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Why Students Should Avoid Plagiarism: What Students Say

By Dr. Mark Stoner
Communication Studies 

The question posed in the title seems like one we really shouldn’t have to ask, but we all know the problem exists, so we have to ask it anyway. The answer could be an entire book grounded in moral and ethical theory. However, you and your friends already know some compelling reasons.

In the Fall semester, 2003, I asked about 25 students in the course, Critical Analysis of Messages, what reasons they had for not plagiarizing, and they all had reasons to give.The reasons boiled down to two: 1) plagiarism is stealing from another person and 2) it hurts you. Here’s what some of them had to say in response to my question: Why should you avoid plagiarism?

Its Stealing from Another

“It is unethical to plagiarize because someone else has worked hard and should receive credit.”

“You wouldn’t want someone else to steal your work!”

[Plagiarism is] “taking property owned by someone else and by not citing the source, the person is stealing  and everyone understands what it means to steal.”

It Hurts You

“Your most important investment is yourself, so if you plagiarize, you are cheating yourself.”

“You don’t learn anything when you plagiarize.”

“It is unethical to steal the work of others.  We all know the difference between right and wrong.”

“Plagiarism prevents you from establishing your own ideas and opinions on a topic.”

“You can’t expect to cheat and plagiarize forever because you’ll get caught the consequences will be bad.”

In conclusion, these seem to be good, practical reasons why no one should plagiarize. If you’d like to know more about the problem, you may want to visit this interesting site:


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