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Plagiarism Statistics: An Insight into Issue

Plagiarism is considered one of the most serious forms of academic misconduct and is explicitly prohibited in the codes of conduct of most universities and colleges. However, despite the potential consequences and the harm it can cause to their academic careers, some students still view it as a means to succeed or stay competitive.

Recent instances of plagiarism highlight the need for a deeper understanding of this issue within modern educational institutions. It is important to recognize the risks associated with plagiarism and to avoid this unethical practice by using alternative, ethically sound methods to achieve academic success.

Schools and Plagiarism

In the United States, students are well aware of the negative consequences of plagiarism from an early stage in their academic journey. They realize that such an act undermines their reputation, puts them at a moral disadvantage, and often leads to unpleasant situations involving parents and school officials. Once caught, students are faced with a certain level of mistrust from their teachers, which can be quite unpleasant. Despite the known risks and problems associated with plagiarism, many college students still resort to this unethical practice. To gain a better understanding of this issue, it is helpful to review recent research on the subject.

According to Unicheck, the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) is a reliable source of statistical information on copyright infringement. In its largest survey conducted over a period of 12 years at 24 universities in the US, the researchers provided the following data:

  • 95% of the surveyed students admitted to cheating on exams, homework, or plagiarism at least once.
  • 17% of 17,000 graduates cheated on tests.
  • 40% of 17,000 graduates cheated on written assignments.
  • 43% of 17,000 graduates admitted to cheating on written or test assignments.
  • 39% of 71,300 undergraduates cheated on exams.
  • 62% of 71,300 undergraduates cheated on written assignments.
  • 68% of 71,300 undergraduates admitted to cheating during tests or written assignments.

Numerous other research and surveys have produced similar results regarding plagiarism rates and attitudes towards this practice in American academic institutions. For example, Lindale High School conducted a study which found that out of 205 students, 65.7% had cheated at least once and 85.9% had witnessed others doing it. Another study conducted by Professor Eric M. Anderman surveyed 400 students and found that the majority agreed it was acceptable to cheat in classes they disliked. It is evident that during their academic careers, students do not ask themselves, “Is plagiarism a crime?” As a result, they tend to engage in this practice when it is most convenient for them and least likely to result in negative consequences.

Plagiarism in Colleges

When it comes to plagiarism at the university level, research suggests that this unethical practice is still prevalent. Unlike in high school, university students are typically more aware of the definition of plagiarism and the consequences it can bring. However, many still believe that cheating is acceptable or even necessary to succeed academically. According to a study conducted by Kessler and reported by, the following plagiarism statistics were found:

  • 86% of students cheated while studying
  • 54% believed that cheating was acceptable or necessary to stay competitive
  • 97% of those who cheated have never been caught
  • 76% copied assignments word-for-word from others
  • 72% used their electronic devices to cheat
  • 12% claimed they would never cheat due to moral reasons

Despite the fact that plagiarism is widely recognized as a serious offense, these findings indicate that many students still engage in cheating practices without any moral qualms.

Plagiarism incidents in American universities and colleges can lead to public scandals. The New York Times reported on a scandal at Harvard University, where many students were disciplined for cheating. It is important to note that even with attempts to avoid consequences, there is always a risk of being caught and punished if one engages in plagiarism.

Global Trends and Facts About Plagiarism Statistics

Interestingly, worldwide statistics show a trend of increasing plagiarism cases, which largely supports the tendencies observed in the US. Canadian researchers have also reported a rise in academic offenses within Canadian educational institutions, including universities and colleges. Over the past four years, both graduate and post-doctoral students have been involved in such offenses, as reported by the Western Gazette. Perhaps, due to the lack of a standard approach to defining plagiarism, this practice is widespread globally. What is alarming is that students seem to prefer completing homework assignments on their own, as the reviewed academic dishonesty data suggest. On the one hand, this tendency fosters creativity, as they utilize technology and modern devices like smartwatches, as reported by USA Today. On the other hand, by copying others’ ideas, students do not receive proper education. Original works not only contribute to students’ critical thinking skills but also advance the body of knowledge, promoting social development and progress.

How to Avoid Plagiarism?

It is not uncommon for students who write their own papers to unintentionally fall victim to plagiarism. While they may not copy someone else’s work verbatim, they may struggle to produce their own piece, especially if the task is difficult. However, there is still a risk of accidental plagiarism, as suggested by plagiarism statistics. This can occur when a student lacks knowledge on how to properly cite sources or accurately paraphrase information from a published source.

Additionally, they may mistakenly use their own previously written papers or provide false citations without intending to cheat. Despite their good intentions, these are still examples of plagiarism that can damage a student’s reputation and put their good name at risk. To avoid negative consequences and plagiarism itself, students should use an effective plagiarism checker. Modern checkers are user-friendly, and some are highly effective in detecting copied text.

It is Better Not to Copy

Plagiarism is a prevalent issue in both schools and colleges, but students should refrain from this practice as it can harm their reputation as well as the integrity of education. Whether you want to avoid plagiarism to avoid consequences or because of your personal ethics, using an updated online checker is a good idea.

This tool can easily scan your papers and identify any passages that require more elaboration. Plagiarism may be common, but it is still unethical and a form of cheating. It is better to put in the extra effort and remain true to yourself and your own work.