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Reducing the prevalence of plagiarism: A model for staff, students and universities

Teh, E.C. and Paull, M. (2013) Reducing the prevalence of plagiarism: A model for staff, students and universities. Issues in Educational Research, 23 (2). pp. 283-298.

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The incidence of plagiarism, according to the literature, is increasing. But why do students plagiarise and why the increase? Is it due to laziness, opportunity, ignorance, fear or ambivalence? Or do they know that there is little chance of any significant penalty? The literature suggests that all of these apply. Given this, are universities and, by implication, staff, rather than students culpable for such attitudes and are they guilty for the “soft” consequences? This paper addresses the question of student and staff attitudes towards plagiarism and suggests that if the teaching faculty view plagiarism as a serious problem, they have an obligation to actively change student attitudes by demanding system wide support. The authors argue that exhorting students not to plagiarise and appealing to their moral compass are not sufficient to reduce the frequency of plagiarism and neither are these enough to change their attitudes. Instead, active education is required leading to a situation whereby students are taught, in the most practical sense, the skills expected of them when submitting academic writing. Equally, staff need adequate understanding of what might be happening when plagiarism occurs, and to be able to address the issue consistently in a supported, non-threatening institutional environment. To achieve this, a gradual release model is proposed as a path to a convergent approach to plagiarism.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Management and Governance
Publisher: Institutes for Educational Research
Copyright: © The Authors
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