This essay focuses on the reasons why college students plagiarize, to what extent the students can be taught about plagiarism, and how to avoid it and reduce the incidence of plagiarism. Nowadays, the issue of plagiarism is of great concern to universities. In one study conducted in UK, 46% of undergraduates conceded having copied an entire paragraph into their work without acknowledgement at least once (Bennett, 2005). Moreover, Wang (2008) noticed a worrying situation toward this issue. In his research, there seems to be a consensus among college students that plagiarism has become a common practice. Therefore, it is vital to find the reasons why student plagiarize and then could conceive a plan to resist the negative trend. This essay argues that students plagiarize mainly because they lack skills to paraphrase and quote well, and they don’t have a unanimous understanding of what constitutes plagiarism. It is further argued that enculturation is the best way to avoid plagiarism.
Basically, the vast majority of students are aware that they should act as good students. Early from primary school, teachers had taught them to do homework independently, and copy others’ homework would be despised by classmates. So most students, if they want to be good, are trying to avoid copying from others or plagiarizing at any cost. However, because of laziness and trust to luck, some students would still take the risk of being caught and plagiarize, which constitutes intentional plagiarism. The intentional plagiarism conducted by who knows the rules clearly and breaks them out of some wrongful causes, is beyond the focus of this essay, for the reason that the intentional plagiarism are merely personal choices made by minority students. If students are capable of accomplish their homework or papers brilliantly without resorting to anyone else, they must finish them by their own, to gain a sense of accomplishment instead of being despised by others.
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