Student plagiarism in college is an ever-growing problem facilitated by the ubiquitous nature of the internet. Moreover, students can easily copy and paste information from websites or other sources. Meanwhile, teachers do not always have the capabilities or the time to check each student’s paper for varying degrees of plagiarism. Also, if your teachers are using Turnitin or SafeAssign, these websites are unlikely to monitor for paraphrasing.

What Does the Research Say About Student Plagiarism?

There’s a number of reasons why students plagiarize and it can be summed up as the following:

  • Ease of committing plagiarism and the rise of online journals (Bennett, 2005)
  • Lower ethical standards (Bennett, 2005)
  • Confusion with the definition of plagiarism (Gullifer & Tyson, 2010)
  • Feeling that one’s own opinion is worthless without any feeling of legitimacy in a given topic (Gullifer & Tyson, 2010)
  • Unfamiliarity with the consequences of student plagiarism (Gullifer & Tyson, 2010; Marcus & Beck, 2011)
  • Contention over the definition of plagiarism from one teacher to another (Bennett, Behrendt, & Boothby, 2011)
  • Students less concerned with breaches of ethical standards in school than in real life (Conway & Groshek, 2009)


Tell us about your opinion with plagiarism. How do your teachers talk to you about it and do you think the consequences prevent students from plagiarizing? Have you ever done it and gotten caught? Tell us your experience.


Bennett, R. (2005). Factors associated with student plagiarism in a post-1992 university. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 30 (2), 137-162. doi: 10.1080/0260293042000264244

Bennett, K. K., Behrendt, L. S., & Boothby, J. L. (2011). Instructor perceptions of plagiarism: Are we finding common ground? Teaching of Psychology, 38 (1), 29-35. doi: 10.1177/0098628310390851

Conway, M., & Groshek, J. (2009). Forgive me now, fire me later: Mass communication students’ ethics gap concerning school and journalism. Communication Education, 58 (4), 461-482. doi: 10.1080/03634520903095839

Gullifer, J., & Tyson, G. A. (2010). Exploring university students’ perceptions of plagiarism: A focus group study. Studies in Higher Education, 35 (4), 463-481. doi: 10.1080/03075070903096508

Marcus, S., & Beck, S. (2011). Faculty perceptions of plagiarism at Queensborough Community College. Community & Junior College Libraries, 17 (1), 63-73. doi: 10.1080/02763915.2011.591709

Author: College Mamma

College Mamma is a professor who blogs for students. She is also a mother of two and a lover of coffee.