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Students who come from non -western countries abroad, to further education in western countries are called international Student .They have somewhat been tagged as the people who are most guilty of the moral and academic misconduct called 'Plagiarism'. Overall plagiarism is a prevalent problem in the academic environment especially among international students who are new to the western countries academic norms and learning process.
Plagiarism is a form of unfair academic practice where a student puts himself at undue advantage over other students by using other authors ideas and thoughts and passing it off as his, it is basically lack of originality in academic writings e.g essays ,reports and dissertations
Due to the divergent views on what constitutes plagiarism it is a term that confuses international students. For international students plagiarism is perceived differently across various cross-cultural societies .When international student go abroad to study amongst adapting to their new environment , they have to deal with adjusting to new systems of educations , they have to deal with plagiarism, cheating and other forms of unfair practices. Unfair practices include but isn't limited to cheating, fabrication , collusion and a host of others.
Extensive literature has been written on the prevalence of plagiarism among international students ,it s been widely accepted the international students are more likely to plagiarize due to incorrect understanding of citation and referencing conventions (Larkham and Manns ,2002,pg343 ).
Origin of Plagiarism
The Origin of plagiarism is according to Mallon (1983) ,is from Ben Johnson English play writer ,was the first person to use the word plagiarism to mean literary theft in the 17th Century while others say it plagiarism is a word coined from the latin word 'plagiaris' which means 'kidnapper' and the Greek word 'ism' .
DEFINITION OF PLAGIARISM
There several definitions of plagiarism .According to the Collins Dictionary of English language (Hanks, 1979) ,Plagiarism is the act of 'plagiarizing' which means to appropriate ideas ,passages e.t.c from another author. The Oxford Advanced Dictionary 7th edition says plagiarism is an act of plagiarizing something and 'to plagiarize is to copy another persons ideas, words or work and pretend that they are your own.
Plagiarism can also be defined as the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language ,words and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own (Wilkipedia ;the free Encyclopedia).
It could simply be defined as theft of words or ideas , beyond what could be regarded as general Knowledge.(Parke,2003,pg 474) .Personally i am of the view that plagiarism an art of sophisticated theft of anther person s ideas, thoughts ,and intellectual academic work without giving credit to the author whose idea you have stolen from . Some writers describe plagiarism, some call the plagiarist 'a thought thief' (Whiteneck, 2002) others describe plagiarism as 'Stealing in Print'( Lafollette Marcel 1992).
There are some notable quotes on Plagiarism:
"My books need no one to accuse or judge you; the pages which you use stands up against you and says "you are a thief".
-Marcus Valerius Marshal
"They had their lean books with the fat of others work"
Plagiarism can be classified under two Broad headings:
It is in academic writing, when a writer willfully passes on another person's ideas or thoughts as his. The internet is a very good source of intentional plagiarism. Examples if intentional plagiarism include when a person buys pre-written essays from the internet and passes off as his work, another example is when a writer copies and pastes ideas and thoughts from different sources ,passes it off as his writing and doesn't give credit to the writers whose ideas he has used. Intentional plagiarism is done knowingly as a result of laziness and complacency by the plagiarist. It is easily detected as it is usually glaring.
This category of plagiarism is when a writer uses another writers ideas , thoughts and opinion in his own work but fails to give properly acknowledge such writer 's ideas.
International student are more guilty of unintentional plagiarism than intentional plagiarism. It is caused by many factors which include poor paraphrasing, poor citing techniques, improper quotation, lack of referencing skills, lack of understanding of the term plagiarism. Unintentional plagiarism isn't easily detected. Overall the plagiarist has no intention to willfully misappropriate another writer's idea as his.
Forms of Plagiarism
There are countless writers who have written extensively on plagiarism and have coined up different forms of plagiarism but the major forms of plagiarism are:
Collusion: Where work prepared by a group of persons is passed off as if it was individual work.
Direct Duplication: copying of another person's work verbatim. It also includes where a writer copies from his former writing and appropriates it into his new writing so much that the new writing lacks originality .
Examples of direct duplicate include copying and pasting other people's work, buying essays online and passing it on as yours e.t.c
Legitimate collaboration: is contriving with another individual writer to use his
work and pass it on as yours.
(4) Paraphrasing ideas and thoughts of another author without appropriate
(5) Piercing sections of material from more than one source into a new whole .
Types of Plagiarism
There are various types of Plagiarism , they include but are not limited to the following :
( i ) Self Plagiarism
You self -plagiarize when you re-use your own former pre-written for a new
Academic writing and you don t reference it properly.
(ii) Word Switch Plagiarism
When a writer poses another writer's work as his but changes a few words, phrases
and sentences to make it seem although it is his original work. Such writer
usually makes use of synonyms. It is better to quote or paraphrase another persons
(iii) Complete Plagiarism
It is when an entire work ,is copied verbatim from one or more sources. Usually such
work lacks originality and such plagiarist are lazy writers who refuse to generate
their own ideas.
