Research studies

Plagiarism as a Problem that Face Sudanese Researchers

Prepared by the researcher 

Dr. Abedelrahman Mohammdain  Abdurrahman Ahmed , Associate Professor , El Imam El Mahdi University, Faculty of Arts and Humanity, Sudan

Dr. MohiEldeen Ahmed Abdelrahman Ahmed, Assistant Professor, White Nile University, Faculty of Arts, English language department, Sudan

Democratic Arab Center

Journal of Afro-Asian Studies : Fourteenth Issue – August 2022

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
ISSN  2628-6475
Journal of Afro-Asian Studies

:To download the pdf version of the research papers, please visit the following link


This paper aims at investigating the problems that face Sudanese researchers in dealing with plagiarism. A descriptive analytical method was adopted to conduct the study. A questionnaire and interview were used as a means to collect data. A questionnaire was adopted to collect data from Sudanese postgraduate researchers master as well as PhD researchers. An interview was adopted to collect data from supervisors and deans of postgraduate at some of the Sudanese universities. SPSS was adopted to analyze the questionnaire and textual analysis technique used to analyze the interview.

After the analysis of the data, the following results were revealed: Sudanese PhD and AM researchers don’t know what is a plagiarism, Sudanese PhD and AM researchers don’t know the disastrous consequences of plagiarism, and Sudanese higher institutions tolerate with the phenomenon of plagiarism. The researchers recommend that plagiarism must be adopted at Sudanese universities to reduce the danger of plagiarism.


If someone wants to write a research in any field of knowledge, he or she will almost certainly need to add some points or to be help by someone else’s ideas, standpoints, words, phrases, or sentences. This extract is important to prove or disprove a particular point. What you write is often about a particular text, you will need to include extracts from texts into your research so that you can discuss them. And since your ideas about those texts always build on the ideas and discoveries of other people, you will sometimes want to report their words exactly or to paraphrase what they say.

A researcher need to quote i.e. to use the words of other authors exactly as they are in the original text, or they can paraphrase that involves rewriting a text retaining key words and the main idea of the authentic material. To get the benefits of others contribution in writing research, researchers can quote, paraphrase, or summarize from others resources.

When we paraphrase, we usually alter the language of the original text, because we need to convey the idea or standpoint not the exact words or phrases. What has been mentioned above leads us to an important point which is the concept of paraphrasing.  Paraphrasing means using someone else’s ideas; it is a way of rewriting the relevant material in a way which likes yours and your own voice. According to Engkent, G. and Engkent, L (1984:40-407) “paraphrase means putting an author’s ideas into your own words ” ” paraphrasing involves more than simply slotting in synonyms “

A researcher must try to be an originator of his or her research, trying to be the real author of   what he or she is writing as possible, rather than just copying a text over to someone else (by quoting or paraphrasing them). You should use a quotation mainly if the exact wording of the original is itself important followed by justification, proving or disproving the point.

Whether a quotation or a paraphrase are used, they require identification the source (the authentic material). If it is not identified, you will be accused of stealing someone else’s ideas and words without acknowledging them. It is considered to be as an academic misconduct.  You should also tell the reader something about the context from which the quotation or paraphrase was taken, to indicate the background against which it is being used.

Statement of the Problem

This study aims to investigate the problem that face Sundanese researchers in acknowledging the ideas that they get from other sources of knowledge which is regarded as immoral and lack of ethic. It is plagiarism, it faces a lot of Sudanese researchers. Many of Sudanese researchers quote and paraphrase and let the quotations and paraphrases speak on their own which is considered as academic misconduct.

The researchers observe this problem during their supervision in B.A, MA, as well as PhD dissertations. It is well known that modern technology helps researchers to get a great deal of sources of information. But it has a negative impact on conducting studies specially for those who do not follow the regulations and rules of quotation and paraphrasing. The researchers sometimes do not know the rules of citation and documentations. But others know the rules, they feel that it is easy for them to take others ideas without acknowledging the original sources. They just copy and paste. It is plagiarism that deserves to shade a light on. Plagiarism is considered as academic misconduct. It deserves a punishment according to different academic institutions. According to Nigel Fabb and Alan Durant (2005: 135-136) Apart from the ethical problem plagiarism involves – it is a kind of theft. It can also disrupt your writing. Usually, as well as copying, plagiarism involves adapting a text you have found, for example by taking isolated sentences, omitting words and phrases, and replacing some words with other words that seem to you to mean the same. This what we observe during our supervision.  One typical consequence of local changes made in this way, however, is that the piece of text you end up producing is disjointed, sometimes becoming a passage that no longer makes sense because of the alterations you have introduced. Alongside this loss of sense, too, the process of plagiarizing has a further side-effect: that the alterations imposed on the original usually jut out with painful obviousness from other parts of the essay that you really wrote yourself.

