Academic Dishonesty: Cheating and Plagiarism


Academic dishonesty can be defined as an action that may lead to taking unjustified advantage over other members of educational community for the sake of gaining some academic privileges. The following academic dishonesty essay will examine such phenomena as cheating and plagiarism that are forms of academic misconduct. It is essential that when we think of academic dishonesty, cheating and plagiarism are the two issues that come to our mind. However, academic misconduct is a much wider notion as will be analyzed in the current essay on dishonesty. In a broader meaning, academic dishonesty means removing or deliberately taking away the materials from the library that might be helpful for specific classes, which refers to the damage of intellectual property and theft. This may include damaging the lecture drafts without the permission of the teacher, as well as selling or distributing the course materials and handouts provided by the teacher for the sake of personal gains and without the instructor’s permission. Academic dishonesty might also refer to stealing other people’s assignments, papers, experimental results, projects or books as well as improper access to the property of other students in college or university through computer or other digital devices.

The above mentioned elements of academic dishonesty indicate that this concept has a broad meaning and cannot be limited to cheating and plagiarism. Academic misconduct includes but is not limited to disrupting classes and misbehaving during lessons in an attempt to proclaim freedom of speech in the school environment. It also includes refusing to comply with the directives and guidelines of the instructor and in more serious cases, phoning to the educational establishment to falsely threaten with bombing. Despite the broad meaning of academic dishonesty, current paper will remain within the boundaries of such types of academic misconduct as cheating and plagiarism. Let us analyze the reasons why students cannot avoid cheating and plagiarizing in their academic career:

  • The first reason is ineffective habits of studying. This includes inattentive reading and late cramming, which students usually do at the last moment. Some of the students might need to expand their educational strategies in order to meet all the academic requirements. If students are not aware of such strategies, they might be seduced to practice academic dishonesty. The effective strategies to help students deal with the assignments and prepare for exams should be provided by their teachers in order to prevent stressful situations and lack of sleep among students who will otherwise do the tasks inappropriately or inattentively. In order to solve the problem of academic dishonesty, teachers should assist students who have troubles with memorizing the material or some other doubts and concerns about how the task should be completed.
  • Another reason for academic dishonesty including cheating and plagiarism is inefficient time management and overload with multiple educational tasks. Preparation for exams and completion of the assignments is often left to the last moment as most students do not know how to organize their time and work efficiently and deal with numerous course projects timely. Some students get involved in extracurricular studies in addition to their university or college education. They might also have a part time job or some family responsibilities that cannot be avoided. In such conditions, students might intentionally or unintentionally start practicing dishonest activities in order to get higher grades for the assignments. Students have to realize that overloading with multiple academic and non-academic tasks might negatively affect their performance. Therefore, they should learn how to manage their time and schedule their activities to achieve academic excellence.
  • One more reason for academic misconduct is related to psychological aspects. Students often avoid studying properly because they might have some unrealistic demands to themselves. For example, they might feel that they should not show their misunderstanding of the material or inability to complete certain tasks thinking that their teachers should instead see their hard work and diligence. You might have had such feelings yourself. Some students lack self-confidence and consider that everyone else is much smarter than they are. Students are afraid of failing at exams and tests, and because of this, they resort to the late cramming of the material. Such psychological factors negatively affect the academic performance of students making them resort to academic misconduct in order to scrape through exams and get a higher mark.

Let us discuss the forms of academic dishonesty in detail. Plagiarism can be defined as the use of one’s intellectual property without giving credit to the source of the material. This includes copying the passages from other people’s works like homework, research papers, essays and dissertations. It also involves the use of other people’s opinions and judgments without proper acknowledgement of the author. Some people claim that plagiarism goes even further and includes paraphrasing other people’s ideas or metaphors used in their papers. One of the most widely known forms of plagiarism is copying and pasting from other students’ papers or some articles from the web. Purchasing papers that have been written by other people is also not encouraged by the educational authorities. There are hundreds of writing services on the web, but it is often hard to detect this form of plagiarism. Plagiarism can be explained by different factors including low level of confidence in one’s writing skills and abilities, unrealistic demands to one’s writing, poor or inattentive note-taking and some others.

Another form of academic dishonesty is cheating. Students often resort to cheating on exams and assignments in order to improve their grades and avoid spending too much time getting ready for the tests. Students often leave everything to the last moment, and this makes them cheat at the tests and examinations. However, such strategy proves to be ineffective because cheating does not help to acquire valuable knowledge that students will need in their future career. Therefore, it is important to solve the problem of cheating, which should be done by the educational authorities. The problem can be solved through providing students with tips as for how to complete some assignments and how to pass the exams successfully. If students become aware of the existing strategies as for how to pass exams without cheating, they will not practice academic dishonesty and will know how to study the material on their own with much efficiency and success.

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