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Much attention has been recently paid to the Internet’s advantages and risks for postgraduate studies. Nowadays, the Internet may allow users to access almost everywhere by a wireless network or even through numerous mobile Internet devices. Due to the convenience of this technology, people have greater flexibility in their studying or working. The services of the Internet include many functions such as email, websites, sales, chat rooms, and educational materials. Many students also like to search for information or background knowledge from the Internet. The instantaneous exchange of ideas and knowledge has made learners’ life easier. The Internet provides a large space that enables people who surf online to post or to publish their ideas and information online, and also allows an individual to plagiarize the knowledge and free information without self-noticing due to the lack of security controls. Because of the easy access and free up-to-date information on the Internet, a deep concern about students’ plagiarism appears.
Aims of the Paper
This paper aims to look critically at the advantages and disadvantages of the Internet for Master’s students. First, the benefits of the Internet will be introduced at the beginning of the next section; secondly, we will focus on the risks of the Internet and the ideas on how to avoid plagiarism. Some suggestions will be drawn as a conclusion at the end of the final section. In this paper, we underline the positive effects for postgraduate students who should realize that the Internet is a fast and powerful tool that helps them to collect more information on their research as well as the importance of being strict on information quality control to avoid any plagiarism. This high-tech tool will provide students with assistance in case students can find the balance between the advantages and risks of the Internet sources in the chosen research areas.
Reasons of Plagiarism
According to Baruchson-Arbib and Yaari (2004), “the Internet grants students access to vast amounts of information” (p. 30). In a matter of a few seconds and a few keywords, learners can Google and find a variety of sources they want. The advantage of the Internet lies in the fact that it makes our life easier and more convenient. The invention of the Internet helped us avoid visits to the library to search for information or books we need when we are dealing with a paper or an assignment. On the other hand, the main risk of the Internet is the idea of plagiarism. Students could finish their assignments very quickly by copy and pasting the information they found. Talking about the risk of the Internet, Willems (2003) stated that the Internet has provided an opportunity for students to prepare their assignments in a quick and painless way with minimal effort and engagement. DeVoss and Rosati (2002) have pointed out some reasons why students enable themselves to use the Internet to plagiarize. In their opinion, students suffer because of plagiarism due to a lack of knowledge of how to use the Internet sources and what information is really reliable. It seems that some people might use the copy and paste function in the wrong way, and this is why the problem occurs.
How to Avoid Plagiarism
The necessity to avoid plagiarism is a big issue, still, a student might cause plagiarism accidentally from time to time. A good way to avoid plagiarism is to write down every reference cited in the reference list. It is better to write down the source first before using the quotes from the sources found. Writers should not copy any words down from the referencing sources unless they intend to cite the phrases correctly within their assignment. Secondly, it is obligatory to use quotation marks around the texts when we copy from a research text exactly the way the original author wrote them. It is necessary to remember to put the author’s last name, year, and page number at the end of the citation. For example: (Krashen 1986:36). Chou (2010) mentions that paraphrasing of some of the quotes is encouraged in order to emphasize the respected thinkers, but DO remember to put the author’s name and the page number. The last way makes someone else check your work or find a plagiarism checker, do the copy and paste function and submit to check your work, if you are describing an idea without acknowledging the author or listing any reference, it is a case of plagiarism.
To sum up, this paper was intended to describe the advantages and the disadvantages of using Internet sources for Master’s assignments. It can be seen that the Internet has an advantage that is fast searching and access to different information. Still, there is a big problem connected to the possibility of plagiarism. From this paper, we could observe the limitations because of which students cannot use the Internet properly. There is no attention to the training programs with the help of which students may get an idea on how to use the Internet information. It is necessary to explain to all students how important the idea of intellectual property rights is. There are only a few researches dealing explicitly with how serious a problem could be if students plagiarize other writers’ works. No matter what reason causes a student to use other people’s ideas or knowledge, the act of plagiarism should make students gain valuable learning before using such amazing still provocative sources as the Internet. This is why it is better to focus on the strategies with the help of which students may improve their knowledge about the Internet.
Baruchson-Arbib, S & Yaari, E 2004, ‘Printed versus Internet plagiarism: a study of students’ perception’, International Journal of Information Ethics, vol. 1, no. 06. pp. 29-35.
Chou, I C, 2010, ‘Is plagiarism a culture product: the voice of a Chinese-speaking ELL student’, Language Society and Culture, vol. 3, no. 31, pp. 37-41.
DeVoss, D & Rosati, A C, 2002, ‘”It wasn’t me, was it?” plagiarism and the web’, Computers and Composition, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 191-203.
Willems, H, 2003, ‘Plagiarism @ your school library’, Library Media Connection, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 28-31.