Writing plagiarism free papers
Plagiarism as defined in the 1995 Random House Impact Unabridged Dictionary is the use of or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as ones own original work. Plagiarism and cheating are not clear-cut issues despite the fact that most universities have written guidelines and codes of practice. In most instances students do not read the policies. Academic integrity is one of the most important attributes that all educational institutions strive to instill in their students.
In 1964 Bill Bowers published the first large scale study of cheating in the universities. In his research, he conducted a survey of 5000 collage students and found that 75% had engaged in one or more instances of academic dishonesty. Readily available documents and empirical data point out the prominent issue of cheating and plagiarism in many universities. Anecdotal and reported evidence indicates that there are many ways in which students cheat. Widespread use of internet offers and important resource for doing research. Ease of use also makes it easier for students to cut and paste for students inclined to this type of behavior. Ease of use of cut and paste also creates the possibilities of an individual forgetting to cite his/her source; this is an incentive to cheat when trying to complete an assignment in a rush.
Ethics and Cheating
Students cheating can be attributed to the known fact that the definition of cheating is unclear and ambiguous. A probable reason for the grey areas when discussing cheating can be linked to one’s values and perceptions on ethics. Ethics is defined as individual’s personal beliefs about whether a behavior, action or decision is right or wrong. Ethical behavior is defined is defined as behavior that generally conform to generally accepted social norms. An individuals ethics and values are developed from a young age, structured within the family institution and can vary tremendously from culture to culture and it for this reason that a code of ethics is formulated in every institution.
Why students cheat
It can be said that humans are creatures of nature. By natural instinct, humans have an innate ability to do whatever it takes to survive. “Survival for the fittest” is the ideology some students adopt while enrolled in school. Students cheat for a variety of reasons. Pressure from peers, luck of preparedness, unrealistic expectations and the emphasis on success are logical reasons for cheating. In an academic setting where deadlines and exams are a major part of the curriculum, some students fail to prepare for their work. This instance may not necessarily be negligent or at the fault of the student. As business schools and undergraduates programs put more emphasis on extra curricular activities to better prepare students for the outside world, students may choose to place their academics low on their priority list. Since grades are not the only indication of how successful a student may be in their career, some students feel that they can get away with placing a higher priority on other activities not linked to academia. This thought can cause students to regularly be unprepared. The way a class is structured and how the instructor presents the curriculum can influence cheating in the classroom. A student may feel compelled to cheat if the course taken is of little interest to that student. This concept is further explained when the student feels as though they may never need the subject matter to succeed in their future lives. To some students, it is illogical to study hard and subject oneself to tireless effort when an easier way to complete the course is presented.
At various Universities, the Academic Code of Student Conduct has some sections attached to it regarding the administration code and procedures that take place if a student is accused of cheating, as well as a description of the penalties. The penalty for being caught cheating in most cases ranges from receiving no credit for the assignment or course in which the infraction took place to suspension from the University. Despite these seemingly harsh penalties, many students still cheat. One qualitative study (McCabe and Pavela, 1997) determined the perspectives of how to reduce cheating in the classroom from a student’s perspective and from a faculty perspective. From their study, it is evident that students and faculty share many similar views on how to reduce classroom cheating, such as importance of academic integrity, clear and well-defined policies and expectations. Some schools, such as Howard University, do little more than telling students that the school honor code is somewhere in their student handbook. Other institutions use orientation sessions, initiation ceremonies, as well as other formal policies, to convey a tradition of honor and expectations for incoming students (McCabe 2001)
Expanding on the idea of academic honor code, (Dick et. al., 2002) explain that one way to control cheating is to reduce cheating by cultural change. According to this study, improving education culturally will correspond with a reduction in cheating because students will no longer want to cheat. Students were found to be less likely to cheat on their work – defined as assignments, papers, and exams – if they understood the educational goals of this work. If there is a good relationship between the teacher and the student, and students understand the learning process and the reasons and goals behind their assigned work, they will be less likely to cheat. Students, in turn, will be motivated to complete work for the educational benefits, rather than solely for the grade (Dick et. al, 2002).