What comes to one’s mind when we think about plagiarism, many people may think of theft or the act of stealing intellectual property. According to Webster-Merriams’ dictionary, plagiarism is “the act stealing and passing off (the ideas and words of others) as one’s own” (Webster-Merriam). Webster seems to have left a little something out. Plagiarism is not just the act of stealing one’s work. It is also the result of ethical deterioration of academic integrity. In the discussion of plagiarism, a controversial issue is whether plagiarism is taken seriously enough and whether the consequences are severe enough. Many people assume the obvious — that the consequences of plagiarism result in a letter grade deduction on a paper or a complete zero on the assignment. The real consequence of plagiarism is the deterioration of academic integrity and degeneration of ethics. Unfortunately, students are not taking the consequences seriously.
In the recent briefing of plagiarism, a controversial issue has been whether the consequences of plagiarism are taken seriously enough. On the one hand, some argue that plagiarism is becoming a more socially acceptable norm for many students. From this perspective, the severity of plagiarism consequences are not seen as severe. According to the authors Ma, Lu, Wan and Turner,
Who’s Who (1998) conducted their 29th annual survey among high school students nation- wide, they found that 80 percent of the students admitted that they had cheated on school work in general with or without the help of the Internet, a four- point jump from the figure reported in the 1997 survey (Ma, et al 70).
These findings challenge a common assumption that plagiarism is taken seriously and the severity of the consequences takes care of preventing plagiarism within itself. On the other hand, others argue that the new “lax” attitude adopted by many young people contributes to the social acceptance of plagiarism in the academic setting. In the data collected by Hard, a drastic 60.6 percent of students had copied sentences, phrases, paragraphs, tables, figures, or data directly or in slight modification of a book, article, or other academic sources without giving proper acknowledgment to the author (Hard 1069). This statistically illustrates that plagiarizing has become acceptable among most young adults. In sum, the main issues are the deteriorated integrity of the student when plagiarism occurs and degenerated ethics that happen to lessen one’s morals.
The standard views toward plagiarism are obviously seen to carry a negative stigma. Not too many people view plagiarism as a proud action. Why is it that plagiarism now a days is somewhat socially acceptable, but still in our academic culture viewed as cheating and consequently unethical? The Internet is the main breeding ground for plagiarism and the wonderful characteristics of the Internet makes plagiarism a lot easier. Ultimately, what is at stake here is that one will plagiarize from the...