Focusing On Student Plagiarism English Language Essay

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This essay focuses on student plagiarism, which is becoming increasingly rampant in universities. It first defines different forms of plagiarism and then looks at the different reasons why students resort to plagiarism. It then discusses the need for proper citation and how students could avoid committing plagiarism in the first place. In the conclusion, this paper out lines some fundamental steps students can take to avoid plagiarism.

There are several different types of plagiarism, many of which are new due to the invention of the Internet and its wealth of information. The traditional forms of plagiarism such as turning in another person's work as one own as well as turning in assignment that the student has asked a peer to do. Copying material from a source without giving proper citation is also a traditional type of plagiarism, whether that material is hand-copied from a book or copied and pasted from an electronic source. "Students most important high school lesson should be plagiarism. They must know what it is, why it is wrong, and how to avoid plagiarism", said one source. The main reason plagiarism is used so often is because students don't even realize their plagiarizing in the first place. The use of unpublished work, including the work of another student, is just as serious. In such cases, plagiarism cannot be "avoided" by paraphrasing the original or acknowledging its use in footnotes. The work is the property of another author and should not be used (Dr. Colin H Gordon).

In my opinion many students inadvertently commit plagiarism simply through carelessness. They do not use proper citation for their research and do not attribute their sources properly. For example, a student who uses newspapers analysis of the government performance may fail to use in-text citation to identify which paraphrased ideas come from the newspaper. As a result, it may be confusing for the reader to identify which points are made by the student.

"Plagiarism is a lazy student dream and a hard workers nightmare'', stated one source, an opinion I agree with to some extent, but can we really argue that everyone who is guilty of plagiarism is morally bankrupt and intellectually circumcise. "To be fair, there are students who are not skilled at note-taking and may plagiarize unintentionally. They may have written down specific words from the text rather than paraphrase or extract solely the details for compilation in their own words" stated another source putting my opinion into perspective that may students who plagiarize may do so unintentionally or it seems as a plausible solution.


Doris Kearns Goodwin, a historian of the Lyndon Johnson presidency admitted that (and I quote) "It is possible that academia pressures its students too much; so much that plagiarism seems a plausible solution. Perhaps medical students should not be forced to take English classes, and maybe art majors should not be made responsible for a science credit. Students might have been under such duress as to plagiarize because the school and his professors placed an insurmountable amount pressure on him. Plagiarism, probably not, was the only way to succeed and accomplish his dreams." Admitting he too was guilty of plagiarism at one time or another.

Another cause of unintentional plagiarism is the lack of knowledge about it, which might be a result of universities' failure to teach their students of what plagiarism is and the importance of avoiding it (hence the purpose of this assignment, I guess), or students' laziness to acquire that knowledge. Moreover, insufficient understanding of referencing obligations and requirements as well as citation confusion could lead to indeliberate plagiarism. Another source argued, "Plagiarism is a grave offence in academic institutions, and must be avoided. But In the contemporary educational system, there is too much work load on the students and the professors. On one hand, the students are striving to learn new technology, complete their courses in the stipulated time-frame, and to secure good grades in a competitive academic environment. On the other hand, the professors want to excel as well as progress in their professional careers, and give tough assignments to the students, who may find them very difficult to comprehend. As a result of unrealistic expectations created by the existing educational system, which passes on the heavy work load from the experienced professors to the learning students, plagiarism occurs both within the faculty and the student community".

From our research it is also important to point out that whatever the reason students may commit plagiarism it is a serious problem, not only because it is fundamentally dishonest and unethical, but because it compromises one's sense of self development as a critical thinker, pride, self respect, and confidence, plagiarism unaccepted in any part of the education system. It is not tolerated in any type of assignment. Not only does it steal someone else work, it robes the individual of the learning experience he/she can gain on the assignment.


Unfortunately plagiarism is at an all time high in universities today. This has a direct connection with ethics in our school system, and in society researchers concluded. One internet site we discovered on the web had some very interesting statistics about high school students and plagiarism. states that 58.3% of high school students let someone else copy their work in 1969, and 97.5% did so in 1989( This statistic is very alarming to think about but apparently this generation feels there is nothing wrong with letting someone else take credit for their work. If this statistic continues to hold true in the future I would say we are in for a lot of trouble in the near future, said another researcher., one of the most popular web sites for combating plagiarism on the web has some very helpful guidelines to avoid plagiarism.

First, you should always ask your instructor if you have any questions about plagiarism ( If you don't have all the answers your teachers are always there to help you, don't go any further in your essay if you feel you are crossing the line into plagiarism territory.

Second, always plan before you begin writing a paper, if you know you are going to use other sources of information, you need to plan how you are going to include them in your paper( Try writing an outline or brain storming before you begin writing, this will be your building blocks to a successful paper.

Third, one of the best ways to prepare for a research paper is by taking thorough notes from all of your sources, so that you have as much of the information organized before you begin writing ( If your paper is not organized you are more likely to get lazy and forget to cite your sources.

Forth, when in doubt, cite your sources. Of course you want to get credit for your own ideas. And you don't want your instructor to think that you got all of your information from somewhere else. But if it is unclear whether an idea in your paper really came from you, or whether you got it from somewhere else and just changed it a little, you should know plagiarism is something that isn't respected, or accepted in any part of education process.