Analysing International Students Usage Of Plagiarism English Language Essay

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In recent days, Plagiarism has emerged of great concern to both students as well as educators. There are two approaches for its reduction. First approach is plagiarism detection methods can be made more accurate to deal with this issue. And second approach is to build up plagiarism prevention policies. These policies can be having online directives to boost students' consciousness of plagiarism and associated problems.

As more and more number of overseas students are coming for study in British universities, It is likely that the institutions in which student seeks admission can offer extra aid for increasing the level of awareness of documentary use and plagiarism, and also give a consideration to intricate nature of plagiarism.


Plagiarism is a thoughtless copy of somebody else's work, idea, words, suggestion, or appearance and presents it as your own. It is derived from Latin word plagium, which means kidnapping, therefore in literature it refers to stealing others else's work.

As explain by Mallon (1989) plagiarist is a burglar in literature and steals the thoughts or writings of another's work. For example In academic work, when one student demote work of another student and writes it into his own work then it is plagiarism. Further to this if student is doing research and refers some book or journal and paraphrases some contents from it for his work without acknowledging the main author then student is guilty of plagiarism.

As stated by Morgan and Dunn (2004) plagiarized work is that which is deliberately copied, bought or stolen and passed off as one's own. Plagiarism is a subject of great worry in all forms of education and huge significance is specified to understand and the mental power of students and as to how unique they can imagine. Therefore it is equally imperative for educators to identify the degree of knowledge that is passing on to students and any uneasiness they have in being creative and original in putting forth the same through academic writing. Plagiarism is on the whole frequently occurring unfair practice and is the core of unfair practices.

Another type of plagiarism is Patch writing. It is a documentary tactic which involves firstly copying from a source text and then by erasing few words and changing its grammatical composition or introducing in one-for-one synonyms as replacement (Howard, 1993, p. 233).

Intentional and Unintentional Plagiarism

Intentional plagiarism is when a student intentionally wants to copy work from others and thinks of not getting caught. There is also a second type of it who copy from sources and doesn't give credit to the originator. Every country has its own education system consisting of academic writing and examinations. Most of the countries don't have or use any kind of plagiarism checking device for plagiarism detection. Therefore there is no fear in students of getting caught and hence commit intentional plagiarized work.

"Borrowing" can be intentional plagiarism. Students takes an article, adds or changes a few things. It takes place with permission from original writer and so is called borrowing. Another very serious type is when you buy a paper over the internet and many student land difficulty due to it. It is very widespread method as students only requires paying and downloading. on the other hand it is simple for a educators to recognize when it was created by the internet.

Unintentional plagiarism is when a student does not know what plagiarism is and does not have any knowledge of referencing and or mainly due to wrong referencing or is short of the any proficiency. There are some cases where in students wants to give acknowledgement to referred source but fall short to do so and commit plagiarism. So unintentional plagiarism occurs when there is no appropriate documentation.

Other unfair practices

Committing any action by virtue of which a person obtains an unpermitted advantage for himself/herself or for another can be called as a unfair practice.  This is applicable whether person act alone or in conjunction with others. 

Such practices root from following conditions -

1. Exam conditions

Plagiarism is commonly noted in exam setting. The following can contribute towards plagiarism.

Carrying unauthorised material such as books, loose papers, electronic devices etc into the exam room with an intension to utilise it for examination

Copying from or lending material to others

Facilitating / Arranging for a different person to attend an exam instead of the original candidate.

Falsifying photo-identity proof

Presenting/Submitting assignments/workbook with material produced by person other than self.

Carrying electronic devices into the examination area which are otherwise not permitted.

2. Non-exam conditions


Falsifying authentic results/ data for personal gain or with an intention to hamper the outcome

Presenting work produced by others as own.

Why a student commits unfair practices?

Being a student puts individuals under various stresses. They are faced by the constant ongoing stresses of producing well-prepared assignments on time, preparing for exams and securing good results. This can lead to them feeling particularly under-confident in their own abilities. Students in an aim to improve upon their work refer to various information sources. Due to these confounding factors their ability to appreciate the extent of information that can be reproduced or included into their own work is clouded.

Plagiarism stems from the students not understanding the fine line that separates unavoidable borrowing of information from undistinguished use/duplication of information into their own work. Most of the 'plagiarism' is not deliberate but is due to sincere students who don't know what is actually anticipated from them.

