The degree of plagiarism can range from simply failing to correctly reference sources of material used in assignments to direct copying of material without acknowledgment (English, 1999). Plagiarism is clearly a form of academic misconduct. Universities generally incorporate a component on plagiarism in the policy and procedures they use to assess students. It is indicated that they regarded plagiarism as an ethical issue since it allowed students to obtain marks for work that was not their own and this was unfair to other students.
However, they felt that it was difficult to know exactly what constituted plagiarism as they often wrote essays after discussing their ideas with other students or taking detailed notes from reading materials. As a result, it was not easy to identify who actually owns the ideas that were expressed in their writing. Several of the interviewees stated that university regulations on plagiarism where difficult to interpret and no attempt had been made to explain what was acceptable when using the ideas of other authors.
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Several studies have surveyed dents regarding academic misconduct and found that plagiarism is frequently used by students when writing assignments. Some studies have found that the amount of plagiarism taking place over time has increased. Student cheating has garnered much public attention recently. A perception reflected in media accounts is that acts of academic dishonesty among students in college.
Plagiarism is not a new phenomenon. However, recent reports in the literature and the popular media have raised and continue to raise concerns about the high incidences of plagiarism in higher education Times Higher Educational Supplement (THESE), AAA, Bibb, AAA, Bibb, 2000; park, 2003). Not only does plagiarism undermine academic integrity and standards, it also denied the principles of intellectual property rights.
Equally too, the genuine efforts, the worth and laudable achievement of students who do not plagiarism are seriously undermined by activities of the few who plagiarism. There is little doubt that plagiarism occurs among university students (Bennett, 2005). However, understanding why plagiarism occurs is perhaps more important than the knowledge that plagiarism occurs. Developing an understanding of the causes of plagiarism can give academics and university administrators’ helpful guidance as to how it may be reduced.
However, as Rigs 1 997 study confirmed, undergraduate students by in large do not always have the skills or training necessary to understand the more common slippery slope of plagiarism involved in incorrect instances of paraphrasing (Rig, 1997). Representing a much smaller section of the literature covering plagiarism, Rig’s (1 997, 1999) research examines problematic areas of student understanding such as paraphrasing.