According to many scholars today plagiarism is the plague of modern academic communities, tantamount to stealing other people’s thoughts, ideas and research. Pearson Custom Publishing (2008) defines plagiarism as, “The failure to acknowledge your sources or the act of making it appear that someone else's work is your own.” Sometimes these acts can be unintentional and do to laziness and confusion, at other times these acts are born of deceit and dishonesty. Whatever the reasons that students plagiarize, the act is unethical; by citing sources and acknowledging the published works of others, students and scholars alike can avoid the feelings of betrayal, anger and disappointment that can surface when teachers are dealt the blow of plagiarism.
What speaks to the heart of the problem of plagiarism is that plagiarism is unethical. According to Pearson Custom Publishing (2008), whether information is obtained through radio and television, books and articles, or Internet web pages, all sources must be documented. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that can affect the free exchange of information in academic communities, because this free flow of information is what is relied upon in academic research to increase man’s knowledge and understanding (Pearson Custom Publishing, 2008). When students plagiarize they are not only cheating themselves out of a quality education, but may suffer dire consequences, as well. According to Pearson Custom Publishing (2008), a student who has been found to have plagiarized can be subject not only to disciplinary action by the institution, up to and including expulsion, but can also suffer consequences in the later professional or educational life.
Williams (2007) says, when the subject of plagiarism is brought up to teachers their answers for the reasons students plagiarize run the gamut of explanations from laziness, to outright deceit, to confusion, to a struggle to research new information. But when asked, most...