Most students approach their assignments with academic integrity. Plagiarism has been found to be only weakly associated with cheating (Caruana, Ramaseshan, & Ewing, 2000). Howard (2000) divides plagiarism into three levels of seriousness: fraud, non-attribution due to a lack of understanding of the conventions, and patch writing. The latter is a mosaic style of constructing an essay from different, correctly referenced parts that some associate with plagiarism as it is an amalgamation of other people’s ideas. It is a common form of poor academic writing. It does not fall within the UTS definition of academic misconduct but does not demonstrate student understanding and should be discouraged through providing guidance and support for student writing. Copying or buying papers to submit as a student’s own work are clear cases of academic fraud but are also the least common forms of plagiarism.
While there are a variety of interpretations of plagiarism, the procedures to deal with academic misconduct have necessitated a clear definition relating to students’ work at UTS. Plagiarism is broadly defined as ”taking and using someone else's ideas or manner of expressing them and passing them off as his or her own by failing to give appropriate acknowledgement of the source“ (UTS Student and Related Rules, Academic Misconduct 16.2.2 (3)). Within this definition, examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:
- copying words, or ideas, from websites, reference books, journals, newspapers or other sources without acknowledging the source
- paraphrasing material taken from other sources, to change the words but keep the ideas, without acknowledging the source
- downloading material from the internet and including it as part of your own work without acknowledging the source
- copying work, such as all or part of an assignment, from other people and submitting it as your own work
- purchasing an assignment from an online site and submitting it as your own work
- requesting or paying someone else to write original work for you, such as an assignment, essay or computer program, and submitting it as your own work.
Submitting, without acknowledgement, a piece of work in one subject that has already been submitted in another, may be considered self-plagiarism. It is academic misconduct because it seeks to deceive the assessor about the level of original work that the student has completed in their subject.
There are penalties for breaching the rules on academic misconduct. Penalties which may be applied for plagiarism range from rewriting a task with a reduction in marks (typically for non-attribution of sources due to lack of understanding of conventions) to suspension from a course or expulsion from the University or recission of a student's degree (UTS Student and Related Rules, Schedule 5).
Caruana, A., Ramaseshan, B., & Ewing, M. T. (2000). The effect of anomie on academic dishonesty honesty among university students. The International Journal of Educational Management, 14(1), 23-37.
Howard, R. M. (2000). Sexuality, textuality: The cultural work of plagiarism. College English, 62 (4), 473-491