Plagiarism has become a prominent problem on campuses nationwide. While the ease of copying and pasting from the Internet has undoubtedly contributed to the rise in plagiarism, today's students are also more likely to commit plagiarism because they simply don't recognize what they are doing is wrong (only 29% of students surveyed believed that copying from the Web constitutes “serious cheating.” Source: New York Times).
As educators, we have a responsibility to ensure that our students understand what plagiarism is and how they can avoid it. Knowing why students plagiarize is the first step in preventing it.
Common reasons students plagiarize include:
While plagiarism is widely recognized as wrong here in the United States, this is not necessarily the case elsewhere in the world. The Western notion that one can own ideas may seem unusual to students of Eastern cultures where there is a more collective sense of identity. In some cultures, copying someone else's words or ideas is considered a form of flattery. Differing cultural attitudes towards ownership of ideas is important to keep in mind when communicating with your students about the perils of plagiarism.
Read the articles below to gain further insight into this issue.
Promote Academic Integrity to Students
Design Assignments that Discourage Plagiarism
Educate Students in Research Practices
Help Students with Citation Styles
Be aware of possible plagiarism indicators:
Adapted from University of Alberta Libraries Guide to Plagiarism and Cyber-Plagiarism.
Instructors at NYU have access to Turnitin, a plagiarism detection tool. In addition to acting as a plagiarism deterrent by detecting unoriginal content in student papers, it also has features designed to aid in educating students about plagiarism and the importance of proper attribution of sources.
For help and training opportunities using Turnitin contact the Center for Faculty Innovations in Teaching and Learning (FITL).