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Ethics and the College Student

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Ethics is the moral checks and balances that define and guide the acts of individuals. There are also termed as the ideal type of behaviors and sets standards on how to best behave. Applying ethics ensures that there is fairness and equity as every individual’s behavior is directed towards the welfare of others (Espejo, 2010). Appreciating this, there is the need to ensure that ethics is applied in all aspects of life including in the education sector. If there is the application of ethics in the education sector, then more healthy competition can be guaranteed to the students thereby aiding in improving the standards. However, in the education sector, the greatest threat to upholding ethics is vice known as plagiarism. The greatest challenge is how the thousands of students engaging in the same tasks and utilizing the same books can avoid this vice. Plagiarism is a vice that not only limits creativity but also demotivates the authors from providing more pool of knowledge. With the seriousness of the threat posed by plagiarism in terms of its limiting factors, there is need to sensitize students on the ways to avoid falling victims to the vice. The only way to defeat this vice in education institutions is through appreciating that Plagiarism can be avoided because it is impossible for any two students to construct and present an assignment in an identical manner.

Rationale behind the Thesis Statement

The different forms of plagiarism come as a result of one individual utilizing another one’s works without doing diligent acknowledgment. In the same manner, despite the usage of same reference and undertaking same task, students can only engage in plagiarism acts if they do not fully engage their creativity. In addition, when presenting one’s work, the approach, understanding and interpretation between different students can never be identical. What this means is the fact that, though the students may be engaging in the same tasks and utilizing the same books, their understanding of the resources can never be the same. Even though they might understand the resources in a similar manner, the interpretation will always have aspects of one’s originality. This leads to a conclusion that indeed if the students can be sincere and guide their engagement with the set ethics, plagiarism can surely be eliminated in the education sector.


The best approach when it comes to confronting a vice is by understanding it better. Once you are fully conversant with all relevant variables, it is simpler to realign in a more informed manner thus having an advantage when dealing with the problem. Besides, once you familiarize with the problem at hand, there is the need to understand the possible repercussions that one can face once you get into the vice. In the same manner, students need to have a comprehensive perspective on matter revolving around plagiarism. The simplest definition of plagiarism is utilizing another person’s work or ideology and passing it as it yours (Watkins, 2008).

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In-Depth Understanding of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a more serious crime that takes different shapes and perspectives. The most conspicuous aspect is the fact that plagiarism can be termed as an act of theft. This is because it entails literary theft where individuals use available information without appreciating the author or the original source (Watkins, 2008). This is the most common action that has seen the vice creep slowly into the education sector. Students present already existing information in various tasks given in a manner that does not reflect their usage. In other words, students fail to recognize clearly the reference source and in turn present the information as their own.

General Forms of plagiarism

Intentional plagiarism

This is a well-crafted action of utilizing other people’s ideas, work or findings as your own. There is not citation or acknowledgment of the source. It is commonly known as literary theft (Gibaldi &Modern Language Association of America, 2009).

Unintentional plagiarism

This is a case where individuals accidentally leave out proper citation requires after referring to a source either due to lack of knowledge of the art of referencing or on matters plagiarism. It may also be an influence of not identifying where and when they are supposed to acknowledge the source.

Specific Forms of Plagiarism

Plagiarism of Words

This is a form of plagiarism is manifested in the form of identical wording without properly citing the source. It involves reproduction of ideas, research findings, and perspectives without properly recognizing the source. Here the primary actions leading to plagiarism is the use of the exact pool of information without properly quoting and referencing the source. The pre-existing idea is regenerated as a new idea and presented as such (Gibaldi &Modern Language Association of America, 2009). 

Plagiarism of Structure

This is where an individual engages in paraphrasing the other person’s wording and at the same time changing the original sentence construction. It may also take the form of paraphrasing while upholding the same sentence structure and in addition acknowledging the source.

Plagiarism of Ideas

This involves the presentation of other people’s ideas without giving credit to them. It may also be in the form of presenting other people’s ideas without the accompaniment of proper citation or without citations at all. This makes leads to the individual concerned presenting pre-existing ideologies as his or hers (Gibaldi &Modern Language Association of America, 2009).

Plagiarism of Authorship/ Third Party Plagiarism

This form of plagiarism takes the form of handing in work from another party as yours. The document might from a friend or from a contracted party via the internet, and once you get it, you submit it as one’s original work (Sutherland-Smith, 2008).

Plagiarism of Self

This is where one uses his or her previous work for a different task. A good example is where you are to engage in an assignment that you may have handled on another platform. Instead of re-engaging in the new task, the individual at hand uses his/her previous work or findings to get credit for under the new task (Gibaldi &Modern Language Association of America, 2009). Despite the original findings being yours, utilizing the same document for different purposes is viewed as cheating.

