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Internet plagiarism in higher education: tendencies, triggering factors and reasons among teacher candidates

While plagiarism has been a growing problem in higher education for a long time, the use of the Internet has made this increasing problem more unmanageable. In many countries, this problem has become a matter of discussion, and higher education institutions feel obliged to review their policies on academic dishonesty. As part of these efforts, the study aims to examine the tendencies of teacher candidates to plagiarise using the Internet, factors affecting their tendencies and the reasons for plagiarism. In this context, a questionnaire was administered to a total of 386 first- and fourth-grade college students at a college of education. The data were analysed using frequencies, percentages, the Mann-Whitney U test and Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance. The findings revealed that the teacher candidates had, to some extent, a tendency to plagiarise using the Internet by copying material or using the same assignment in different courses. Gender, department and length of computer use were found to be significant factors affecting their tendencies to plagiarise using the Internet. Time constraints, workload and difficulty of the assignments/projects were indicated as among the major reasons for tendencies towards Internet plagiarism.