Plagiarism Statistics

copying work

Finding accurate plagiarism statistics is difficult for several reasons.

  • Many people who plagiarize are either unaware of their bad behavior or unwilling to admit it.
  • The majority of plagiarists are never caught, so official records of plagiarism vastly under-report the degree of the problem.
  • It's hard for people to agree on what exactly constitutes plagiarism. For example, a large number of people still insist that only a direct word-for-word copy of another writer's work is plagiarism.

However, even the limited plagiarism statistics that are available indicate this is a problem that continues to grow as new technologies make it easier to quickly distribute information among large groups of people.

Plagiarism Statistics and Shocking Facts has a section of its site devoted to explaining how large the problem of plagiarism really is. Findings include:

  • The Center of Academic Integrity reports that 80% of college students admit to cheating at least once.
  • A survey by Psychological Record found that 36% of undergraduates admitted to plagiarizing written material.
  • Education Week conducted a survey that revealed 54% of students admitted to plagiarizing from the Internet for their class assignments. This same survey also found that 47% of students believed their teachers sometimes chose to ignore evidence that students were cheating.

Plagiarism statistics from other sources include:

  • One major survey of high school students found that 58.3% of high school students let someone else copy their work in 1969, but 97.5% admitted to doing so in 1989.
  • Who's Who Among American High School Students reported that 80% of high-achieving high school students admitted to cheating on schoolwork during a 1998 survey.
  • University of California-Berkley officials report cheating on campus increased 744% from 1993 to 1997.

What Is Plagiarism?

The top forms of plagiarism among students include:

  1. Directly turning in work written by someone else
  2. Copying and pasting online sources for a research paper
  3. Failing to properly cite the ideas or thoughts of others

The reasons students give for their plagiarism are varied.

  • They don't know what plagiarism is.
  • They don't care about the material.
  • They feel pressured to get good grades, regardless of how that happens.
  • They don't have time to correctly complete their assignments.
  • The consequences of plagiarism aren't enough of a deterrent.

Helping to Combat the Rise in Plagiarism

Most of the literature available regarding plagiarism refers to the problem in a strictly academic context. However, plagiarism is definitely an issue of concern to anyone who hopes to work as a professional writer. A writer makes a living from his words, so plagiarism is essentially robbing him of his ability to meet his financial needs.What can professional writers do to help stop the spread of plagiarism?

  • Don't accept jobs writing for term paper mills. Helping college students cheat on their homework is bad karma, since there is a good chance at least some of these students will eventually end up working in the same field as you.
  • Don't accept jobs that involve rewriting the same article 25-50 times. Article rewrites are very common in the Web content field, but most of these jobs are essentially plagiarism for hire.
  • Regularly use Copyscape and other plagiarism detection resources to make sure your content isn't being plagiarized online. When you find content that has been copied, send a note to the offender demanding payment for your work or requesting that it be removed from the site.
  • Support websites like Plagiarism Today and that make a point of educating people about the dangers of plagiarism.
  • Whenever you teach writing, make a point of devoting at least one lesson to helping your students understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.
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Plagiarism Statistics