Everything You Need to Know About Plagiarism

why do you need to know about plagiarism.


Anagi Peiris

a test to take to make sure you don’t break anyof the rules of plagiarism

There have been sanctions against further enrollment in higher education institutions, revoking of a degree, suspensions issued, books burnt, artwork destroyed, and twenty-five thousand dollar lawsuits all for….copyright violation. Since information has become widely available and ideas are easily disseminated on the Internet, students at every level of education have been tempted to plagiarize for the sake of saving themselves some effort, but ultimately, taking such shortcuts is not in their best interests.

William Shakespeare usually receives credit for the creation and orchestration of thirty-seven brilliant plays that still delight crowds today please crowds draw swarms today endure in theatres today, but some historians suspect there is a good chance several of his plots and characters were borrowed elements from other contemporaries in England. Pythagoras, a Greek mathematician, is well known for the theorem in geometry: a2+b2=c2, yet records have shown the geometry principle was already being put in practice by the Chinese at the same time. Although the question is not whether or not they are capable of coming up with original work, students are now held to more precise standards of academic integrity, yet unprecedented numbers of them are failing.

Plagiarism, particularly in student papers, has been on the rise not only in the past decade but also over the course of the past year during COVID-19. For instance, from 2010 to 2020, college presidents encountered 55% more instances of plagiarism in student papers. With the general anonymity afforded by online exchanges of assignments, “ghostwriters”, generally employed by high-level professionals interested in authoring a book or political speechwriting, are now garnering additional popularity among students. 

On the collegiate scene in the United States, Lee Ann Clements, a professor at Jackson University says,”Based on the five previous years of data we should have seen between 44% and 52% of the annual [academic integrity violations]  in the spring semester (average of 47%). However, this academic year 61% of cases were in the spring, and 60% of the spring term cases occurred after students began remote learning.” 

But Americans are not the only ones cutting corners on schoolwork. International Recruitment and Services Directors at universities sometimes come across plagiarized or ghostwritten college essays by international students. For example, the Chinese language has no participle form of grammar. Thus when American universities receive foreign enrollment essays with participle phrases beginning a sentence, it is a dead-ringer for cheaters. For some children aspiring to go overseas and study in specifically Western countries, the risk of hiring such personal promotion agents and putting their own name to the work is tempered by the many new opportunities open to those pursuing education abroad. 

Here at Westminster Christian Academy, every English teacher in high school uses turnitin.com, which is software geared towards preventing student plagiarism by comparing student papers with a large base of web resources. Turnitin.com’s plagiarism spectrum identifies 10 different kinds of plagiarism and the website has corroborated that the recent influx of online schooling will come coupled with growing cases of academic dishonesty and cheating. A survey conducted by the Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics found that 34% of students who had plagiarized once before have since repeated the infraction. Yet for students who feel stuck in the same rut of plagiarizing over and over to get the ‘right grade’, the cycle can be broken. Developing one’s own unique literary voice, performing honestly for a genuine self-evaluation, and building one’s writing skills will, over time, restore a degree of the confidence that was lost. All in all, there are many top-notch resources available not only through the Internet but also through mediums like books and magazines, so the least one can do is to generate their own original work and properly cite sources.