I later established that the main thing that caused them to plagiarize is lack of proper quoting and citing the books they used to provide the information. Such students need more training on plagiarism and the way of avoiding it.