Academic Dishonesty: Internet Plagiarism

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Academic dishonesty has been a significant challenge in higher institutions and has been viewed with different degrees of approval all the way through history. Internet plagiarism has contributed significantly to academic dishonesty. The research carried out revealed that 7 to 81% of teacher candidates occasionally, usually, seldom or frequently took part in internet plagiarism such as citing from an internet source to an improper degree, intentionally coping with internet resources, using the internet to copy work from other people without their permission or using the same project for other courses. Gender, time one spends on the computer, and the department were the significant factors contributing to academic dishonesty. The grade level, knowledge about internet use and writing rules, educational levels of parents were of insignificant influence. Few female teacher candidates plagiarized as compared to male teacher candidates. This is explained in detail using the gender socialization model and male’s aspiration to outshine and male’s attitude of giving essential attention to moral values as compared to females. Departments with students studying mathematical sciences and computers displayed significant levels of plagiarism due to their technological know-how and improved skills of how to manipulate computers.

The primary reasons that contribute to internet plagiarism identified as deadline or time constraints or pressure for projects or assignments were reasons frequently found with literature students. However, difficulties in plans and overloaded course requirements and also time constraints are categorized as contextual reasons related to internet plagiarism. Higher education institutions need to work on more systematic programs to increase awareness on the need for academic integrity. Therefore, practice and increased awareness should be paramount and reinforced in higher education systems through seminars, projects, training, workshops and inclusion of courses on academic integrity.

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Robert Merton, an American Sociologist, argued that the American society socialized into trusting the American dream and that the society one is living in could put pressure and most importantly encourage deviance (Bryant,2014). Merton gives an example of the United States as a prime example of high levels of deviance as they highly value success not emphasizing how to achieve success (Franzese, 2015). The set goals create a gap since all cannot meet them and as a result, this imbalance between setting goals and means to achieve then develops tension or strain. Merton’s conformity vision is then proved when students study hard to get good grades and try to succeed notwithstanding the difficulties and eventually graduate (Epstein, 2014). Other students try to adapt, and the most precise and simplest way will be innovation. Innovation is the best Merton’s adaptation mode that applies to students who find themselves strained as a result of the set social goals (Stein, 2015). Innovation for most students is when they want to achieve the same valuable goals as the confirmed students that is, value rewards awarded and success, but end up using wrong ways such as plagiarism to become successful.

To conclude, internet plagiarism is a growing concern, and each student should understand and avoid any academic dishonesty and manage their time effectively to prevent any chances of strain. This study will be useful through awareness and addressing the fast-growing challenge of internet plagiarism in this century full of technology-focused society. Students should be warned against plagiarism as a punishable offense and recognize the actual world penalties for plagiarism that spread out beyond the school setup. Plagiarism is a severe offense in the educational setup than any other academic dishonesty. Therefore, students should uphold academic integrity to dissuade them from academic dishonesty. In line with this, teachers should also take responsibility and help successfully curb the problem.  


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