Plagiarism: Why do people do it?


Angel Ferguson

Don’t you just love it when you say a joke, someone around you repeats it, and everyone laughs? Not when you said it, but when they said it. Or when you draw a picture for someone and they show it around the school, taking credit for something you drew. This is called plagiarism, or according to the University of Oxford, “…presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own, with or without their consent, by incorporating it into your work without full acknowledgment.”

We don’t like it, and we all hate it when it happens. This is actually quite common in school which is why teachers always tell you to put things in your own words. So why do people plagiarize, and how did it start?

Why Do People Plagiarize?

According to the Rochester Institute of Technology’s plagiarism and copyright, it states, “There are many reasons students choose to plagiarize or cheat.  Reasons range from the more genuine lack of knowledge to outright dishonorable intentions.”

RIT also provided a list of reasons why students cheat, “Collectively, the most frequently stated reasons students choose to plagiarize or cheat include:

  • Desire to get a good grade
  • Fear of failing
  • Procrastination or poor time management
  • Disinterest in the assignment
  • The belief they will not get caught
  • Confusion about what constitutes plagiarism or current university policies”

You might deny these reasons and say that you haven’t done this before, but we all know a time where we have indeed plagiarized. Of course, one of the reasons does say “Confusion about what constitutes plagiarism,” and some students would agree that this explains why they may be accounted for plagiarism. Time and time again we are told by teachers that we should not copy and paste unless if we put quotes around it, or just write it in our own words. But what do you do if a teacher uses a plagiarism checker and you get accused of plagiarism, even if you put it in your own words?

Plagiarism-finding websites aren’t going to be your 100% guaranteed site for plagiarism, but they’re not the worst either. These plagiarism checkers are computerized and pinpoint sentences that sound similar in comparison to other sources. It doesn’t always mean you plagiarized from a website, but do understand that your words sound like other sources. Of course, you still have to give credit to where you found the information. That way your teacher would at least know that you didn’t ctrl+c someone’s work.

For more information about plagiarism by Rochester Institute of Technology, CLICK HERE!!