Reasons given for committing plagiarism vary from fairly innocent or accidental mistakes to a deliberate intention to deceive. Unfortunately, no allowance is made for whether the act was intended or unintended, as we saw from the University definition of plagiarism.
Some common excuses (which are not accepted) are:
- Being unclear about what exactly plagiarism is
- Having deficient time management skills or being lazy - i.e. being too disorganised with deadlines to undertake and submit original work
- Having an ineffective method of note-taking - i.e. not always recording the source of information
- Feeling under extreme pressure to pass or succeed - whether it be financial, parental, cultural, etc.
- Having different cultural values / practising different academic conventions
- Mistakenly believing that it will be easy to get away with (see the section how it will be detected)
- Knowing that the syllabus has stayed the same each year - i.e. having access to work from previous students
- Having unclear instructions for an assessment task (if in doubt, always clarify with your tutor)
- Having a lack of academic confidence (again, speak to your tutor or a study skills advisor)
- Being conditioned from secondary schooling - i.e. not being used to acknowledging sources (sorry, no excuse)