Plagiarism: A perspective from a case of a northern Nigerian university

Academic dishonesty, especially plagiarism, is a global problem that has bedevilled the academia. It is regarded as unethical and immoral intellectual thievery that could negatively impact on not only the repute of an academic institution, but the prosperity of a society. This study was designed to investigate student’s awareness and indulgence in plagiarism and their perception of punishment towards Plagiarists. Towards this end, a sampling survey approach employing questionnaires and interviews was used to collect data from a total of 200 Gombe State University students (Nigeria). The result of the interviews showed that 90% of students have plagiarized at one time in the past, 68% have included textbooks and other sources in the bibliography of assignments, out of which 50% had written books that they didn’t even consult. The data from questionnaires showed that the proportion of students whose awareness of plagiarism was partial (63%) and those completely unaware (20%) were higher than those (17%) aware of it. Further, the data showed that the majority of students plagiarize from the Internet (90%) and when asked about whether it would be fair to punish Plagiarists, 42% of students disagreed. Generally, this appears to confirm other reports about the incidence of plagiarism in the academia and pinpoints under awareness as its major cause. Hence, this calls for a campaign to increase students’ awareness of plagiarism and its ethical and moral implications; the need for plagiarism detection tools and development of more strict measures for Plagiarists.

Ali Bukar Maina, Mahmoud Bukar Maina and SuleimanSalihu Jauro
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