Students press to succeed in class and as a result from pressure, ignorance and laziness, students plagiarize in written works and assignments.

According to an unscientific survey conducted at Cal Poly of 40 random students, one in every four students admitted to plagiarizing during their academic years.

Some university professors think the understanding of plagiarism is elementary and universally understood; and therefore, most professors dedicate little time to teaching students the various forms of plagiarism.

Maybe teachers need to stop admonishing students to not plagiarize, but tell a student how to avoid it.

The unscientific survey concluded that out of 40 students, only 25 students knew the elements to determine what the definition of plagiarism means, which means only 60 percent of student know the concepts of plagiarism.

Perhaps, we can question the possibility of plagiarism being partially the fault of the university and not the student.

Most students said the meaning of plagiarism is “copying,” but according to plagiarism.org, “terms like ‘copying’ and ‘borrowing’ can disguise the seriousness of the offense.”

Many students believe that changing the words in a sentence avoids plagiarism.

Some students even admit to being taught and encouraged by previous professors to change words in a sentence to prevent copying directly from a source.

But it’s revealed in one definition of plagiarism that even changing words in a sentence equates to plagiarism.

Most survey responses admit to having no knowledge that copying a unique word may be a form of plagiarism.

According to the Web site, “a study by The Center for Academic Integrity found that almost 80 percent of college students admit to cheating at least once.

In addition, a survey by the Psychological Record showed that 36 percent of undergraduates have admitted to plagiarizing written material.

Copying content, sentence structures, a sentence, ideas and a unique word are all considered plagiarism. In a sense, telling a student that these are the forms of plagiarism leaves a student more desperate to plagiarize. What then is not plagiarism?

Over the summer a Cal Poly student faced the detriments of plagiarism and experienced the full extent of the university’s punishment. But we need to ask why students plagiarize and is it really the students’ fault?

Sure, some students plagiarize because they’re downright lazy; some students plagiarize unintentionally and some students plagiarize because the importance of knowing how to write isn’t emphasized enough in classes.

Therefore, it may be the responsibility of the professor to reignite the importance of plagiarism, explain the concepts of plagiarism and advise a student on how to avoid it.

Despite the fact that writing indicates absorbed knowledge, understanding and analytical thinking, students will casually plagiarize and probably continue to plagiarize intentionally and unintentionally until the concepts of plagiarism are not just mentioned, but taught.

Thao Tran is a journalism senior and Mustang Daily reporter.

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