Assessing Domestic vs. International Student Perceptions and Attitudes of Plagiarism

By Doss, Daniel Adrian; Henley, Russ et al. | Journal of International Students, March 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Assessing Domestic vs. International Student Perceptions and Attitudes of Plagiarism


Doss, Daniel Adrian, Henley, Russ, Gokaraju, Balakrishna, McElreath, David, Lackey, Hilliard, Hong, Qiuqi, Miller, Lauren, Journal of International Students


Plagiarism affects academic and professional settings globally regardless of size, scope, or mission. Despite the best efforts of individuals and organizations to dissuade plagiarism, no guarantee exists that any setting will be unaffected by plagiaristic incidents. Observed from the discussions of Qi (2015), Doss et al. (2015c), Towell, et. al. (2012), Mundava and Chaudhuri (2007), and Maurer, Kappe, and Zaka (2006), plagiarism affects a variety of agents: 1) plagiarists; 2) those from whom materials were acquired; 3) and any stakeholders who may have vested interest regarding the incident of plagiarism.

Given the unchanging attributes of human nature that transcend nationalities and cultures, both domestic and international students may be tempted to plagiarize. During the 2014 academic year, it was estimated that approximately 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from American universities for reasons involving cheating and unsatisfactory performance academically (Qi, 2015). Some research studies suggested that international students are at least "twice as likely as domestic students" to exhibit a lack of understanding regarding methods of avoiding academic breaches of integrity (Bretag, 2013, p.1).

Plagiarism is exhibited in a variety of fashions, both tangibly (e.g., in writings, videos, etc.) and intangibly (e.g., in concepts, ideas, etc.). Although plagiarism is a reality of academic settings, little consensus exists regarding the types of punishments and sanctions that may be levied against plagiarists (Doss, et al., 2015c). Certainly, motivations for committing acts of plagiarism may range from a lack of familiarity with language by international students to merely not knowing how to convey concepts and ideas. Other factors, such as the pressures of timed examinations and unfamiliarity with American academic protocols, also contribute toward acts of academic misconduct among international students (Bista, 2011). Regardless of modality or motivation, individuals who have an awareness of plagiarism may form opinions, perceptions, and judgments of such incidents. Given these notions, this research endeavor examines various perceptions of plagiarism that exist between domestic versus international students.

The host institution for this study was a Southern, regional Division-II university whose mission emphasized teaching instead of research. Geographically, the host institution represented a rural entity, and its corresponding town exhibited approximately 1,800 residents. Its overall student enrollment numbered approximately 5,000 students, both physically and virtually. Its physical campus exhibited an enrollment of nearly 2,500 students whereas the remainder were enrolled among online programs. This study was performed within the College of Business at the University of West Alabama which enrolled a total of 312 students. Within the College of Business, the degrees offered by the host institution were the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). Within the BBA program, degree concentrations included accounting, finance, information systems, management, marketing, and technology. The MBA consisted of general and finance concentrations. A total of 267 students were enrolled in the BBA program whereas 45 were MBA students. A ratio of 1 faculty to 15 students permeated the academic setting.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Among academic settings, a typical definition of plagiarism is akin to the following:

Failure to properly document all materials from sources, published or otherwise, that are included in an essay, research paper, examination, or other assignment. This includes items such as definitions of particular terms taken from a research source. Incidents of plagiarism include quoting or paraphrasing without properly crediting the author, using the syntax of a source document in a paraphrase without significant modifications, or incorporating the ideas of another without attribution by standard documentation. …

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