The Objectives of the Study

This paper aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • To find out whether Sudanese PhD and AM researchers know what is a plagiarism or not.
  • To ensure whether Sudanese PhD and AM researchers know the disastrous consequences of plagiarism or not.
  • To verify whether Sudanese higher institutions tolerate with the phenomenon of plagiarism or not.

The questions of the Study

This paper aims to answer the following questions:

1-To what extent do Sudanese PhD and AM researchers know what is plagiarism?

2-To what extent do Sudanese PhD and AM researchers know the disastrous consequences of plagiarism?

3-To what extent do Sudanese higher institutions tolerate with the phenomenon of plagiarism?

The Hypotheses of the Study

This paper aims to verify the following Hypotheses:

  • Sudanese PhD and AM researchers don’t know what is a plagiarism.
  • Sudanese PhD and AM researchers don’t know the disastrous consequences of plagiarism.
  • -Sudanese higher institutions tolerate with the phenomenon of plagiarism.

The significance of the study

This study is significant because it helps researchers, as well as professionals, identify, prevent, avoiding plagiarism and other inappropriate writing practices and enhances an awareness of ethical writing. Moreover, it shades a light on an important phenomenon which suing others words, clauses, and sentence as your own without coercing accuracy and integrity in academic writing. It aims to remain the researchers of the danger of using others words without acknowledging the author, weather it is intentional unintentional, it can have significant undesirable consequences if not corrected.

Literature Review

Plagiarism: what it is and how to avoid it?

We asked a lot of researchers that we supervise “if a researcher takes one sentence or even one phrase or clause from somewhere else and incorporate it into their study without acknowledging the source, can we consider it as academic misconduct and a crime that deserves a punishment.  We got different responses that motivate us to write this paper about plagiarism. Some of the Sudanese post graduate candidates culture doesn’t help then to use the words and ideas of author and show respect and honor. They believe that taking others sentence and words as a mark of weakness academically. So, they avoid citation and documentation and acknowledging the source. They lift some words and sentences from somewhere and put them into their study without acknowledging the source. Their language skill is weak that is why they plagiarize.

A lot of them   don’t know unintentional plagiarism. Moreover, a lot of them join post graduate program   without the basic and essential skills to be successful researcher, they have great pressure to succeed academically, this pressure can lead to plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

According to United States Department of the State for teachers of English (2018:4) “Plagiarism is using another person ‘s words or ideas without diving credit to the other person”. If a researcher uses others ideas and words that do not belong to him or her, a quotation marks are needed firmly and revealing the source.

According to Kirya Ahmed Mohammed Nasr (2016:79) Plagiarism is the act of passing off another’s words and ideas as one’s own.  The question of when one has plagiarized and when one simply has asserted a general truth from an unknown source can be sometimes puzzling. In an extraterrestrial sense, the process of learning is made up of countless tiny crimes of plagiarism because we all borrow freely from one another. No generation speaks a language of its own invention; few people are creators of the proverbs and sayings that they utter daily. The mother who tells her child “A thing of beauty is a joy forever” is plagiarizing from the poet john Keats. The title chosen for an African literature book “Things fall apart” is a plagiarism from W.B Yeats. Innumerable other examples can be given to show how we freely and openly borrow ideas and expressions from one another.

Unconcealed plagiarism, however, involves the deliberate stealing of another’s words and ideas, generally with the motive of earning underserved reward. The student who copies the paper of a friend is guilty of blatant plagiarism. Likewise, the student who steals an idea from a book, rewords it, and then passes it off as an original thought has committed an act of plagiarism.

According to Nigel Fabb and Alan Durant (2005:134) “Plagiarism is when you do not properly acknowledge the source of the ideas or phrases in your essay as you should.” It means taking people’s ideas and words and passed them off as your own experience.

What does not need citation or documentation?

We can divide knowledge into two parts; common and general knowledge. In conducting a research, we don’t need Sometimes to acknowledge the source of our information. For instance, when a topic is part of our history, such as the beginning of Elmahai in a small town in south of Khartoum, this idea does not need to be documented because it is a common everyone knows the information. It is information that is generally known by most people. For example, it is common knowledge that Emanwill Makron is the France president now. This does not need a citation. It is assumed to be general or ‘common knowledge’, or information that is in the public realm.

What are the Types of Plagiarism?

