Beyond the accusation of plagiarism

Gu, Qing and Brooks, A. Jane (2008) Beyond the accusation of plagiarism. System, 36 (3). pp. 337-352. ISSN 0346-251X

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Abstract

The paper explores the complexity of the notion of plagiarism from sociocultural and psychological perspectives. Plagiarism is a dynamic and multi-layered phenomenon (Russikoff et al., 2003; Sutherland-Smith, 2005) and needs to be understood in relation to a specific context of academic conventions and environment. Drawing upon the experiences of ten Chinese students on a pre-sessional course and subsequently their postgraduate courses, the paper investigates change in these students’ perceptions of plagiarism in a different academic community over time. Three English tutors who taught the students on the pre-sessional course were also interviewed to compare their judgment of plagiarism with the students’ own accounts of their writing experience. Early results from the study and an extensive review of the literature on plagiarism suggest that learning to write in an unfamiliar academic discourse requires, at the deepest level, the students’ cultural appropriation of their conceptual understanding of the way of writing and of the meaning of using the literature to develop their written argumentation. This learning process spans a developmental continuum involving the learners overcoming emotional tensions which arise from changes in their cognition, senses of identity and sociocultural values. A holistic and developmental perspective is thus required to understand changes in students’ perception of plagiarism as part of their wider adaptation to the academic conventions of their host countries.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: plagiarism, intercultural adaptation, international students
Schools and Departments: School of English > Sussex Centre for Language Studies
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher education
Depositing User: A. Jane Brooks
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2009
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 13:35
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/2106
Google Scholar:19 Citations

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