Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln



The extent of plagiarism has been rising globally and many universities are trying hard to eradicate this practice. The challenge is being exacerbated by the availability of information due to technological advancements such as the Internet. Researchers and students become exposed to too much information but sometimes disregard the copyright and intellectual issues surrounding use of such. This exposure has contributed to the rise in plagiarism. Students at universities have had difficulties in understanding plagiarism and avoiding it. While most effort has been on designing detection tools and punitive measures, there has been little research on why students practice plagiarism particularly in countries such as Zimbabwe. This study aims at finding out the main reasons behind plagiarism. The study was carried out at Bindura University of Science Education, a university in Zimbabwe, Southern Africa. A qualitative approach was taken. Data was gathered through use of Document Analysis and group of fifty (50) interviews were conducted with undergraduate students. Results revealed that students hand both limited and low awareness of plagiarism and some of the reasons for plagiarism noted include poor academic writing skills, external pressure, lack of referencing convention skills and lack of plagiarism awareness as some of the main reasons behind plagiarism. These findings will help on potential strategies that can be taken to reduce or minimise plagiarism at the specific university under which the study was undertaken.