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Plagiarism Definition and Explaining Report

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Updated: May 8th, 2020


In the last decade, the U.S education system has witnessed s dramatic increase in the number of international students. Although cultural difference has been cited as a challenge facing international students, the main academic challenge facing them is plagiarism.

When a student cites the work of another author but does not give credit to that author by properly citing the work, he/she ends up committing plagiarism. In this way, both national and international students end up duplicating the works of other authors. To avoid plagiarism, international students are advised to give credit to the ideas and theories of another author every time they cite their work.

Students should also acknowledge a source whenever the statistics or facts of such work are not common knowledge, or when they have quoted verbatim the words of another author. This report provides an in-depth review of plagiarism among international students. The aim of the report is to provide a working definition of plagiarism and explain the problem of plagiarism as faced by international students when studying in the U.S. In this regard; the report will mention problems faced by Chinese students in the U.S.

Plagiarism: A Working Definition

Idaho State University has defined plagiarism as the act of representing the ideas, data, words, or work of another person as your own (ISU Department of English and Philosophy, 2013).

In this context, plagiarism entails, but is not limited to, copying or duplicating another person’s materials or ideas, use of non-textual materials without acknowledgment, gathering internet materials and adopting them as your own, and the incorporation of essential portion of the work of another author without proper citation. Therefore, plagiarism entails copying other person’s materials unintentionally or intentionally, thereby violating the University’s policy on Academic Dishonesty.

Plagiarism among International Students in the U.S

International students face unique challenges as they try to fit in the new academic environment. Specifically, international students “encounter culture shock when facing instructional methods, assignment requirements, and writing styles that are different from what they experienced in their home countries” (Chen & Ullen, 2011, p. 209).

Differences in writing styles and assignment requirements prompt international students to commit such academic crimes as plagiarism. Most of the international students have limited knowledge on how to carry out research using the internet and library resources. Also, they find it hard to correctly cite materials, ideas, and opinions, and as such, they end up committing plagiarism (Chen & Ullen, 2011).

Majority of the North American universities recruit and admit international students, but most of them end up breaking academic rules (Marcus, 2013). Most of the students who end up in the U.S disciplinary departments are accused of plagiarism. According to Marcus (2013), plagiarism among international students is not deliberate because many of them have never written an academic paper. Moreover, most international students are not familiar with academic referencing instructions.

Also, English is a second language to the international students, and as such, they face a language barrier in their quest to write academic papers. For this reason, the students are likely to commit academic dishonesty, which is a major crime among American universities. Additionally, international students face the problem of paraphrasing because they are uncertain of whether they can rephrase the idea and opinions without lose of the meaning of the content (Marcus, 2013).

Plagiarism among Chinese Students in the U.S

Twenty percent of students admitted at American universities are from China. Ako (2011) has stated that there are many reported cases of plagiarism among Chinese students. This has tainted the image of Chinese students to a great extent. The increased prevalence of plagiarism among Chinese students is driven by lack of experience in writing in China’s universities and institutions of higher learning.

Moreover, the students are faced with challenges in their new academic environment as a result of differences in rules and regulations. Cultural differences between China and the United States also act as a major challenge to Chinese students.

For example, when faced with mounting pressure, most of the Chinese students end up duplicating other people’s materials and ideas, thus committing Academic Dishonesty. Lack of University’s policy on Academic Dishonesty in China compared to U.S prompt Chinese students to commit crime of plagiarism (Ako, 2011).

As a result of poor commitment to academic integrity in China, Chinese students find it hard to adjust to the way of life in American universities. They fail to acknowledge the work, ideas, and opinions of other writers and end up committing plagiarism (Bartlett & Fischer, 2013). Also, Chinese students mostly not aware of the various referencing styles adopted by American universities. For these reasons, the students end up breaking major academic rules unintentionally.


Plagiarism is one of the major acts of academic dishonesty committed by international students. Plagiarism is defined as the act of representing the ideas, data, words, or work of another person as your own (Ako, 2011). The major causes of plagiarism among international students are cultural differences and lack of policies against academic dishonesty.

Language barrier results in cultural shock, which makes it hard for international students to write proper and acceptable academic papers. The prevalence of plagiarism among Chinese students results from lack of experience in writing, in addition to the challenges that they encounter in the new academic environment.

Reference List

Ako, J. (2011). Unraveling Plagiarism in China. US-China Today. Web.

Bartlett, T., & Fischer, K. (2011). American colleges find the Chinese-student boom a tricky fit. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Web.

Chen, Y., & Ullen, M. K. (2011). Helping International Students Succeed Academically through Research Process and Plagiarism Workshops. College & Research Library, 72(3), 209-234.

ISU Department of English and Philosophy. (2013). Plagiarism statement. Web.

Marcus, J. (2011) “The Times Higher Education. Web.

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