General Take

The above forms of plagiarism clearly indicate the inhibiting and the undermining attributes the plagiarism vice has. In terms of the inhibiting factor, plagiarism makes the individual concerned not to engage fully in their tasks at hand. The result is the reality that the individuals utilize an already existing pool of knowledge that they do not understand completely. This in turn generates a culture of result oriented rather than knowledge oriented. This heavily inhibits the creativity of the concerned individuals (Watkins, 2008). In the context of the student, they hand in assignments that they have not fully researched or understood. This heavily undermines their readiness in terms of employability and the general education standards. On the other hand, plagiarism has an undermining factor in terms of availability of more resource pool.

When individuals engage in plagiarism rather than engaging in an in-depth research, the result is the duplication of ideas (Watkins, 2008). In turn, there will be no more generation of new ideas leading to stagnation in terms of new perspective. This has far more reaching repercussions because plagiarism in this perspective brings into the danger of irrelevance. Information that was attained via a research back in the early years might be partially or completely irrelevant to the realities of the current trends. Therefore, for these two plagiarism fronts, it is clear that indeed, this vice is highly dangerous to the welfare of the students and the general public.

Consequences of Engaging In Plagiarism Acts

Students in colleges and other levels in the education sector have to identify and appreciate the consequences that can befall them if caught engaging in this vice. The most serious consequence is to the concerned students, engaging in acts of plagiarism as indicated earlier heavily undermines the creativity capability of the students. Finding and utilizing what is already known in a particular discipline makes the students understand less the dynamics involved as they don’t engage fully in the task at hand. Therefore, if the students’ intention is to get the full benefits of undertaking a particular discipline, then plagiarism acts should be fully avoided. When it comes to possible disciplinary actions, acts of plagiarism have various punishment or consequences.

The lightest form of punishment is the failing in the task at hand. In other cases, the students may be disqualified in the course itself. However, students need to appreciate that plagiarism forms one of the acts treated as cheating under many education institutions (Gibaldi &Modern Language Association of America, 2009). Cheating in tasks or exams is considered as one of the most serious crimes one can commit. The consequences of plagiarism act, if treated to this degree, are very severe. It can lead to a student being suspended, this heavily ruins the concerned student’s learning life and the general marketability when it comes to employment. In the context of the learning life, the concerned students waste a lot of time off the class as they serve the suspension. Besides, they are lags behind their cohorts a phenomenon that ultimately see them graduate late than the usual time. In terms of the marketability in the employment sector, students who have been suspended might get poor recommendations from their institutions thereby having a hard getting a chance to be employment.

Moreover, a more severe repercussion is that of being expelled. This is where the concerned student loses his or her position as a student in the concerned institution. All the years invested by the students and their parents or guardians all go to waste. It does not matter in which discipline the concerned student was found in flinching others’ findings. When a student gets expelled, all the results attained earlier are also deemed null and void. This present the seriousness of plagiarism to the students, it is very possible to lose all the handwork one has put in many years with just one act of plagiarism. In addition, serious cases of plagiarism can also attract legal action from the concerned author/s or any other party who formed the original findings (Gibaldi &Modern Language Association of America, 2009).

Can Plagiarism Be Avoided By The Students?

It is indeed very possible to avoid plagiarism and the first way to be conversant of the different forms it manifests itself. In addition, once conversant with the plagiarism, there is the need to ensure one applies ethics in all the tasks given. It is clear that the best weapon against plagiarism is cultivating the culture of creativity. The thesis of this paper clearly indicates that it is possible to defeat plagiarism because it not possible for different students to present same work for the same task without collusion.

Ways in Which Plagiarism Can Be Avoided

The only way to avoid plagiarism is by cultivating and upholding authenticity. This demands students to be availing original work in all and every task given. There is the need to recall that plagiarism also has a form known as plagiarism of self. If authenticity is to be maintained, students also have to take into consideration this form of plagiarism. If a thorough research is to be done, then referencing must be part of it. This demands that the students should correlate their findings with what is already known in the particular field. As a result, students need to be familiar with the various ways in which they can avoid this vice. 


Even if the students are asked to engage in an assignment that is heavily guided by an already existing pool of knowledge, originality has to be evident if plagiarism has to be avoided. This demands one to ensure that his or her work on the assignment given present a new perspective on what is existing (Gibaldi &Modern Language Association of America, 2009). The student has to ensure that even though there he or she refers to a material, there is no duplication of the source findings.

