Growth in technology has attracted both positive and negative effects on the efficiency of knowledge delivery among students across the world. While in the olden days a student had to do through research, through library books to develop an essay, today’s world has made it possible for students to access ready-made essays on practically any topic. Plagiarism is a particularly big issue in the current world, and librarians working via paper based and online based databases should be obliged to help compel students to conduct legitimate research while handling their class assignments (Gibson & Chester-Fangman, 2011). This can be effectively actualized if the librarians help instructors detect plagiarized work, and help the culprits with tips to conduct genuine research work for their essays (Auer & Krupar, 2001). Plagiarism through the internet is one of the unethical behaviors that many people have propagated with the increment of online informational databases. According to a study conducted by Comas-Forgas and Sureda-Negre, students engage in extensive plagiarizing because of their poor time management skills, the accumulation of assignments, and the availability of online platforms with academic information that can be easily copied and pasted into documents (Comas-Forgas & Sureda-Negre, 2010).
While the cases of academic dishonesty through plagiarism increase on a global scale in colleges, critics claim that this trend can be effectively eliminated through the erection of the appropriate measures to compel students into embracing honesty. A study conducted by Zabihollah Rezaee, Robert C. Elmore, and Joseph Z. Szendi, college authorities can effectively enhance academic integrity through the development of codes of ethics guided by policies in the college settings. Students should be obliged to work toward upholding these policies to keep off unethical behavior like cheating through plagiarism. The study revealed that just like in the corporate sector, authorities in colleges support the development of codes of ethics for students to follow strictly (Rezaee, Elmore & Szendi, 2001). From the research conducted by various university representatives, it is clear that cheating in academics is a prevailing tradition, especially in the perspective of online plagiarism, and institutions are obliged to develop mechanisms to rectify the misdemeanor (McCabe, Trevino & Butterfield, 2001). Plagiarism is particularly a serious offense for dissertation writers, and it should be eliminated by developing strict guidelines for students (Calabrese, 2009). When preparing dissertation papers, students should first be acquainted with research techniques that eliminate the temptation to engage in plagiarism.
Moral behavior in research
Bowie’s analysis of moral behavior highlights how the human mind perceives ethics, and the factors that drive the mind to assume certain behaviors are ethical. Through the analysis, it is clear that the perception of the human brain, which is dependent on the cognitive ability of an individual, is a determining factor in the identification of moral things. Moral behavior is advocated in all social and economic fields. The field of scientific research is particularly crucial with reference to the ethics surrounding decision making in research. Just like the issue of plagiarism in academics, scientific research is subjected to many unethical biases by researchers. Bowie indicates that guiding humans toward their ultimate embracing of ethics is dependent on the policies developed to govern the same (Bowie, 2009). Such rules would depict the protocol developed for scientist engaging in clinical research, to ensure that the reports filed conform to certain guidelines that eliminate unethical behavior (DeRenzo, 2006).
As seen through the lens of the eyes of students in colleges, their unethical behavior is influenced by the pressure exerted on them by time and workloads from their instructors. In the same capacity, researchers, especially in the clinical study field, have been associated with increased unethical behavior because of many pressuring factors. One of the eminent unethical behaviors portrayed by clinical researchers is the abuse of subjects participating in their research. Moreno and Arteaga’s research reveal that such behavior is influenced by the pressure experienced by researchers from health institutions. The lack of policies governing the behavior of the scientists is also a contributing factor to the increase in unethical behavior. This research affirms the sentiment that moral behavior should be guided by policies in all fields of study (Moreno & Arteaga, 2012). As Harris (2005) highlights, scientists are pressured to enhance the knowledge of professionals in their fields of study, but they should work under some guidelines that enforce their obligation not to harm their subjects when conducting their research (Harris, 2005).
Various fields of scientific research require written protocols to guide the researcher through ethical practices. A written protocol for researchers would effectively position scientists toward conducting studies with minimal harmful effects to the participants, especially when the studies involve animals and humans. Written protocols are potent tools to influence scientists to focus on the main agenda in their work while respecting their subjects enough to employ safety measures that signify ethics in research. Some of the ethical issues that should be covered in a written research protocol include the guidelines on how to ensure the consent of the participants is voluntary, and the guidelines on how the data collected is managed to protect the privacy of participants. Ethical considerations must be addressed, especially if the research includes the administration of drugs or any medical interventions on humans. Ethics review committees must be included in studies involving humans and animals to ensure the proposed studies have erected the necessary measures to avoid any harm on the subjects (Fathalla & Fathalla, 2004). One of the appropriate measures toward eliminating unethical handling of subjects is ensuring their consent is acquired prior to any intervention practices, especially in the medical fields. Handling subject information in scientific research should be conducted with care to ensure participant privacy is guaranteed in the reports.
According to Kasier’s argument, researchers have the ability to influence the richness of their research reports by ensuring they address the ethical issues surrounding their sample spaces. Dealing with human subjects in qualitative research dictates that researchers address various ethical dilemmas, which may hinder the delivery of substantial information from studies, if the researchers are not keen to pursue consent issues for publishing personal information about their human subjects. Kaiser proposes that scientists should refrain from subjecting their research participants to deductive disclosure. This type of disclosure occurs when scientific reports provide descriptions of the subjects in the research covered in a vivid manner, which makes it easy to identify the participants involved (Kaiser, 2010). Kaiser’s research on cancer patients revealed that sometimes scientists break ethical rules with their reports by describing their participants in a manner that clearly identifies them, and this is one of the ethical dilemmas that qualitative researchers are facing.
Auer, N. J. & Krupar, E. M. (2001). Mouse Click Plagiarism: The role of Technology in Plagiarism and the Librarian’s Role in combating it. Library trends, 49(3), 415-432.
Bowie, N. E. (2009). How Empirical Research in human cognition does and does not affect philosophical Ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 88, 635-643.
Calabrese, R. (2009). The dissertation desk reference: the doctoral students’ manual to writing the dissertation. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefied Education.
Comas-Forgas, R. & Sureda-Negre, J. (2010). Academic plagiarism: Explanatory factors from student’s perspective. Journal of Academic Ethics, 8(3), 217-232.
DeRenzo, E., & Moss, J. (2006). Writing clinical research protocols: Ethical considerations. New York, NY: Routledge.
Fathalla, M. F. & Fathala M. M. F. (2004). A Practical Guide for Health researchers. World Health Organization, Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean.
Gibson, N., & Chester-Fangman, C. (2011). The librarian’s role in combating plagiarism. References Services Review, 39(1), 132-150.
Harris, J. (2005). Scientific research is a moral duty. Journal of Medical Ethics, 31, 242-248.
Kaiser, K. (2010). Protecting respondent’s confidentiality in qualitative research. Qualitative Health Research, 19(11), 1632-1641.
McCabe, D., Trevino, L., & Butterfield, K. (2001). Cheating in academic institutions: A decade of research. Ethics Behavior, 11(1), 219-232.
Moreno, A. C. & Arteaga, G. M. G. (2012). Violation of ethical principles in clinical research. Influences and possible solutions for Latin America. BMC Medical Ethics, 13(35), 1-4.
Rezaee, Z., Elmore, R. C. & Szendi, J. Z. (2001). Ethical behavior in higher education institutions: The role of the code of conduct. Journal of Business Ethics, 30, 171-183.