Plagiarism is when wrongfully appropriates, purlonizes, and publishes the thoughts, expressions, language or ideas of another person or author and represents them as their personal and original work. This idea therefore continues being problematic and has unclear rules and unclear definition. Plagiarism is immoral in modern concepts, unlike originality, which is ideal. This is because it is academic dishonesty and breaches all ethics of journalism and academia. Therefore, it can face expulsion as a sanction. It is not a crime as such but a moral offence in industry and academia, thus such cases constitute infringement of copyrights. Plagiarism is common in works of journalism, academia, and worse off in works of arts. The internet has become a common and major source of plagiarized works as people can simply copy or cut and paste from original works to their own work (Randall, 2001).
Plagiarism at the undergraduate level is very common. This is because many students use other people’s words, ideas and results from textbooks and the internet without acknowledging the source. This is both ethically and legally wrong because if caught, the student may lose marks. This is an act of dishonesty and a theft of other people’s ideas. Furthermore, one does not learn anything new from through copying other people. These assignments fail to demonstrate adequately the students’ understanding and knowledge of the work they are doing. Therefore, accusations made on collusion through copying a completed assignment from a friend, or producing a joint effort poster from working as a group, or passing of someone’s work as one’s own work are legal and punishable. The internet further aggravates this vice, as it is easy to access, thus students have materials in a wide range from the internet to copy and paste from with much ease. This kills the key purpose and goal of education, as it stifles originality and creativity. It also spoils the honesty and integrity of the person who presents plagiarized work (Wong, 2011).
Plagiarism is very prevalent in the university especially at the undergraduate level. This is evident through the massive numbers of students presented before the Disciplinary Committee of the University for Crimes in plagiarism. The university’s regulations that govern the conduct of students at examinations provides that no candidate should engage in plagiarism, or employ, or try to employ any other means that is unfair during the examination, or any work from other forms that they submit for assessment for use in examinations at the university. This is use of another person’s work without acknowledging it and passing it off as one’s own work. This applies in all cases whether the work is in publication or not. Researches from several universities reveal huge percentages of undergraduate students participating in plagiarism in one way or another. Such universities included in the survey include the DePaul University, the Rhode Island College, the university of Maryland, Clemson University, and Rutgers University.
Undergraduate students participate in plagiarism because it is easy, simple and does not take much of their time and thinking capacity. Most students are lazy or too busy doing other things to attend to their assignments properly. Therefore, due to time constraint and difficulty in research, these students resort to copy from their friends, textbooks, or from the internet so that they can do their work properly and hand in their assignments in good time. Surveys done by Donald McCabe for a period of four years starting 2006 showed that about 40% of the 14,000 students at the undergraduate level in Rutgers University admitted that they copied a few lines in their written assignments. For example, a purple shade found in several paragraphs of a student’s assignment at DePaul University tipped off his lifting from another source (Neville, 2010).
The impact of plagiarism is very phenomenon. This is because it derails the purpose of education since the students do not learn anything from the work they copy from other sources or people or the internet. It also kills the concepts of creativity as the students fail to wrack their own brains to come up with something new, and originality because they just copy already completed work done by somebody else. Hence, there is no brainstorming or innovation. The student also faces the risk of disqualification, or expulsion, or failing in the examinations if caught with the offence of plagiarism.
The best way to avoid plagiarism is to avoid copying any other person’s work at all costs. This will promote thinking, bring out originality and enhance creativity and innovation. If one must copy or quote from work done by another person or an external source, then they must identify and provide the source from which they got the quote. This acknowledgement of another person’s work used in your own work exempts it from the crime of plagiarism. Universities should also treat plagiarism as a serious academic offence and set up sanctions on order to deter students from plagiarizing other people’s work. This could be through a warning letter for minor case of plagiarism, and reference to the University Disciplinary Committee, or the university’s Vice Chancellor over serious cases of plagiarism for disciplinary action. They can also promote originality and creativity by recognizing and awarding great works from students that show high standard of such traits. This also enhances initiative and innovation among the students.
Guffey, M. (2007). Essentials of Business Communication, Stamford, Connecticut: Cengage Learning.
Neville, C. (2010). The Complete Guide to Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism, New York: McGraw-Hill International.
Randall, M. (2001). Pragmatic Plagiarism: Authorship, Profit, and Power, Toronto: University Of Toronto Press.
Wong, K. (2011). Avoiding Plagiarism: Write Better Papers in APA, Chicago and Harvard Citation Styles, Bloomington, Indiana: iUniverse.