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Why is it important to avoid plagiarism in Higher Education and how might text-

matching software help?

Plagiarism is defined as the use of another author’s word, ideas, innovation and thoughts without
proper acknowledgement of the source (Larkham, 2002). Ever since human beings started writing, we
can see a history of plagiarism taking place, for example (Theisohn, 2009). As Park (2003) acknowledged
that, ‘copying from other writers is probably as old as writing itself, but until the advent of mass-
produced writing, it remained hidden from the public gaze’ (p. 473). As we talk more about plagiarism,
one thing we can certainly say for sure is that, plagiarism in higher education is a recurring conundrum
(Jiang, Emmerton, & Mckange, 2013)

In these modern times where information is accessible with the click of a button, a research by (Šprajc,
et al. 2017) found out that the most predominant reason for plagiarism in student are ease of the access
to information and communication technology. Even though there is no empirical research that could
link plagiarism and the Internet together (Carter, 2008), there are numerous studies that show the ease
of access to Internet act as a catalyst for plagiarism such as (Emerson, 2008)

Therefore, why is it so important to avoid plagiarism in Higher Education? Plagiarism wasn’t considered
an intellectual theft until the early seventeenth century, Mallon (1989). Nowadays, plagiarism is not just
considered as stealing but also taking credit for something they didn’t produce. This highly discredits
the person’s work and deems it offensive. Higher Education Institutions expect a lot from their student
as the Institution are grooming the students to be ready in their respective subjects. Plagiarism can not
only make a student lose their integrity and there is also a growing concern that students are losing their
innovation and originality. One of the most concerning fact is that most of the most students are not
even aware that they are unintentionally doing plagiarism (Dawson and Overfield 2006).

Higher Education Institutions are already aware of this situation. Universities are making investment to
make students aware of the plagiarism and some universities even are making their own plagiarism
electronic detection software or making use of the site (Mottley, 2004). Plagiarism
detection software helps student understand that they are copying some author’s work and proper
referencing is required for the work to be valid. However, the research conducted by (Youmans 2011)
suggests that even though students were made aware that their work will be viewed by Turnitin, some
student plagiarized anyway.

Whether students are aware what plagiarism is or they are not, plagiarism should be not acceptable
either way. It is the Institutions duty to make student aware of plagiarism and how they should avoid it.
If any student repeats the offence they should be brought in by the university and proper punishment
must be implemented.

1. Theisohn, Philipp. Plagiat: eine unoriginelle Literaturgeschichte. Vol. 351. Kröner, 2009.

2. Larkham, Peter J., and Susan Manns. "Plagiarism and its treatment in higher education." Journal
of Further and Higher Education 26.4 (2002): 339-349.

3. Jiang, H., Emmerton, L. and McKauge, L., 2013. Academic integrity and plagiarism: a review of
the influences and risk situations for health students. Higher Education Research &
Development, 32 (3), 369-380.

4. Šprajc, P., Urh, M., Jerebic, J., Trivan, D. and Jereb, E., 2017. Reasons for Plagiarism in Higher
Education. Organizacija, 50 (1), 33-45.

5. Carter, D.B. (2008). Honors, honor codes, and academic integrity: Where and how do they
converge and diverge? Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 9(2), 15–20.

6. Emerson, L. (2008). Plagiarism, a Turnitin trial and experience of cultural disorientation. In M.

Vicinus and C. Eisner (Eds.), Originality, imitation and plagiarism: Teaching writing in the digital
age (pp. 183-194), Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press

7. Mallon T. Stolen Words. Forays into the Origins and Ravages of Plagiarism. New York: Ticknor &
Fields; 1989

8. Dawson, M.M., and Overfield, J.A., 2006. Plagiarism: Do Students Know What It Is? Bioscience
Education, 8 (1), 1-15.

9. Mottley, J. (2004) Is Google suitable for detecting plagiarism? Centre for Bioscience Bulletin

10. Youmans, R.J., 2011. Does the adoption of plagiarism-detection software in higher education
reduce plagiarism? Studies in Higher Education, 36 (7), 749-761.