Kamis, 25 Juni 2009

Plagiarism in University: Will You?

Written assignment in form of essay is one common type of assignments in university. Essay can be used for coursework or examination purposes (Smith, 2000, p. 13-16). Through making an essay, students are guided to develop their analysis ability and witting skill. It also helps students to be independent, because it emphasizes students to gather the information, to elaborate ideas, and to compose the whole things together on their own. More over, making essay leads students to train themselves in making intellectual and academic products, as well as prepare them to deal with their research paper that will be required for their graduation. Thus, essay assignment is actually covers all aspects that university students need to learn about (Meyers, 2005, p. 9).

Day by day, as the rise of SCL method—in which students are forced to be actively involved in teaching-learning process, essay assignment becomes more frequently used in university. Unfortunately, all the advantages that an essay may bring are often lost, slip out of the students’ hands, simply because they are not willing to undergo the long-exhausting-process of making it. Many students tend to plagiarize rather than to make their own. Many students prefer to copy others’ works or borrow someone else’s original ideas and pretend as if they are theirs.

The word ‘to plagiarize’, according to the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, can be translated as: “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own; to use (another's production) without crediting the source; to commit literary theft; to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source” (Merriam-Webster, 2009 ). Or simply put, as written in plagiarism.org, “plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else’s work and lying about it afterward” (What is Plagiarism?, (n.d.))

Plagiarism is surely a huge issue in nowadays education. Adam Beam wrote in his article, “a survey conducted by a Rutgers University professor found that 38 percent of college students have participated in the cut-and-paste style of online plagiarism during the past year [2002]”. He also wrote, “Forty percent of students surveyed also said they had plagiarized from written sources, and 25 percent of the 2,175 graduate students surveyed admitted to [commit] some form of Internet or written plagiarism” (Beam, 2003). These are only small observable phenomena in western countries. What about those cases which are not observed? What about those in other countries, especially developing countries? Maybe the percentage is higher since the copyright laws there are less strict. For short, relying on these facts, it is make sense to say that plagiarism has become a habit for university’s students.

Generally, there are two kinds of plagiarism: the unintentional plagiarism; and the intentional one.
Unintentional plagiarism happens due to students’ unawareness of it. Some students still do not know that taking someone else’s work and idea without giving proper credit is actually a crime against the law of copyright and academic ethics. In other extend, unintentional plagiarism occurs because of citing confusion. For example, students are often confused about which fact needs to be cited, which fact needs not; how to paraphrase an idea; or does paraphrased sentence still has to be cited or not. Another example is, some students with bad note-taking skill often sloppily mix up their own notes with notes that hey copy from other sources into their essays.
Intentional plagiarism means that students deliberately plagiarize someone else’s work for a particular purpose. They know that their doings are wrong, but they keep carry on with that. The problem is, why do students plagiarize intentionally?

Many reasons may be pointed as the causes of intentional plagiarism. One of them is deadline problem. For most of the times, students are given a lot of assignments at the same time, while the deadlines are coming quicker than they expect. Then, for students, plagiarizing is a short cut to handle such situation. They can easily copy other’s works; submit it on the due date, and save more time for other activities.
Another common reason is lack of self-confidence. Some students think that their own ideas in their own words will not seem as good as those which have been published as articles or books. Then, taking the already done works of others will be better, they think. Grade issue is also commonly become the reason to plagiarize. Some students are willing to do anything in order to achieve high grade for their assignments, including cheating and plagiarizing, though they know it is a wrong deed.

Within the last decades, plagiarism seems to be growing worse. More and more students take plagiarism as a common act. In some situations, students even consciously let their peer to plagiarize their works. As written in plagiarism.org, “The State of Americans: This Generation and the Next (Free Press, July 1996) states that 58.3% of high school students let someone else copy their work in 1969, and 97.5% did so in 1989” (Facts about plagiarism, (n.d.)). Of course, there are aspects that enable plagiarism-growth to take place.