Opinion Improvement

The students should ensure that they even they rely on the findings of the experts’ opinions in a particular field, their output should demonstrate an improvement in the existing opinions. To meet this goal, students should ensure they understand the available opinions, analyze them and then make the necessary improvements. This demands the students to better understand the opinion in order to make an informed judgment (Gibaldi &Modern Language Association of America, 2009). Once they are fully conversant with the variable involved, it is expected of them to hand in a compiled analysis that demonstrates understanding accompanied by the much needed applicable changes

Crediting the Researchers

To avoid cases of plagiarism, the students should ensure they clearly indicate where referencing was done and, in addition, indicates clearly the authors at hand. In doing this, the students will make it easier for anyone interested party to identify the author’s original work and other parties work.

Follow Standards Documentation Methods

The documentation standards include; ‘The Modern Language Association of America’ (MLA), ‘American Psychological Association’ (APA) and Harvard styles to name but a few. Utilizing these formats enable the students to indicate clearly the points of references both in the paper body and at the end where a full list of resources utilized are clearly outlined thus avoiding plagiarism elements (Neville, 2010).

Main Takes

The above prevention measures all lead to the need to maintain and improve the culture of innovativeness. If cases of plagiarism are to be avoided, then students should be taught and shown on the importance of always been keen on maintaining originality in any engagement. It is possible to avoid cases of plagiarism but to meet this goal; there is the need for to combine different approaches. However, the optimal tool against plagiarism is self-drive of the students (Gibaldi &Modern Language Association of America, 2009). The measures can be well positioned to counter plagiarism acts, but it is indeed the students’ self-drive that can make them present original work. In addition, detailed sensitizing campaigns need to be part and parcel of the normal curriculum in educational institutions. Having well-sequenced, well-though campaigns will help ensure that the students are fully aware of the dos and don’ts on matters plagiarism.

Once the students are aware of the various forms of plagiarism and the corresponding ways of avoiding the vice, then the students will be in a better position to realign their actions in order to evade being a victim of the vice. Moreover, there is a need to deal with plagiarism not in terms of the repercussions perspective of it but in terms of the ideology. There is a need to instill in students the need and the usefulness of maintaining originality in whatever engagement they are into. Through utilizing this approach, the students will avoid plagiarism not because they are afraid of the repercussions, but because they appreciate the reasons for maintaining originality in their work. Instilling the ideology of plagiarism free engagement by students will see to it that students are doing their level best to ensure they maintain their originality. Under this approach, it is possible to eliminate and avoid cases of plagiarism.


It clear that plagiarism is a vice that threatens not only the ability of the students to engage in a more thorough manner in their assigned tasks. It is also evident that Plagiarism takes many forms that student not only need to identify but also need to familiarize themselves with. There is the need to sensitize students on the best methods of avoiding plagiarism. To meet this objective, students ought to be aware of the different methods of citing the sources used and, in addition, the different ways in which one can easily fall victim of the vice (Gibaldi &Modern Language Association of America, 2009). All undertakings geared towards ensuring there are plagiarism free undertakings by the students can all be traced back to creativity. If the culture of self-drive and creativity is instilled in students, then plagiarism is a vice that can be easily be avoided.

At the heart of plagiarism, free undertakings are the self-drive of upholding authenticity. This entails the need to search for a better perspective on a particular issue, the urge to question what is already known. The self-discipline of ensuring there is no elements of duplication Students must have the hunger to come up with a different perspective on different issues. There must be a self-drive and self-pride on any genuine work completed.  It is good to refer to the relevant sources to ensure relevance is maintained, however, in the same spirit, credit should be given to the relevant parties where it is deserved. Where there is need to cite, proper guidelines should be utilized. Over and above, it is important for the student to realize that plagiarism is a vice that inhibit not only their creativity but also a vice that can put their future in jeopardy. With the severe repercussions that include suspension and expulsion being a reality for the person caught in this, students ought to give plagiarism the serious it deserves.


Plagiarism can fully be avoided as illustrated by the analysis above. If the students can engage in their task diligently, and uphold creativity and originality, elements of plagiarism can be fully avoided and eliminated. In addition, there is need to appreciate that Plagiarism can be intentional or unintentional thus necessitating the need to familiarize the students with the different ways in which plagiarism can manifest itself in one’s work. Moreover, from the analysis above, it clearly evident that if the student can commit to doing their task and upholding the relevant ethics, then, it is impossible for any two or more students to have their work being presented in a similar manner. This is because from the analysis above, utilizing the same resources and dealing with the same objective does not mean presenting identical feedback. Over and above, it is also conspicuously clear that, even though there can be well-crafted rules to ensure students do not engage in plagiarism acts, it is only the students themselves that can self-regulate themselves if this vice is to be defeated. Therefore, if all the players in the education sector can do their part to their level best, plagiarism can not only be eliminated but also can be a thing of the past.

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