This paper reviews the literature on plagiarism by students, much of it based on North American experience, to discover what lessons it holds for institutional policy and practice within institutions of higher education in the UK. It explores seven themes: the meaning and context of plagiarism, the nature of plagiarism by students, how do students perceive plagiarism, how big a problem is student plagiarism, why do students cheat, what challenges are posed by digital plagiarism and is there a need to promote academic integrity? It is concluded that plagiarism is doubtless common and getting more so (particularly with increased access to digital sources, including the Internet), that there are multiple reasons why students plagiarise and that students often rationalise their cheating behaviour and downplay the importance of plagiarism by themselves and their peers. It is also concluded that there is a growing need for UK institutions to develop cohesive frameworks for dealing with student plagiarism that are based on prevention supported by robust detection and penalty systems that are transparent and applied consistently.
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 28 (5), 2003, © Informa Plc