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The Psychology of Plagiarism in Academic Environments

blog1_getting the most out of an academic writing service Why do students plagiarize? Recent investigations at Harvard University have suggested a variety of reasons: some students cite overwhelming course loads, which caused too much stress for their own creative process to work efficiently; others cite the growing instances of plagiarism in the professional world, such as the employment of ghostwriters by professional authors. Finally, some maintain that plagiarism is commonplace in everyday life – from pirating music, to reusing song chords, to un-sourced material being reused across the Internet – and as such does not constitute a serious academic offense.

However, investigations at Georgia Middle State University have demonstrated that academic plagiarism is not necessarily a malicious or lazy action – on the contrary, some students who turn to plagiarism do so out of ignorance, fear, or helplessness. Writing standards and course practices from different institutions of higher education vary widely, and as a result not all students have the same underlying basis for research techniques or source evaluation. Some are unfamiliar with their institution’s library catalogue or scholarly databases, others receive improper citation instruction resources from their professors, and others have trouble distinguishing the difference between plagiarism and paraphrasing – a problem which is compounded when the need to paraphrase unfamiliar vocabulary or technical terms arises.

Some students may also feel ashamed of their own intellectual ability, and experience a fear of failure on account of internal or external influences – pressure from family to do well, professorial expectations, personal motivation, etc. It is not uncommon for certain students to feel it more ‘honourable’ to risk expulsion or other academic punishment in exchange for alleviating the pressure felt from their workload, time constraints, or writing and research abilities (or lack thereof). Furthermore, a student with free creative reign on his or her assignments is far less likely to plagiarize than a student who is forced to operate within rigid guidelines which deal in topics they have no interest in.

At Homework Help USA, we offer online plagiarism scan services, as well as comprehensive editing assistance to provide helpful information regarding proper citation techniques, style guides, and referencing. Students need to be aware of the various forms of information available both online and in print, and the proper modes of attribution required to utilize someone else’s intellectual property. Our experts at Homework Help USA are committed to improving academic performance and student satisfaction, so don’t let schoolwork get you down in the dumps – get in touch with us today!

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Why Students Plagiarize. (2012, October 4). Retrieved August 31 2015 from