Awareness of Plagiarism Acts and Policy by Postgraduate Students in University of Ibadan, Nigeria

By Oyewole, Olawale; Abioye, Abiola | Library Philosophy and Practice, December 2018 | Go to article overview

Awareness of Plagiarism Acts and Policy by Postgraduate Students in University of Ibadan, Nigeria


Oyewole, Olawale, Abioye, Abiola, Library Philosophy and Practice


Introduction

Universities across the world occupy a unique position in the education and training of high level manpower for different sectors of the society in order to engender socio-economic and technological development through postgraduate studies. Postgraduate students are individuals who have obtained a bachelor and or master's degree from a university but are continuing to study in order to earn an advanced degree. Adeyemi and Oluwabiyi (2013) noted that postgraduate students form a significant group of researchers in the university as they are expected to acquire and maintain a broad but also highly detailed knowledge of their subject and related disciplines. These sets of students are also expected to carry out researches that are novel, failure of which the conferment of a higher degree will not come into fruition. The process of acquiring knowledge and conducting research in postgraduate studies is done through various academic activities that might require the students to complete assignments, prepare for lectures and also engage in an in depth independent study of a phenomenon.

It is germane for postgraduate students in the process of engaging in the various academic activities to interact with literature. This is because in order to complete an assignment, it may be necessary to visit the library and consult information resources like reference materials, textbooks and other electronic information resources or access the Internet to retrieve documents through the search engines or in databases. The students might also use these information sources to prepare for lectures and complement what has been taught in the class. Perhaps the greatest exposure of the postgraduate students to literature either through the library or the Internet comes during the course of their project work that will culminate in the writing of a dissertation or a thesis. This is because the students are expected to review related literature and this entails a harvest and logical organisation of many intellectual ideas that will help situate their work within the context of the existing literature.

Postgraduate students could be involved in plagiarism in the course of engaging in this array of academic activities if they are not well informed about the phenomenon. Carroll (2007) defined plagiarism as the act of passing off someone else's work, whether intentionally or unintentionally, as one's own and for one's benefit. Khan (2016) expressed the view that plagiarism can be considered as a kind of breach of academic integrity as it is rightly believed to lessen or sometimes eliminate the real value of a scholarly work. Plagiarism is an academic crime and postgraduate students could be offenders if care is not taken. The propensity of plagiarising is really high when the ease with which hundreds of electronic documents can be downloaded on the Internet through the search engines with just a click of button is put into consideration. As a result, the issue of plagiarism is indeed on the front burner in literature and academic discussions.

There are different acts that constitute plagiarism. Harris (2001) identified copying a paper from other students which was described as collusion by Park (2004) and collaboration by Roig (2006) as a type of plagiarism. Other acts include; copying from the Internet without proper reference, cutting and pasting from different sources, quoting without acknowledgement, copying whole phrases and changing some words, paraphrasing without attribution, summarising without attribution, use of false citations and duplication of one's work for more than one submission which is also self plagiarism (Harris, 2001). Plagiarism.org (n.d) also identified the following as acts of plagiarism; turning in someone else's work as your own, copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit, failing to put a quotation in quotation marks and giving incorrect information about the source of quotation. …

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