Plagiarism has been viewed as a big problem affecting institutions of learning around the world. Teachers and administrators are increasingly being faced with the problem of students handing in works that do not reflect their efforts and this has major consequences on the outcome of learning. This has been made even more difficult with the advent of internet technologies which have made it easy for students to access wide information at just a click.
Plagiarism can be seen as the act through which someone steals or passes off information, words and ideas of other person as one’s own. According to the Council of Writing programme Administrators (2003), plagiarism also has to do with using another person’s work without giving due credit or acknowledgement to the original authors or developers of those ideas. Plagiarism can be basically said to be an act of committing literacy theft. Therefore, people who commit plagiarism engage in fraud and theft. Plagiarism is considered as theft under the federal laws (Robert, 2009). The reasons for this is that just like any other inventions, original ideas expressed by other people are considered to be intellectual property and are therefore protected by copyright laws. However, these original views can only be given copyright protection if they are recorded using some means, which could be in the form of books or computer files. Even though some instances of plagiarism can be understood by majority of people, others are not easy to detect since they are not as obvious (Lindey, 1992). Plagiarism comes with negative consequences in that it limits the students’ ability to develop their writing, reading and skills needed to think critically.
Avoiding any form of plagiarism is the epitome of academic honesty and there are several ways through which this can be done. The most important way to avoid plagiarism is through correct citation of ideas that are borrowed from other people and providing the targeted audience with the necessary information to find the cited sources.
Council of Writing Program Administrators (2003). Defining and avoidingpPlagiarism:
The WPA Statement on best practices. Retrieved from http://www.wpacouncil.org
Lindey, A. (1992). Plagiarism and originality. Connecticut: Greenwood Press.
Robert, H. (2009). The Plagiarism handbook. Los Angeles: Pyrczak Publishing