Why Do Students Plagiarize?

Why Do Students Plagiarize?

Everybody lies. Nobody is perfect. Almost everybody has plagiarized at least once. There are a lot of sophisticated strategies for preventing plagiarism developed with great care by the academic experts and IT geniuses. Still, if one says it is possible to eliminate plagiarism altogether, it unfortunately sounds as utopia. How can you prevent plagiarism? This question has been asked for years, but there is still no universal answer to it. What makes the problem so complicated? To know that, you should first of all figure out what makes students copy the work of other people.

Top-7 Reasons Why Students Plagiarize

Reason 1. It is natural to be lazy

How can students prevent committing plagiarism if they do not want to apply their energy to anything related to profound research? Some students find it too time-consuming to paraphrase the paper they have borrowed from their peers. They merely hope that their teachers will not pay too much attention to a common paper submitted. Besides, some of the students plagiarize unintentionally as they do not spend enough time on checking the sources and referencing.

What should be done:

  • The students should be informed about the types of plagiarism, in particular patchwork plagiarism. If they have never heard about a high cost of academic dishonesty, they will not be afraid of plagiarizing.
  • Teachers should develop sets of tasks which will make it more challenging for the students to plagiarize. For example, it is easier to copy some research than reflection, some specific details than an outline, some discussion than an annotated bibliography. Besides, if a student knows that he has to submit a draft before a final paper, they will need to exert some effort to prepare two variants instead of copying one.

Reason 2. Poor skills of time management

When students know about the pressure and approaching deadlines, they might panic and decide to submit at least anything instead of being late with the assignment. Poor skills of organization and plans which make it impossible for the students to cope with the task timely result in plagiarism.

What should be done:

  • Teachers should assign large-scale tasks in parts and organize the discussion process in session with specific assignments for every meeting.
  • If the students know that the knowledge they will acquire out of completing the task is important for them, they will be more thoughtful about studying themselves.
  • It is essential to warn the students about the consequences of their misconduct.

Reason 3. Students believe they cannot cope with the task

Lacking confidence, the students prefer borrowing the ideas of others instead of giving their own. They feel worried about identifying plagiarism but at the same time they feel too insecure, writing down what they think is right.

What should be done:

  • Teachers often wonder how to tell if something is plagiarized not to discourage the students but to motivate them to be more diligent in their studies. It is possible to start this by assigning the tasks, in which the students have some expertise.
  • If the students first submit some of their ideas as a draft and get the approval of the teacher to proceed with them, they feel more secure in their writing.

Reason 4. Students do not know how to incorporate the sources into their own writing

A good plagiarism checker can easily trace that the quotations in your writing are stolen and the ideas of some researchers are used in the academic paper without any credit to their authors. In some cases, it happens because the students have no idea about proper referencing. Citing should be done in strict accordance with the rules, but a lot of students just paraphrase or give their summary with no reference to the actual source of the ideas.

What should be done:

  • The teachers do plagiarism check not to punish the students but to identify the problems and try to find the right solutions. Explaining the rules again and again really helps!
  • Paraphrasing should never be encouraged as the students may get confused between their own views and the original text.
  • If a student uses a citation in the last sentence of the paragraph, it always makes sense to check on the whole section. The likelihood that all the sentences are paraphrased from the same source is very high.

Reason 5. The students do not believe that plagiarism is evil

Teachers do plagiarism check for their students’ papers as a lot of beginners do not consider the matter worth bothering. They tend to think that they often submit their papers and the topics of research are similar year after year; thus, it makes no sense to be careful about the originality of writing that plays no role in the scientific world.

What should be done:

  • Teachers should encourage the students to check plagiarism online to be sure that their text is original.
  • They should discuss with the students the ultimate goals of their university or college studies as well as particular objectives to every task.

Reason 6. Students lack skills and experience

Nobody gets to know everything at once as learning takes time. Students check the plagiarism and try their best to cite correctly, but they are still making mistakes. It is fine for them to skip some quotes or check for plagiarism and get some percentage of unoriginal content. However, what is important is to correct all errors and try to learn the rules of proper citing both theoretical and practical perspectives.

What should be done:

  • Teachers may allow the students to correct their papers after the plagiarism check.
  • After an instructor conducts check plagiarism procedure in the student’s text, they should discuss the issues with the students in detail instead of just lowering the scores or giving punishments.

Reason 7. The entire world is full of plagiarism

The students belong to the world that produces a lot of similar patterns in music, literature, and even science. The ideas seem to be born not in an individual mind, but in a collective consciousness. It is a matter of crucial concern to check plagiarism in every creative piece, but sometimes it is absolutely impossible.

What should be done:

  • Teachers should talk to the students about the imperfections in the world.
  • Discussions on plagiarism and originality of thinking and writing should be held regularly.

No matter which measures are taken, it is happening again and again. Students keep plagiarizing and the professors are determined to fight the problem and get the winners in this struggle with dishonesty. Will they win? Not for sure, but hopefully. Should they take further effort? Definitely! Without any attempts to stop plagiarism, human laziness and lack of skills will make plagiarism flourish in every sphere.

Thank you, teachers for everything you keep doing notwithstanding the obstacles!

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