Unpacking the Effects of Plagiarism
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Unpacking the Effects of Plagiarism

Effects of Plagiarism

Plagiarism i.e. copying others’ material without citing sources is a crime in the academic world. It makes the plagiarist liable to strict punishment which ranges from getting an ‘F’ (fail grade) for that specific assignment or the course to getting kicked out of an academic institution. Even if the students get through an assessment process with a plagiarized work, they are bound to suffer from its consequences in the practical world. Plagiarism affects students’ ability to think critically, write properly and learn independently.

To begin with, plagiarism snatches students’ ability to think critically. Critical thinking demands analysis, evaluation and synthesis. Since students avert the exhaustive thought process in writing their work, they end up having ideas of others. Robert Palmer Saalbach writes in article Critical Thinking and the Problem of Plagiarism that students are unable to ‘clearly distinguish their own thoughts from those of others’. This inability to critically analyze existing practices fails them in job market as they do not produce original or fresh ideas.

Some reasons students give to justify plagiarism is the reliability of others’ work on the internet. According to Shelley H. Carson, writer of Plagiarism and Its Effect on Creative Work, sometimes students consider work on the internet to be so luring that they are not confident enough to present whatever work they do themselves. As a result, they resort to plagiarism disregarding their thinking ability just to get good score. But ultimately, they suffer in the job market.

Another effect of plagiarism on students is that it deprives them of the valuable writing skill. Writing is a demanding work which requires painstaking thinking on the part of students. Because students consider writing a spadework, it is quite easy for them to just copy and paste from multiple sources. This easy replication results in their poor writing skills, and the students are unable to produce documents which are a part of their degree program, says writer Shelley H. Carson, writer of Plagiarism and Its Effect on Creative Work.

When students enter the job market, they are required to draft resumes, write cover letters, make proposals, etc. Since they lack the necessary writing skills, the prospects for securing a job and retaining it remain low for them. After all, writing is a way of communication and, as Herta and Murphy said in their book Effective Business Communication, those who do not communicate well remain in dead-end jobs.

The third way plagiarism affects students is by making them dependent learners. As discussed above, good writing demands a rigorous thought process. Good writing also requires painstaking efforts and multiple attempts to craft an effective piece of composition. And plagiarists avoid both the thinking and the writing processes. Therefore, their work is far from being original. In academic institutions, assignments are given to check if a learner has learnt particular content and/or mastered a certain skill. When students resort to plagiarism, they fail to learn the required skills. Therefore, such students depend on others for their work in academic and professional lives.

To conclude, students across the world fall in the trap of plagiarism at times in order to get through courses without much effort. No matter how easy it is to get high scores through plagiarized work, the consequences are heavy. Students’ critical thinking is marred, writing skills remain poor, and learning always depends on others. If students want to secure good jobs in today’s competitive market, they must kill plagiarism before it kills their careers.

The writer, Kamran Akhtar Siddiqui, is a lecturer in English at Sukkur IBA University.

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