The first aspect is the growth of internet. An unlimited amount of information is now available on the internet. Some students may see this as a change to make their job easier. “A national survey published in Education Week found that 54% students admitted to plagiarizing from the internet”, says plagiarism.org (Facts about plagiarism, (n.d.)). From online sources, students can take any article from popular sites or from the most unknown sites, edit it a little, then claim it as theirs. The second aspect is lecturers’ ignorance toward the issue. “Another survey published in Education Week found that 47% of students believe their teachers some times choose to ignore students who are cheating. A study conducted by Donald L. McCabe in 2003 found that 55% of faculty “would not be willing to devote any real effort to documenting suspected incidents of student cheating”” (facts about plagiarism, (n.d.)). If lecturers/teachers are ignoring plagiarism committed by students, then who will stop the students from doing so?

The last aspect that allows plagiarism grows is the feeling of ‘every one else is doing it’. This one happens to both students and lecturers. Students tend to judge plagiarism by seeing that it is fine when their peer does it, then it will be just fine for them as well to do the same. While for lecturers, they justify by seeing that other lecturers are ignoring the issue, then why should they sweat over looking for websites and articles trying to figure out if a paper is plagiarized or not? (Plagiarism FAQs, (n.d.))

Plagiarism is a thread for education. Academic standard of intellectual honesty is an absolute requirement to be fulfilled in education. If students are accustomed to plagiarize, how can they surpass the standard? In addition, plagiarism habit will psychologically make students lazy and unproductive. If we let this going on and on, it will gradually decrease the quality of university’s graduates. Then, what can we expect from our graduates?

After all, we have to fight this habit. To prevent and overcome plagiarism may seem to be a hard work, but it is not a mission-impossible. The most important steps to do are: become aware of reasons that causes plagiarism occurs, then help students to deal with them by supporting and encouraging them; identify different forms of plagiarism, then apply a proper reward-and-punishment mechanism to disciplinize the students; and integrating plagiarism prevention techniques into the courses. The biggest responsibility to do all of these is certainly lies on the lecturers’ shoulders, because it is their job to hold a well-managed education. And in the end, all it takes is only willingness.

So, will you fight plagiarism?

Reference List

Beam, Adam. (2003). Survey shows plagiarism is up. Retrieved June 17, 2009, from http://media.www.dailygamecock.com/media/storage/paper247/news/2003/09/17/News/Survey.Shows.Plagiarism.Is.Up-467467.shtml
Facts about plagiarism (n.d.) Retrieved June 3, 2009, from http://www.plagiarism.org/plag_article_facts_about_plagiarism.html
Meyers, A. (2005). Gateways to academic writing: effective sentences, paragraphs and essay. Ney York: Peasson Education, Inc.
Plagiarism FAQs (n.d.) Retrieved June 3, 2009, from http://www.plagiarism.org/plag_article_plagiarism_faqs.html
Plagiarize, v. (2009). Merriam-Webster.com. retrieved June 22, 2009, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plagiarize
Smith, P. (2000). Writing an assignment: reflective ways to improve your research and presentation skills (4th ed). Plymouth: How to Books
What is Plagiarism? (n.d) Retrieved June 3, 2009, from http://www.plagiarism.org/plag_article_what_is_plagiarism.html

7 komentar:

LKMM BEM Fakultas Sastra Unand mengatakan...

plagiat itu gak boleh,
kecuali kalau lagi kepepet :D

Unofficial Drama Class mengatakan...

ya, banyak juga paper di kelas drama yang berbau plagiat... :(

Muhammad Adek mengatakan...

Oh.. It's stick me more! Haha

kesehaRian Ra-Kun mengatakan...

what do u mean dek?

Muhammad Adek mengatakan...

Menikam saya .. Haha

kesehaRian Ra-Kun mengatakan...

'stab', lebih cocok untuk bilang 'menikam'.
'stik' itu 'menempel'.

Muhammad Adek mengatakan...

Ia ia,bgtulah.. Maklum.. Msh bljar..hehe

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