Plagiarism is commonly known as the practice of taking an individual’s work and passing it on as one’s own. It is an obstacle the Higher Educational institutions have to constantly withstand during the past decade (Neville, 2010). In order to confront the issue of plagiarism, reasons need to be addressed. This essay will shed light on the various causes of intentional and unintentional plagiarism. The focus is on three main ideas; it begins by stating the most common reasons behind intentional plagiarism which are the poor time management of students, and the importance of achieving high grades. After that the causes of unintentional plagiarism are mentioned, which consist of the elaboration of a psychological phenomenon that may cause students to unconsciously plagiarize, and then the focus will move on to the misunderstanding students experience because of the definition of plagiarism being unclear. Finally, the effect of cultural differences on the plagiarism of international students viewed.
Firstly, the most prevalent cause of intentional plagiarism among students in English speaking universities is the various forms pressure that the students face such as time related pressure. This statement is supported by Neville’s (2010) research which demonstrates that 54% of plagiarism among students is caused by poor time managing skills. Students in universities are bombarded with a large amount of workload and the majority of students claim that it is challenging when lectures, tests and due dates are all concurrent to each other (Sterngold, 2004 cited in Neville, 2010). This is confirmed by typical responses of students in American universities which are, “So many assignments in 12 weeks.” and plagiarism was justified by students as a way “to ease the workload.” (Devlin & Gray, 2007, p.189). In addition to the workload students also have to balance college activities, social life, sports and so on (Silverman, 2002 cited in Park, 2003). These numerous assignments within a short period, along with the attempt to balance non-academic factors could contribute towards student plagiarism, however other forms of pressures should also be considered as factors of plagiarism.
Another pressure that students have to face is the need of obtaining high grades. As a consequence, grades became the main reason of plagiarism and it is the reason of 59% of plagiarism acts among students (Neville, 2010). During this present time higher grades are not just needed to pass a course or a subject, high grades are also necessary to acquire internships and job interviews in firms and business, due to this education is now viewed as a “commodity” by students and the learning is just a “commercial transaction” to attain that commodity (Neville, 2010, p.32). This has led the majority of students to believe that higher grades are a requirement to succeed in the fierce competition of the labour force which also may contribute toward student plagiarism.
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