Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Plagiarism Workshop: Observations

This guides addresses plagiarism in a number of ways. Primarily it serves to educate in-coming students on what constitutes plagiarism and informs them of the policies and procedures for those students accused of acts of plagiarism.

Prevailence of Plagiarism

In a population the size of the Stark Campus, approximately how many students do you think commit acts of plagiarism?

Prevailence of Plagiarism
Most Students: 8 votes (21.05%)
Many Students: 19 votes (50%)
Only a few Students: 11 votes (28.95%)
Total Votes: 38

Studies Show

When students are asked how prevailent they believe plagiarism is in their own population, they respond in interesting ways. Here are a couple of examples reported by Scanlon and Neumann of how students perceive the prevailance of plagiarism in their own peer group:

  • 50.4%* of students believe their peers cut and paste from the internet and hand in as their own work. Interestly, when asked if they have ever plagiarized only 8%* admit to it. 
  • 62.2%* of students believe that their peers purchase papers from online paper mills (and hand them in as their own work) while only 8.3%* admit to doing it themselves.

These contradictions imply that either:

students believe that plagiarism occurs more often than it actually does, or

students are not answering honestly (when polled) about their own behavior


*Scanlon, P.M., and D.R. Neumann. “Internet Plagiarism among college students.” Journal of College Student Development 43:3 (2002): 374-385.

Severity of Plagiarism

In terms of severity in a college or university environment, how bad would you say plagiarism is? 

Severity of Plagiarism
The worst thing a student could do: 7 votes (25.93%)
It's bad and students should not do it, but it is not the worst thing a student could do: 16 votes (59.26%)
It's only bad if you get caught: 4 votes (14.81%)
Total Votes: 27

Plagiarism is Not a Crime

Plagiarism is an act of academic dishonesty. It is a form of thief--stealing someone else's intellectual property (an idea or words expressing a unique concept, for example). However, no one has ever been charged or arrested for plagiarism. There are other related behaviors that go hand-in-hand with plagiarism. Copyright is a legal term and anyone who uses property that is owned by someone who has the copyright for that property, can be sued for copyright infringement. Still, although not a crime or even civil offense, students who intentionally plagiarize are subject to disciplinary action; they may not go to jail but they could be suspended or expelled from school.