Students indulge into plagiarism knowing or unknowingly. There are various reasons for the same. This may be secondary to the fact that the individual may feel particularly weak in the given subject or may feel the need to excel or prove themselves to peers or their mentors. However there are the ones that indulge in plagiarism for the obvious benefits. They seek the easy way out and succumb into plagiarism. These students look into plagiarism as a ready-made performa on which to base their work. Some use the existing information to submit as their own. This is sometimes done knowingly and deliberately (University of Wales, Aberystwyth).

Sources of Unfair practices

Students use diverse resources like books, journals, borrowing stuff from contacts and note taking in lectures. These are some of the sources from where a student can commit plagiarism. However the largely celebrated and extensively used source for plagiarism is the Internet.

By the use of the Internet, the students can with no trouble get access to educational material, various reference books, reports and journals from all other institutions and universities throughout the world. It is cheapest and almost every student can afford it.

Problems for International students

Plagiarism in every way is unlawful and illegal act. English is not the main second language for majority of the overseas students at UK Universities who come from dissimilar educational backgrounds. It turns out to be awfully complicated for them to deal with the UK Universities education system. In UK, the student is at centre of educational approach rather than teacher as in most Asian countries. These students face added linguistic barriers upon attending the teaching system in the UK. They therefore face added pressure of inability to comprehend the lectures. Also these students find it difficult to express themselves. They therefore rely largely upon the available literature and information from different sources such as books, websites, e-libraries etc. These students find it very tempting to course their material from pre-existing information. They utilize the works of others to pass on as their own so as to keep up with the peers. This leads to plagiarism.

Methods to reduce plagiarism and unfair practices

Different measures need to be put in place to curb plagiarism. Park in 2004 stated the use of the concepts of 'transparency, appropriateness, fairness & consistency' to help design a system to beat plagiarism. He advised to refrain from using detection and punishment to stop plagiarism. Thus universities can contribute to reducing plagiarism. Mechanisms like 'TURNITIN' assist in making it easy for the students and the universities to identify and reduce the incidence of plagiarism.

Alongside this, students can help themselves by following certain basic steps. They can begin by truthfully confirming and quoting the source of their information. This stops their work from being plagiarism and can now be termed as 'Referencing' Students must follow the rules that are set for appropriate referencing. Planning for assignments and working in good time helps minimize the risks of plagiarism.

Below are two specific examples where original text along with unplagiarised and acceptable version is illustrated.

You can be a good conversationalist by being a good listener. When you are conversing with someone, pay close attention to the speaker's words while looking at his or her face. Show your interest by smiling and/or nodding. Furthermore, don't interrupt while someone is speaking: it is impolite to do so. If you have a good story, wait until the speaker is finished. Also, watch your body language; it can affect your communication whether you are the speaker or the listener. For instance, don't sit slumped in a chair or make nervous hand and foot movements. Be relaxed and bend your body slightly forward to show interest in the person and the conversation.

Source: University of Portsmouth, 2008, Academic Writing, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth.

Its unplagiarised version would be,

There are certain tips on carrying out a good conversation. The principal idea lies in holding good listening skills. It helps to engage with the speaker by gazing at their face & nodding as they speak. It is appropriate to allow the speaker to continue before you begin contributing to any ongoing conversation. Very importantly, a good conversation rests on good communication skills and good body language (University of Portsmouth, 2008).

Britain and the US have agreed that they want a "strong and stable" BP, as the oil company faces intense pressure over the Gulf of Mexico oil leak. President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron discussed BP's problems at the G20 summit in Canada. They agreed that BP must meet its clean-up obligations, but also that it was in both countries' interests that the company remained a viable business. BP will be hoping the talks put an end to political attacks on the company.

BBC News, 27 June 2010, 'BP: Cameron Tries to Ease Tension in Talks with Obama' , [Online], Available from URL:,[Accessed 4 June 2010].

The acceptable and non plagiarize version of above news can be,

Following the gulf oil leakage, the petroleum giant BP faced bad press publicity in both USA & UK. The matter in regards to the stabilization of BP formed part of the G20 summit. It is expected for BP to lay down further damage control measures and help clean the gulf oil leakage. Much rests on the discussion between the country leaders to ensure BP company future (BBC News, 2010).


Plagiarism is a constant problem faced by students today. It brings their integrity into question. These students would later embark upon an academic and professional career which would largely depend on these exact values. It is therefore important for students to learn the importance of the same. When a student cheats in his or her academic career and gets away with it without anybody's notice then he or she is almost certain to continue this behaviour in their working lives (Saunders 1993).

Plagiarism should be well understood by the students. They need to appreciate the seriousness of the consequences they face by indulging in plagiarism. The students, teachers and universities should collectively work towards reducing the incidence of plagiarism and help improve the status of academics.