Why Students Plagiarize

Students plagiarize for a variety of reasons, and understanding these reasons can help instructors guide students to develop the skills they need to avoid plagiarizing.

While it is sometimes intentional, both international and domestic students commit plagiarism unintentionally more often because they:

  • have an incomplete understanding of what constitutes a violation
  • lack language skills to introduce, paraphrase, and cite sources
  • lack the research and reading skills needed to choose appropriate text sources and accurately relay their meaning

When students commit plagiarism intentionally, is it often linked to:

  • a lack of time
  • a high stakes grading situation
  • the belief that someone else's words sound better and more academic than their own do