Plagiarism And Moral Development – Term Paper Example

Kohlberg’s Moral Development can explain motives for plagiarism. This can help one understand if plagiarism is intentional or unintentional. Plagiarism is not unintentional after a student becomes aware of intentional and unintentional plagiarism. If aware of the unintentional plagiarism, a student should be vigil about guarding against common forms of unintentional plagiarism. Preconventional, conventional, and postconventional reasons for plagiarism explain reasons for different types of plagiarism.
Preconventional reasons are seen in children and consist of being afraid of punishment or self interest (Crain 1985). Following this reasoning, students will not plagiarize for fear of being caught and receiving a bad grade. On the other hand, a student’s fear of failure might cause them to plagiarize. Conventional reasons appear in young adults and teens (Crain 1985). Moralities for these individuals are people need to be good and society needs to have rules (Crain 1985). This group might not plagiarize because it would impact society negatively if everyone cheated. Also it would be seen as bad to plagiarize. Postconventional reasons are looking for a better society and impartial justice (Crain 1985). This would make a student not plagiarize due to the betterment of society. However during this stage, individuals place themselves in another’s shoes (Crain 1985). An example would be if a student has a death in the family and their computer crashes erasing a term paper, then plagiarizes to meet a deadline, an individual could excuse this behavior one time.
Preconventional attitudes foster or prevent intentional plagiarism. Conventional attitudes cause more unintentional plagiarism. Postconventional attitudes would cause intentional plagiarism. All of Kohlberg’s Moral Development stages can be used to explain why an individual plagiarizes or not. Plagiarism is considered wrong, but it still occurs. Kohlberg’s Moral Development stages explain why.
W.C. Crain. (1985). Theories of Development. Prentice-Hall. pp. 118-136. As retrieved on November 19, 2009;