(iv) Partial Plagiarism
Partial plagiarism occurs when a plagiarist mixes up ideas copied directly from
another writer with ideas indirectly copied but not cited and poses it as his original
work. International Students have also being labeled as being involved in other
unfair practices along side plagiarism although unfair practice is moral wrong that is
affecting the entirety of academic institutions even local students are involved in
Unfair Practice in academics is any act that interrupts the academic process or any act that puts another student at an academic advantage over others. A more precise definition says unfair practice is an act whereby a person might obtain for himself or another an unmerited or a higher grade than his or her abilities would otherwise serve.
There is a long list of practices that are regarded as unfair and they constitute academic misconduct which institutions individually punish with sanctions.
Other unfair practices include :
It is when work done by a group of individuals is submitted and passed off as solely the work of the person making a submission.
Examples of cheating include consultation of illegimate materials in the examination hall , spying and copying fellow student's work.
Wikilipedia, ,the free Encyclopedia, defines falsification is the falsification of data, information or citations in any academic exercise.
In academic practice, when a person copies from another source without doing any original work it is termed duplication. It is common for students to copy directly from each other , from their own former work and even to copy directly the work of public writers.
Falsification and Impersonation
Falsification is when a person misrepresents facts just to get an unfair and undue advantage over others. E.g. when students lie to a schools examination board regarding his health conditions ,so that he will get permission to resit an examination.
Impersonation is when a person passes himself off to be another person , to get advantage on behalf of that other person. Impersonation is somewhat a criminal offence and has stiffer penalties. Both international and local students are involved in impersonation during examination and tests.
Overall it is personal opinion , that with the moral and academic decadence in the society and world large ,not just international students but the entirety of students are involved in unfair practice. This is an overwhelming problem and institutions should formulate ways to curb this prevalent practice. For international students plagiarism and unfair practice are just one of the issues that they have to deal with to adapt to their new environment .It takes international students a longer time to deal to get used to western cultures even their new methods of academic learning. In trying to address the academic menace called 'plagiarism' academicians have conducted research and written extensively on the subject matter , they have also assessed the rationale behind why international students plagiarize. Surveys and academic research have shown a number of reasons why students plagiarize.
International students plagiarize for a majorily of these reasons:
When international students leave their place of domicile and relocate to the western world they undergo a phrase where they are trying to adapt to their new culture, being new to the environment and its systems they undergo cultural shock at the beginning of their studies adjusting to academic norms of practice in western countries. During this phrase a lot of them are involved in plagiarism because they are still trying to fit into the new system.
Across the different multi-cultural groups there are divergent views as to what constitutes plagiarism. It has been interpreted differently in different cultures, in some cultures plagiarism is acceptable. International students plagiarize because of cross-cultural differences , they have plagiarism as acceptable practice in their home countries.
Language differences for international students ,from Non-English speaking countries is a big barrier to their learning process in their new environment. Survey statistics show that most of the students who plagiarize are international students from Non-English speaking countries, because they have lack English proficiency.
Hull and Rose,1989 suggest the poor linguistics skills and the need to produce academic work of high quality drive international students to plagiarism ( cited Hyland 2001).
Lack of proper understanding
Most international students do not understand the extent ,meaning and concept of plagiarism since most of them come from a background where plagiarism is plagiarism is an acceptable norm.
Inadequate Research skills
Most international students have poor referencing and citation skills, they do not know how to attribute sourced materials and lack techniques for proper paraphrasing. Its been noted that the problem faced by international students is understanding the difference between quoting , embedding sources and plagiarism (Ryan,2000).
Lack of Deterrence
For some students the benefits of plagiarism outweighs the risks, this is the case for lazy international students.
International students can avoid plagiarism by always being original, using their own words by analytic thinking. When international students plan ahead of time and before dates their assignments are due they avoid the temptation to plagiarize. They also need to develop good note-taking skills. More importantly international students must learn how to reference properly ,they must provide citations for direct quotations and all borrowed ideas that aren't general knowledge must be acknowledged properly in the Reference part of any research writing. International students must know the rules guiding paraphrasing and quoting other writers' work.
Institutions must also teach international students in detail about plagiarism .Seminars and workshops should be organized specifically for international students by universities on plagiarism .Higher institution should focus on educating international students on ways to avoid plagiarism rather than emphasize on the sanctions for plagiarism. Most lecturers make assumptions about international students' academic backgrounds . Lecturers should be more patient in teaching the term 'plagiarism' to ensure that international students comprehend the entirety of the term .Courses on note -taking and writing skills should be introduced in schools and international students be made to take this course compulsorily.
I am of the view that plagiarism has somewhat been over exaggerated and this has into led to its ambiguity and the confusion amongst international students as to it s context. The internet however has made it very difficult to curb plagiarism .The enormous focus on international students as the notorious plagiarists would not solve the eminent problems ,it is time for institutions to draw up workable plans on how to curb plagiarism among international students because it isn't enough that there is now a software called 'Turnitin' for detecting plagiarism . Institutions should note that most international students do not plagiarize intentionally therefore a rehabilitative approach rather than a punitive approach of sanctions should be taken out on international students.