According to Jeremy B. Williams (2004, P.4). There are three types of plagiarism. These types are:

  • the lazy plagiarist;
  • the cunning plagiarist;
  • the accidental plagiarist.

This type of plagiarism is committed by lazy students. The ‘lazy’ plagiarist commit this academic misconduct because of the laziness.  The second type is one in which of student may use the ‘cheat sites’ or simply steal the work of others The last one is accidental one in which the plagiarist commits it accidently.

Also plagiarism can be divided into the following:  to submit work with another word and to consider it as your own word. If you write a piece that contains important section of text from a single source with no change. Also changing essential section but retaining the essential content of the source. If you paraphrase the sources and the content of the paraphrase and the source look similar.   To borrow from another source   without citation is regarded as plagiarism.

 Sometimes the researcher combines   cited sources with copied passages ignoring referring to the source. Study appears in a mix of copied material from various different sources and there is no documentation. Sometimes a text that includes citations to non-existent or inaccurate information about sources. Sometimes the citation proper citation, but the paper contains almost no original work. Also there is an important type of plagiarism which is committed by the researches from their own previous researches.  It also can be considered as serious type of plagiarism because the researcher considered it as his own work and can cannot cheat him or herself.

Accidental plagiarism is when the writer doesn’t cite their sources or misquotes their sources or intentionally paraphrases another author work by using too similar words, group of words or sentence structure without citing the original sources.     

What are the causes of Plagiarism?

According to University of Sterling, (2017, P7-2), There are many reasons that let students to plagiarize.  Some of them are as follow:

  • When a student is not fully aware of what plagiarism is;
  • When a student does not fully understand the conventions required in writing;
  • It can be a panic response to poor time management when an essay deadline is looming:
  • If a student feels a desperate need not to be seen as a failure and so copies to try to ensure ‘success;
  • It can be a response to different academic traditions;
  • It can be a response to information overload and the ease with which text can be cut and pasted from the other electronic documents or pages on the Internet;
  • It can be an attempt not to displease a tutor;
  • The student may copy out text word for word during note-taking and then forget to reword (paraphrase) the text for the assignment;
  • The student may not be aware of how to paraphrase properly.

Whatever the reason is, plagiarism cannot be accepted. Whether its intended or accidental one, it is academic misconduct which implies punishment.

How to avoid Plagiarism

There are many guidelines that can help you to avoid plagiarism. According to University of Sterling, (2017, P7-8), these are the steps that can be followed to avoid plagiarism.

Making Notes

When you make notes, definitely you use your own words that helps you a lot to avoided plagiarism.

Use Direct Quotation

What you write should be appear in a quotation marks so as to be considered as a direct Quotation.


When   you rewrite the author’s words into your own words, it is called paraphrasing. The researcher has to remember that he or she still has to attribute the broad ideas or content to the author that by citing this work.

Citing Sources

The candidate has to cite all information from sources that he or she used within the text of the research.  It can   include    web sources, newspaper articles, reports, and TV or radio programs that he or she may have referred to, in addition. The sources must appear in the list of references.   to printed books and articles.   be cited or acknowledged

According to Kirya Ahmed Mohammed Nasr (2016:79) the following steps should be followed to avoid plagiarism:

To a void plagiarism, we have to take a note for any ideas borrowed from another sources. we need to enclose the material within quotation marks. Also a bibliography entry at the end of the paper for every source used in the text or in a note is needed.

The researchers need to use information from other sources to support their ideas. Try to paraphrase and quote what you have read. However, the essay should still have your ideas and not just repeat what other say.

Differentiate between primary and secondary source material. The primary source is the play, poem, short story, novel, or article you are interpreting

It is important to use keywords properly to get accurate results. Use correct spelling. Don’t use words that are too common. Try synonyms. Look for the help feather or the hints offered by the program.

Also if you want to avoid plagiarism, you have to document the sources that you utilize. In doing so you need to show the reader the author’s name and a page reference if necessary.

The two most important methods which are used in documentation by writers in the arts and humanities are:  APA American Psychological Association and The modern languages Association (MLA).

Footnotes and endnotes are also used to document writing.

 How to avoid plagiarism

As has been mentioned before, plagiarism is a dangerous academic issues. Researchers have to know more about it. Avoiding it requires great efforts. If researchers want to keep the academic good conduct, they have to do their best to avoid plagiarism. They are expected to read research literature and introduce their own ideas and the ideas of others in their field following formal academic conventions of presenting what they are going to present. It is expected in academic writing to be with following the formal way of documenting for the ideas and stand point that utilizing them. The researchers need to adhere to academic regulations for referencing and acknowledging the sources. A lot of researcher don’t follow the regulations so they commit great mistakes and academic misconduct which is plagiarism.

