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The Psychology of Plagiarism
Unformatted Document Text:  students were less condemning of plagiarism than were introductory students. 29 However, Conway and Groshek found that both senior-level journalism students and those in related fields were more likely to impose tougher penalties for plagiarism and fabrication than were those in beginning courses. 30 They also found a more lenient attitude toward student plagiarism than for professional plagiarism, indicating that students hold “an ethics gap between academic and journalistic work.” 31 No published studies have measured the frequency of plagiarism among journalism and mass communication students, although some clues can be found in a national study conducted by Donald L. McCabe for the Center for Academic Integrity. That study, reported in 2005, showed that almost 40% of U.S. college students admit to stitching together sentences from Internet sources without attribution. 32 McCabe said in an e-mail that journalism and mass communication students were just as likely as other students to engage in such copy-and-paste plagiarism from the Internet, although they were less likely to take material from written sources and were more likely to see plagiarism as a serious offense. 33 A meta-analysis of collegiate cheating found that nine studies reporting the prevalence of plagiarism ranged from 3% to 98%. 34 Across campus, students who confess to plagiarism tend to claim ignorance or rationalize the offense as unimportant. A study of reasons given by all students caught plagiarizing at California State University-Fullerton (which has the fourth largest mass communication program in the country 35 ) revealed that a plurality, 41.8 percent, cited deontology: a knowledge that rules exist but were either unfamiliar to the student or were broken accidentally. Another 38.3% of the reasons were either Machiavellian or appeals to situational ethics. 36 Students who committed plagiarism viewed the offense as less

Authors: Lewis, Norman. and Zhong, Bu.
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students were less condemning of plagiarism than were introductory students.
Conway and Groshek found that both senior-level journalism students and those in 
related fields were more likely to impose tougher penalties for plagiarism and fabrication 
than were those in beginning courses.
 They also found a more lenient attitude toward 
student plagiarism than for professional plagiarism, indicating that students hold “an 
ethics gap between academic and journalistic work.”
No published studies have measured the frequency of plagiarism among 
journalism and mass communication students, although some clues can be found in a 
national study conducted by Donald L. McCabe for the Center for Academic Integrity. 
That study, reported in 2005, showed that almost 40% of U.S. college students admit to 
stitching together sentences from Internet sources without attribution.
 McCabe said in 
an e-mail that journalism and mass communication students were just as likely as other 
students to engage in such copy-and-paste plagiarism from the Internet, although they 
were less likely to take material from written sources and were more likely to see 
plagiarism as a serious offense.
 A meta-analysis of collegiate cheating found that nine 
studies reporting the prevalence of plagiarism ranged from 3% to 98%.
Across campus, students who confess to plagiarism tend to claim ignorance or 
rationalize the offense as unimportant. A study of reasons given by all students caught 
plagiarizing at California State University-Fullerton (which has the fourth largest mass 
communication program in the country
) revealed that a plurality, 41.8 percent, cited 
deontology: a knowledge that rules exist but were either unfamiliar to the student or were 
broken accidentally. Another 38.3% of the reasons were either Machiavellian or appeals 
to situational ethics.
 Students who committed plagiarism viewed the offense as less 

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