Degrees of Plagiarism

After much discussion in class on the different view and aspects of plagiarism, there seems to be a general agreement throughout the class that there are levels to plagiarism that should not face the same sanctions. Sure, there are cases when a student will blatantly copy another individuals work in an effort to trick the professor, which should be punished, but then there is the fact that not all students have the same knowledge of the rules and guidelines to avoiding plagiarism. Professors should be able to distinguish the difference between an honest student making a technical error in their work compared to a student attempting to fraud the system. In the case of an honest mistake, the professor should address the student and make it a learning experience like we discussed in class. It is wrong to punish a student for something they had no knowledge or intention of doing.


It seems that plagiarism usually comes down to a student not properly siting a source, or completely copying an entire section into their paper, pretending that it is their idea. These should not be under the same title of plagiarism as they are two different offences. Students who copy word for word and paste full sections into their paper with no intentions of siting any work should be punished and face appropriate sanctions. For those who site in their paper and forget to site a quote or miss a step in the process should not be punished and in my opinion should not be considered a plagiarizer.


One thought on “Degrees of Plagiarism

  1. I completely agree, sanctions of plagiarism are too extreme in almost every case. In the majority of plagiarism cases the student did not intend to steal anyone else’s work and the punishment for plagiarism should reflect that fact.

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