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Rethinking Plagiarism in the Digital Age


  • Lea Calvert Evering,

  • Gary Moorman


Plagiarism is a complex issue in need of reexamination. A common misconception is there is consensus on what constitute plagiarism, and general agreement that engaging in plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty is a major breech of ethics. There seems to be little concern for differentiating degrees of seriousness; the intentional copying of large amounts of text without acknowledgement is often viewed the same as failing to properly cite sources. Furthermore, instruction that addresses issues related to plagiarism is rare. In this article, the authors explore the issue in relation to the ever-changing digital environment, and provide one specific example of explicit instruction that engages students in copying information from the Internet, rewriting or paraphrasing, then citing appropriately. Knowing students will utilize technology for writing and research, instruction should aim at demystifying the concept of plagiarism while at the same time improving students’ research and writing skills.