Explain the consequences of plagiarism.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Different punishments exist in different domains for plagiarism.  For example, in the workplace, plagiarism can be sanctioned by those in the position of power, or in some cases, termination of employment.  In the academy, plagiarism by professors and teaching staff results in a massive loss of credibility and academic integrity.  This lingers for quite a while and really hurts in an arena where such notions are validated.  In some instances, sanction and loss of employment can also occur.  I think that in terms of punishment to students, the punishment varies.  Some punishments feature a "failing grade on the particular assignment or for the course."  In some cases, being expelled from the university can be seen, as well as in the school setting, some type of additional sanction can be issued.  For example, revocation of particular status or membership in academic grouping can be seen.  I think that the larger issue in terms of seeking to remedy the behavior might not exist in punishment, but rather in articulation.  For example, giving the student a failing grade might serve as punitive for that violation of academic integrity.  Yet, if the student legitimately does not know that what was done was plagiarism, the behavior has not been changed. With students that I have worked with, this has been the experience I have seen.   I tend to think that many students simply believe that "copying and pasting" from the web is not plagiarism because "it's out there."  One of the consequences of plagiarism has to be some type of articulation as to why specific behaviors represent plagiarism.  This involves sitting with a student and going over how particular behaviors are plagiarist and why this is so.  Part of the process of assigning consequences for plagiarism is to ensure that the behavior is not repeated.  This might be more work for the teachers and academic professionals, but it should be seen as part of the consequences to eliminate such behavior on the part of students.

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