In this article the author talks about plagiarism and feels that Internet could be one of the reasons why plagiarism is rapidly spreading, with Internet, students find it easy to cut copy paste data. But he mentions that to find out the exact measure of plagiarism that students do is still to be found, as there is lack of reliable first hand data on the rate of occurrence, nature and extent of plagiarism in student assignments.
The author also mentions International as well as distant learning students, are more prone to higher levels of plagiarism cause they come from different backgrounds of academic, culture or reasons linked to the pressures of living and studying in a new environment. For distant learning students it is because of very little or no contact with their faculty. Novice students or young students are more prone to plagiarism than students who are older.
The author also tries to tell us whether the software ‘Turnitin” is a boon or bane to find the measure of plagiarism with the help of a study which had an aim to find out what students actually do, rather than just agree to what they say they do, in terms of Plagiarism. The study talks about two university business assignments that involved 569 students and 1098 scripts approximately, in which different styles of plagiarism were recorded. Nationality, study mode and age did confirm some findings about the nature of student plagiarism but a few others did not provide significant relationship.
While plagiarism may or may not be rampant, the belief that it is rampant is certainly rampant (Zwagerman, 2008). Plagiarism is an act or instance of using the language and thoughts of someone, without the authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author (Dictionary. com). One of the most important points mentioned in this article is, Internet could be one of the strong reasons for the rapid spread of plagiarism, students often forget that the use of Internet is for their understanding and not for stealing data.
But on the other hand there could be so many social reasons to instigate the same, like short class contact time, new course work delivery which stress collaborative learning, minimal contact between student and teacher or even misinterpretation of the word plagiarism (Ashworth, Bannister and Thorne. 1997) The extensive use of the Internet as a primary source of learning materials has put a cloud over the issue of students’ perception of plagiarism. (Thompsett and Ahluwalia, 2010).
Another point is, International students are more prone to higher levels of plagiarism cause they come from different backgrounds of academic, culture or reasons linked to the pressures of living and studying in a new environment could be a possibility but it could just be the lack of understanding of the act, rather than cultural values is what Wheeler (2006) mentions. People from different nationality surely come from different cultural backgrounds but in their countries plagiarism might not be considered a moral transgression examples such as Japan (Wheeler 2006).
The author mentions that Japanese students have little knowledge in formal writing thus incorporating others work in their own work. International students can find it difficult to adjust to the new environment; it is also difficult to change the way one has been learning for their whole life, but you need to adjust and adapt to the new surroundings in order to survive. Turnitin – This software detects similarity but does nothing to assist the students with citation and referencing that Universities use to define plagiarism.
Universities and Higher Educational institutions have used Turnitin as a plagiarism detection tool without providing empirical data to whether the students find it useful. (Thompsett and Ahluwalia, 2010). The software should be useful to students so that they do not plagiarise, not for assessing them alone. Even Mckeever (2006) has pointed out that the software Turnitin has significant limitations such as it may not detect material from invisible web sources such as password protected databases which again doesn’t give you the actual extent of plagiarism.
The article mentions students studying in forth year of enrolment, plagiarise data more than first year students. The author believes that the longer you remain in an academic environment; you appear to develop and refine your plagiarism skills (Walker, 2010). But the data mentioned in the article consists nearly 50% of the total number of students, in forth year and only 19% in first and second year, so it is difficult to generalize the issue from the authors point of view.
The methodology used in the article could have been appropriate if the survey was not only held for two university assignments in New Zealand territory and only one anti plagiarism software being used. If this could have been proven at a larger scale it could have been generalized. The questions that arise from this article are whether the software Turnitin is a reliable piece of tool to rely on for finding plagiarism? Do International students plagiarise data on purpose or unintentionally? Are students who have been in the academic environment for long more skilled at plagiarising?
Is Internet a tool used for plagiarising data or just for understanding? Why do students plagiarise even when the act is an academic crime? Plagiarism has been at a rise every since the word was derived and there are no intentions of it slowing down at least till today, as you never know what happens tomorrow. It acts like a virus; it grows and then starts spreading. There are antibiotics such as anti-plagiarism software’s but overuse of any antibiotic makes it less and less effective. In the same way plagiarists have responded to anti plagiarism software by changing how they plagiarise and the source they plagiarise from.
Students should not treat plagiarism with fear as it can be tackled in many ways. Thus universities should shift the way they deal with plagiarism, finding a more product approach to the problem (Bailey, 2010).
Ashworth, P. , P. Bannister, and P. Thorne. 1997. Guilty in whose eyes? University students’ perceptions of cheating and plagiarism in academic work and assessment. Studies in Higher Education 22, no. 2: 187–203. Bailey, J. 2010. How Schools Are Hurting the Fight Against Plagiarism. Plagiarism Today Dictionary. com McKeever, L. 2006. Online plagiarism detection services – Saviour or scourge?
Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 31, no. 2: 155–65. Thompsett, A. and Ahluwalia, J. 2010. Students Turned Off by Turnitin? Perception of Plagiarism and Collusion. Undergraduate Bioscience Students 16-3 Wheeler, G. (2009) Plagiarism in the Japanese universities: Truly a cultural matter? Journal of Second Language Writing, 18, (1) 17–29 Walker, J. 2010. Measuring plagiarism: researching what students do, not what they say they do. Studies in Higher Education, 35:1, 41-59 Zwagerman, S. 2008. The Scarlet P: Plagiarism, panopticism, and the rhetoric of academic integrity. College Composition and Communication 59, no. 4: 676–710.