Stealing or Borrowing?

Plagiarism can be defined as using someone else’s words or ideas and passes them off as their own. The concept of plagiarism can be traced back to antiquity. According the ancient Latin origin, plagiarize is rooted form the word plagiaries to indicate theft of works. Pennycook (1996) reveals that there is an issue arisen regarding plagiarizing idea and plagiarizing language. Plagiarizing ideas is meant by using other ideas by rephrasing the language while plagiarizing language is on the other hand, which is keeping the language without taking the idea.

It is undeniably that students develop the certain relationship to texts in order to learn something out from the everyday context they encounter in their students lives. Therefore, a study was done in Hong Kong by an informal interview. It emerged some concern and some even lead to a more complicated discussion, as it could not just a case of students copied a passage and wished to deal with the work. In most of the scenario, students always have the “pre-perception” that they cannot complete a good job even without trying to do first.

Good job as being referred here is that the “plagiarism” is more known as symptom of careless work, rather than an intentionally planned work. Many different reasons have been given due to the issue of plagiarism by students and most of which are related to ignorance or misunderstanding of good referencing practices, or poor engagement or lack of ideas towards the issue at hand, rather than due to dishonest intentions. Some students plagiarize because they think it will be better to used original idea and word for a clear message and there are even some do not aware their wrong even though they have committed plagiarism in their works.

Although some of them are unintentional, there is still someone who knows the wrong of this dishonest act. But they are still continuing such behavior due to the chances of being caught, severities of punishment and perceptions of peer behaviour. This is especially true of the peer behaviour. Academic dishonesty is undeniably strongly relates to this behaviour. The facts is that the college students plagiarize sources from Internet among their peers is much more frequent than doing reports by themselves. Internet plagiarism is viewed as common thing for many students and this misperception is potentially to cause worrying consequences.

Pennycook (1996) claims that heavy workload is one of the reason of plagiarism among students. Besides, the students that are in first year at university life have not mush expectation to work hard as the first year students are only required to pass. At the same time, the quality of the lectures and tutorials has disappointed them as well. From this point of view, these study habits become more resistance than of ignorance, ineptitude, or dishonesty. Nowadays, students are more refers to deal with plagiarism from electronic sources.

Undoubted, globalization with the advancement of technology had greatly increased the electronic resources in the last few decades do provide extremely abundant amount of information and thus increased the accessibility and availability of the data. As we can see, Internet “cut and paste” plagiarism is common among students nowadays. For example, Ellery (2008) mentions that in a survey done on plagiarism amongst first-year geography students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, the issues emerged here is that use of electronic sources of information has greatly influencing students writing and the incidence of plagiarism.

The most ordinary reason for plagiarism from electronic sources is that they were unaware of the requirement to acknowledge such sources, especially in an in-text format. Besides, they are influenced by the thinking of obtaining information from the internet is considered as researching rather than cheating. The younger generations are being raised with “borrowing” ideas from different sources and compile them into their own work. Scanlon (2003) strongly believes cyber-plagiarism is much higher among high school students.

They think Internet plagiarism is the easiest way of copying, hard to be traced and supported by research. The most troubling are the high levels of Internet plagiarism among high school students. There is a high possibility that these students, who are always exposed to the Internet, have come across certain text in cyberspace and take it as theirs for theirs works. Plagiarism is disagreed by the academic community due the recognizing of the creators’ works. The commercialization of writing has raised the concept of copyright and the role of author is more important nowadays.

Beside, plagiarism hinders the learning progress of the students as well. In the progress of learning and researching, a person will be exposed to new knowledge. Simply copy and pass up other’s works without understanding the subject or things that students are writing will eventually prevent their intellectual growth. The matter of plagiarism which is now commonly seen in college or university campuses should be concerned, even if available evidence showing that the estimates of plagiarize may be just overstated.

Scanlon (2003) mentions the misperceptions among students regarding Internet plagiarism by their peers are deeply influencing their decisions to plagiarize. Some students even facing problem that they do not know how to cite electronic sources in-text, although is it despite of tutoring and practice on the technicalities of referencing, including that of electronic sources. In facts, the information needed to identify a print source for example author, date, publisher and etc. are all can be accessed easily, however this circumstance is less on most of the electronic documents.

If one really wants to take the information from a source, their works and the works that they found from doing research should be attributed properly. That is why the practice of referencing should be encouraged among the students as one part of academic writing. Ellery (2008) has point out that failure to internalize the need to reference and act accordingly maybe due to the fact that the underlying reasons for referencing were not explored in any depth with the students in this study. So students must practice referencing in order to distinguish the source of ideas and words.

Failing of distinguishing is considered as plagiarism. All in all, plagiarism is undoubtedly no different with stealing of other’s property. The issue of plagiarizing should be strongly takcle to maintain or to protect the originallity of an object, In order to discourage the students from attempting plagiarism, colleges and universities should respond to plagiarism more critical than ever. More importantly, students themselves should change their attitudes in studies and stop “stealing” the properties of authors.