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The terms that are used to refer to ‘cheating’ and plagiarism’ such as copying ones work or borrowing one’s idea without acknowledging the source have been said to dilute the seriousness of the offense of cheating and plagiarism. Essentially, other softer terms such are the ‘use of one work’ without acknowledging is also perceived to dilute the magnitude of this issue. My take on the issue of cheating and plagiarism is that it is not only a serious offense but also an unfortunate activity for one to engage in. I hold the opinion that academic integrity should be upheld by all standards, and that it is important for all people to observe this. Perhaps, it is important to understand what really ‘plagiarism and cheating’ entails (Wilfried & Decoo 37). Different authors have advanced various definitions to these terms and their application. However, these terms may be well understood from their characteristics, as opposed to terms used to define them. Plagiarism is an activity that may entail a number of elements such as; accessing someone’s work and turning the work to be someone’s. It may also entail copying ideas, as well as words from authored work of a different person and crediting the work tom be your own. In addition, it may also involve falling to put the quotation mark on quoted statements or remarks. The terms often also implies giving an incorrect account of a given source of information. In some contexts, it has implied changing words but copying the structure of the sentence as used in the source without giving credit to the source. In many countries including the United States, plagiarism and cheating are been considered to be illegal, and one could be prosecuted at a court of law for this offence.
The history of Cheating & Plagiarism back to as early as the 18th, 19th and 20th century periods. These periods were characterized by antiquity. Antiquity was a case where ownership to intellectual property was not recognized both by the people, their culture, as well as by the rule of law. The ideas that were existent at the time were considered the common property of the literate elite. It was against this setting that many authored works were copied. Publishing books via hand copying them further characterized this period. At this time, there were also no standard styles by which work would be cited. The scholars operated in this style for they were few and they trusted each other (Phil & Maclean 43).This period stretched through the European Middle Ages. In the late 19th century, many cases of cheating and plagiarism were reported and it was not considered dishonorable act in the minds of many students particularly in those in colleges in the US. Cheating was widespread and expressed through the operation of the ‘essay mills’ where term papers would be kept, and resubmitted by the students often by changing the name only. As the 21st century came in, tighter measures were initiated through the discovery of plagiarism checker software’s, and making plagiarism an act of crime, which would make an offender to be, prosecuted (Kerkvliet & Sigmund 41).
Cheating and plagiarism are as harmful to our social fabric. The impact of cheating are more than one could imagine. From people who have lost jobs due to cheating through corrupting files through students who have missed the opportunity to graduate, as well as people who have been prosecuted at the court of law on accounts of committing plagiarism says a lot. There is more to cheating or plagiarizing work to the person other than to the state or person being offended. Indeed the cases of plagiarism has made people be misinterpreted, it has led to people to lose their dignity when they are caught up, as well as it has been costly to the owners of the works, which are plagiarized. The following arguments illustrate how ‘cheating and plagiarism’ have harmful effects and thus are harmful to the social fabric (Carroll & Jude 43).
- Leads to economic injustice to the ‘real’ authors
‘Plagiarism’ and ‘cheating’ entails the use of someone else’s work without acknowledging the source. There have cases where people have used ‘plagiarized’ work and disguised them as their own work. A number of people have even gone ahead to make publication using other people’s work. This is costly to the original authors who worked hard to publish such materials. Often the people who end up benefiting are those who did not work for it. This leads to economic injustice to the real authors of the work.
- The cost of loosing integrity among offenders (social cost)
Individuals who have been found guilty of plagiarizing and cheating have lost their dignity in the society. This is regardless of the extent of plagiarism and the context by which the plagiarism took place. In the college or academic setting, such students are exposed to the danger of being expelled from school or denied from graduating after a long period of study. At the work place, a worker may be terminated, or it can lead to the image and integrity of the organization to be tainted (Gropper 205).
- The cost of false identity
It may happen that the work that was done through ‘cheating’ or ‘plagiarizing’ is not realized making the offenders not to be brought to book. However, this still comes with negative impacts of false identity. For instance one may pay the cost of wrong qualification e.g. graduating as a