A lot of Sudanese researchers commit plagiarism because they don’t know that Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty and can have serious consequences such as failure in a subject or even expulsion from a course, college or even a university.

If we want to avoid plagiarism, we need to know what it is. It has been defines as taking others ideas as your own without acknowledging the sources. We must give credit whenever you use other peoples’ work – including their ideas, arguments, theories and opinions.

There are many ways to avoid plagiarism. Miguel Roig (2015) Any ethical writers must continuously mention the contributions of others to their work. This is the only way to avoiding committing academic misconduct. If someone wants to take a text from another source he or she must enclose it in quotation marks and accompany by a citation mark to refer to   its source. Sometimes we need to summarize what other say or write, in this case our own words must be used. If we want to paraphrasing others’ work, we use our own words and syntactical structure.

 In paraphrasing or summarizing the researcher need to acknowledge the origin of the ideas and information and we need to ensure that we are reproducing the exact meaning of the other author’s ideas or facts and that we are doing so using our own words and sentence structure. If we make a good and essential change to the original text, we need to   have a command of the language and a good understanding of the ideas and terminology being used by the author.

The researchers must adhere to the principles of ethical writing and avoid plagiarism by reusing their own previously published text. It can be used only if it is in a way that alerts readers about the reuse or one that is consistent with standard scholarly conventions and regulations. In conferences and audio-visual presentations, authors must practice the principles of transparency with their audiences.

Researchers must  ensure that each reference notation appearing in the body of the manuscript corresponds to the correct citation listed in the reference section and vice versa and that each source listed in the reference section has been cited at some point in the manuscript and they have to make sure  that all elements of a citation are derived directly from the original paper, rather than from a citation that appears on a secondary source The references used in a paper should only be those that are directly related to its contents. It is important for the researchers to follow the right steps and procedures to avoid being in a deceptive practice that reflects poor scholarly standards, it lead to disastrous consequences that may destroy their academic dreams.  They have to adopt an ethical responsibility to prove   their own standpoints. sometimes plagiarism is avoided by following the methodological, statistical, or other types of the sources of shortcomings.  such flaws must be pointed out to the reader. Supervisors must not tolerate with students whose contributions do not deserve credit.

How do I refer to sources?

There are different styles of citing or referring to sources, whether in-text or at the end of papers. The American Psychological Association (APA) Style and the Vancouver Referencing Style are two commonly used styles. You must use the same style consistently in a paper or a report. If in doubt, ask your teacher. The following two sections show you how to cite books and journal articles in-text and in the reference list. Do note however, that if you are citing other sources such as a newspaper article or a website, there are different rules to observe and you need to find these out.

Detecting plagiarism

Various strategies can be employed by academics to police plagiarism, ranging from simple Web search techniques used by individual lecturers, to the employment of easy-to-use freeware capable of tracking plagiarism between cohorts of students, as well as to quite elaborate systemic approaches involving the engagement of commercial plagiarism detection agencies.

Why plagiarism is wrong

 According to the researchers own experiences, if candidates   don’t use their own work, it does mean   that they limit their learning and knowledge i.e. they are deceiving themselves. Utilizing others’ work and not giving them credit is unfair to them.  Ignoring dealing seriously with the phenomenon of plagiarism may damage the candidate’s future study and employment prospects. It also damages the reputation of the higher educational institutions in Sudan and elsewhere.   If you don’t keep the right processes of barrowing, you will break the principles of academic conventions.


This part introduces the study design and the methodology used. The aim of this study is to investigate plagiarism as a problem that face Sudanese researchers.

Population of the study

The study population consists of Sudanese MA and Ph.D. researchers who suffer a lot of plagiarism as a phenomenon that face them.

 Sample of the Study 

The study sample consisted of (20) candidates who are conducting researches in many fields of knowledge, master degree as well as a PhD.

3.4 Data collection instruments

In this study which has been built on descriptive analytical method, a questionnaire and interview that have been used to collect data, the researcher designed comprehensive questionnaire with closed ended questions for the purpose of eliciting and collecting information from participants. Also a n interview was adopted to collect data from dean and supervisors to enable as to know what are the reasons behind plagiarism.


 For the purposes of achieving the objectives of the study. The researchers constructed a questionnaire of 26 questions with five options (always, usually, some time, rarely and never) for Sudanese MA and PhD researchers.

Also an interview was introduced to some deans of postgraduate at Sudanese universities.  The questions are presented according to the study hypothesis, each question attempts to elicit information, to verify or reject certain hypothesis.

