Top 3 reasons why students plagiarize
Teaching4 min read

Top 3 reasons why students plagiarize

Queezed Team

By Queezed Team

Published December 19, 2021

Plagiarism is a problem that many teachers face in the classroom, so it is essential to take a stance on it. Plagiarism can happen for multiple reasons, going from laziness to sloppiness to a lack of understanding about the cause for citations. This article will describe some of the causes of replicating others’ work.

Fear of Failure.

Students procrastinate; they love to put off the task until the last moment and then become panic-stricken in a mad rush for some good grades. This behavior has an underlying cause that affects motivation, learning strategies, and fear of failure.

The fear of failure is what affects student motivation and learning strategies. It appears when students dread to disappoint expectations or aren’t sure of their writing skills and topic knowledge.

The fear of failure is rooted in not wanting to let go of self-respect, which makes students vulnerable to distractions, such as visual triggers (such as images or text) or other temptations that might divert them from completing the task at hand. These distractions take the form of procrastination tactics–things like surfing the web, playing a video game, or browsing social networks that can lead to plagiarism.

For example, suppose students write about an author whose work they haven’t read. In that case, they might use Google search on the subject and accidentally find someone else’s essay that looks close enough to pass off as their work with only a few modifications. Or they may copy sentences from one source and paste them into another document without adequately citing their sources.

Lack of confidence.

Some students plagiarize, even when they know it’s wrong. And that’s because of the non-belief in their ability to succeed in their writing; they may face even more significant resistance to plagiarism if there is no confidence in place about their ideas. They may be unsure how to develop their own ideas or write them clearly and convincingly.

They may feel insecure about their writing skills, which makes it more critical for them to rely on the work of others rather than take the risk of putting their writing abilities on the line.

This is why confidence can be such an issue. Confidence is needed in any writing because it helps students focus and concentrate on the topic at hand and ensure that their ideas are clear and well-structured. By improving students’ confidence in their writing abilities, they can learn to avoid situations where they might be tempted to plagiarize.

Sloppy Referencing.

Students are sloppy when they take notes and when they write their papers. To make matters worse, students often don’t even realize how disorganized they are and have no idea how hard it is for their teachers to deal with that sloppiness.

The reading, writing, and research students subjectively identified their most common errors when using sources, which can lead to:

  • Incorporated materials without proper acknowledgment (e.g., integrating quotations and paraphrasing without quotation marks and citation).

  • A Misunderstanding of proper referencing conventions (e.g., citing a source correctly but confusing the author’s last name or the year of publication),

  • Accidental duplication (e.g., writing a paraphrase of every word in a sentence taken from the same source) and confusion about whether quoting or paraphrasing is required.

Because of this sloppiness, teachers are always looking for ways to help students organize their work better. One of the most valuable forms to do this is by assembling a student template to write a paper.

A template ensures that students will have an outline to follow while writing their paper and help them format it appropriately. This gives something to use as a guide, preventing some of the sloppiness that often happens when writing without any plan or guidance.


Ultimately, it comes down to the fundamentals of being a good reader and writer. Students who want to avoid plagiarizing academic work must learn to read with a critical eye and write clearly, properly citing what they read as a result.

Teachers who want to prevent plagiarism can foster this skill in their students by stressing the importance of proper citations when assigning work and discussing this practice with students.

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