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Real Business : Issue 1 2012
In our interaction with others we all have a duty to be honest and fair. When we present someone else’s words or ideas as our own, we are not being honest. It is unfair if the person who did the work does not get any credit for it, or if we get marks for work we did not do ourselves. Plagiarism also leads to some negative consequences. Upon graduation it is assumed that graduates will have acquired certain knowledge and skills. These will be lacking if the work the graduate presented in order to pass was plagiarised. This will also impact on their future employers who assume graduates have the required knowledge. The consequences of plagiarism are negative even before we look at the likelihood that students who plagiarise are likely to be caught. When caught, the consequences of plagiarism can be severe. They typically include plagiarism hearings and disciplinary action that leads to failure in assignments or courses and even expulsion. In addition, plagiarism threatens the integrity of university education and leads to a lot of resources, such as the internet service Turnitin, being used to detect it. Academics’ time is also being spent in the hunt for plagiarists; time that could have been used for more positive outcomes such as working with students to better develop their analytical and critical skills. The majority of students who plagiarise are not bad people but GOOD PEOPLE SOMETIMES DO BAD THINGS THAT WILL HAVE REALLY BAD CONSEQUENCES FOR THEM Do not covet thy neighbours’ work PLAGIARISE: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own... — Merriam-Webster dictionary that does not negate the fact that plagiarism is unethical and wrong. Good people sometimes do bad things that will have very bad consequences for them. Plagiarism is a risky activity that may well taint your life. Investing the time to learn how to reference, and being organised about deadlines will help you to avoid it. Creating knowledge Once you have mastered referencing, you’ll be able to avoid plagiarism and will be rewarded with better grades for supporting your ideas with good research. Remember that writing an assignment for university requires you to research what is already known about the topic and to create new knowledge. This takes time and thought. Knowledge creation and dissemination is what education is all about. Understanding others’ contributions and acknowledging them enables us to support our ideas and assertions and therefore improves the quality of our work. It shows that we understand what the leading thinkers have discovered and we can use that to improve our knowledge, or to paraphrase the 12th century writer John of Salisbury, we can see a little further not because we are really clever but because we are standing on the shoulders of intellectual giants. and therefore more common. There are many reasons why students plagiarise but mostly it’s to do with time. If you do not invest time in learning how to reference and attribute words and ideas to others, you may plagiarise, either mistakenly or consciously. Avoiding plagiarism is not just about complying with university r ules, it is also an ethical issue. STORY EVA TSAHURIDU Policy Adviser – Professional Standards and Governance for CPA Australia TALK ABOUT PL AGIARISM in most university programs now starts at induction. It is an important issue, not only because it threatens the integrity of education, but also because the internet has made it much easier 13 THE ETHICIST SAYS 13 Ask_Plagiarism.indd 13 13 Ask_Plagiarism.indd 13 6/02/2012 6:06:11 PM 6/02/2012 6:06:11 PM
Issue 1 2010
Issue 3 2012