Analysis and the Discussions of the Study

The study adopted quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Descriptive statistical analysis was adopted for the quantitative data which is the Sudanese MA and PhD candidate’s questionnaire. The Statistical Pages for Social Science (SPSS) was used to analyse the questionnaire. The interview of deans of some postgraduate faculties at some Sudanese universities were analysed by using textual analysis method to draw appropriate conclusions and interpretations.

Hypothesis (1): Sudanese PhD and AM researchers don’t know what is a plagiarism.

All statements expressing the first hypothesis which is (Sudanese PhD and AM researchers don’t know what is a plagiarism) are higher than the standard mean (3). This result indicates that the sample members agree on all the expressions expressing the hypothesis. And the most important of the terms of the hypothesis is the term (I submit another’s’ works as my own works) with a relative importance of 97%, where the average responses of the sample on the words (4.60, and the relative importance of 92%. This indicates that the sample respondents agree with all the statements that measure the first hypothesis with a standard deviation (0.83), indicating the homogeneity of respondents’ responses to these terms.

Hypothesis (2) Sudanese PhD and AM researchers don’t know the disastrous consequences of plagiarism.

All statements which reflect the second hypothesis for an average of more than the standard mean (3). This result indicates the approval of the sample on all statements that reflect the hypothesis.
and the most important words of the hypothesis phrases are the words (plagiarism can have very serious consequences for you in your future studies ) relative importance amounted to 94%, with the average answers to the sample on the ferry (4.76) whereas the average of all phrases (4.57), and the relative importance amounted to 91%, and this shows that members of the sample agree on all terms that measure the second hypothesis, with a standard deviation (0.90), indicating the homogeneity of respondents’ answers to these phrases.

Hypothesis (3) Sudanese higher institutions tolerate with the phenomenon of plagiarism.

All statements that reflect the third hypothesis for an average of more than the standard mean (3). This result indicates the approval of the sample on all statements. The most important words of the hypothesis phrases are the words (my research is tested by plagiarism checker before the examination.) relative importance amounted to 94%, with the average answers to the sample on the ferry (4.80) and standard deviation (0.26). as the average of all phrases (4.45), and the relative importance amounted to 91%, and this shows that members of the sample agree on all terms that measure the third hypothesis, with a standard deviation (0.69), indicating the homogeneity of respondents’ answers to these phrases.

The Analysis of the Interview with some deans of Sudanese postgraduate studies.

The following are the questions of the interview. The questions are as follow:

1-What is plagiarism and how to avoid it?

The answers of this question reveal that Sudanese deans of some postgraduate faculties know what is the plagiarism as an important problem that face the researchers but they do not know how to avoid it. Their responses reflect the lack attention to this serious academic problem. The rule of ministry of higher education and scientific research concerning the issue was not applied. It is the rule that was issued in 20018 that stated no research will be examined unless it is checked by plagiarism checker.

2- What are the various strategies that can be employed by the universities to detect plagiarism?

The answers of this question reveal that Sudanese universities have no specific strategies to discover plagiarism but the supervisors own efforts which are not enough to put an end for the phenomenon.

3- What are the punishments of plagiarism?

Sudanese universities have no strong and crucial punishment to plagiarism. Some of responses reveal that punishments are ranging from rejecting the thesis which is submitted to examination to delaying it to be examined after amendments and correction. But these punishments are not applied. The plagiarism is difficult to be detected because it needs a program which is expensive according to the responses of some deans of post graduate studies at some Sudanese universities.


The ultimate goal of   this paper is to achieve some of the objectives related to an important academic issue that is plagiarism. This problem faces a lot of Sudanese MA and PhD candidates at some of Sudanese universities.  These objective are: To find out whether Sudanese PhD and AM researchers know what is a plagiarism or not.  To ensure whether Sudanese PhD and AM researchers know the disastrous consequences of plagiarism or not. Moreover, to verify whether Sudanese higher institutions tolerate with the phenomenon of plagiarism or not.   This study may help the candidates   to identify how to avoid the risk of plagiarism.  The researchers   have shown how candidates     plagiarize unintentionally     and have identified some strategies to help them to avoid plagiarism.  It takes time and practice to fully develop your academic writing but in the meantime you need to do a lot of efforts so as to avoid plagiarism.

According to the above analysis and the discussions of the hypotheses of the study we concluded and arrived at: Sudanese PhD and AM researchers do not know the meaning of the plagiarism, they don’t know the disastrous consequences of plagiarism and Sudanese    higher institutions tolerate with the phenomenon of plagiarism due to their ignorance of Appling plagiarism checker before the examination of the researchers.


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Academic Honesty Guidelines for School of Business Students

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