Why Integrity

Why Do Students Plagiarize or Cheat?

There are many reasons why students plagiarize or cheat.  Many ethicists who deal with the  moral decisions of right and wrong say that students (and society at large) often regard the educational system as a sort of game and that in order to achieve a high score in that game any means is acceptable as long as you don't hurt anyone and you are not caught.  In the mind of the student who cheats or plagiarizes, the grade (or what people think of your performance) is more important than the real acquisition of understanding and knowledge. Someone who is interested in real learning would never feel the need to cheat, because he is primarily cheating himself.  For many students the pressure to perform overrides all other considerations and is often encouraged by popular opinion, peer pressure and other social pressures.  Circumstances are often cited as a major reason:  not enough time to prepare, others are doing it, not understanding what plagiarism is, etc.  In some cases there may be a real misunderstanding as to what constitutes plagiarism. The university tries to make a sustained and continuous effort to enlighten students on this subject so that students are clearly aware of both the legal and ethical implications of plagiarism

For a comprehensive and detailed breakdown of the various reasons why students plagiarize, see the University of Alberta Libraries' site.

Whatever the reasons for students plagiarizing or cheating are, it is clear that the university cannot condone any form of academic dishonesty.  An understanding of these reasons may help parents, students and faculty make the appropriate efforts to inspire a sense of honesty and integrity in the work and intellectual exchange taking place in the AUC academic community, and take the relevant measure to diminish any chances of academic dishonesty taking place.