KNOWLEDGE AND PREVENTIVE PRACTICE OF PLAGIARISM AMONG UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF UYO
1.1 Background of the study
In recent years, the literature has revealed a worrying increase in plagiarism in higher education institutions. This increase is attributed to the technological advances of the 21st century that make plagiarism effortless. It is undeniable that plagiarism undermines the integrity of education and lowers standards, resulting in incompetent, unconvincing graduates who are unable to respect integrity at work (Maxel, 2013 and Qorro, 2015). Recognition of the magnitude of this problem is evident in the innumerable policies and institutional sanctions aimed at curbing the practice. Efforts to discourage this behavior have led academic institutions to adopt and use detection software to limit these incidents and measure their extent in student work. Although the introduction of such software may seem to be a major advance in the prevention of plagiarism, some studies (Olutola 2016, Batane 2010, Stappenbelt and Rowles 2009) have highlighted their marginal impact on the resolution of the problem. With this in mind, a holistic approach to this problem, in which a range of interrelated strategies including awareness creation, program design, evaluation, detection and regulation has been recommended (Boden and Stubbings, 2014 and Olutola, 2016).
Plagiarism is not a new problem. However, it grows and changes constantly. Fortunately, plagiarism detection methods are also expanding. It is important to first understand exactly what plagiarism is. Then, one can be ready to use one’s own resources to find it in any form (Adiningrum & Kutieleh, 2011). According to Turnitin.com quoted by Olutola (2016), plagiarism occurs on a spectrum. The spectrum goes from one student simply copying another’s work to a student correctly citing information, without using quotation marks. Plagiarism can also occur when a student pays a peer to write an article for them. In addition, people sell documents online on multiple websites. Sometimes they even sell drafts. This makes it even more difficult to detect plagiarism. It is therefore imperative to ensure that the measures taken to eliminate this problem are based on the results of studies on the knowledge acquired by academic staff and students. Unfortunately, little has been done on this issue, despite the documented prevalence of the problem by Anney & Mosha (2015), who explored its magnitude among students. The study aimed to remedy this shortcoming by researching the knowledge of students and university staff about plagiarism, in order to pave the way for more effective measures to eliminate plagiarism.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Plagiarism is a serious and largely condemned epidemic that is ravaging higher education institutions around the world. The management of the various plagiarists tried several times to use material that is neither quoted nor referred to its ability to perceive a positive moral judgment of collusion of plagiarism during the submission of assignments. However, copying the assignment of a friend is not an institution of plagiarism to stop this nasty incident. Efforts had resulted in the formulation of institutional plagiarism policies or academic dishonesty. Some institutions even subscribed to plagiarism detection software such as Turnitin. The literature has revealed that plagiarism can be unintentional or intentional. Research conducted in the United Kingdom to determine the level of knowledge of Nigerian undergraduate students in this country revealed that most students did not know what actually plagiarism was. It is in this context that this study sought to study the link between knowledge and preventive practices in plagiarism among Nigerian undergraduate students.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- To determine the level of knowledge of plagiarism among university of Uyo students
- To identify forms of plagiarism most encountered in students’ work at the university of Uyo students
- To identify the causes of plagiarism among university of Uyo students
- To examine the preventive practices that can reduce level of involvement in plagiarism
1.4 Research Questions
- What is the level of knowledge of plagiarism among university of Uyo students?
- What are the forms of plagiarism most encountered in students’ work at the university of Uyo students?
- What are the causes of plagiarism among university of Uyo students?
- What are the preventive practices that can reduce level of involvement in plagiarism?