Cultural Issues and Plagiarism

Any discussion of plagiarism needs to recognize that the framework under which “plagiarism” is conceived in American academia is the product of a particular cultural and institutional history and not one that is universally shared. Notably, this framework depends on a notion of student work as intellectual property–that is to say, work valued as the original scholarly contribution of an identifiably autonomous author–that may clash with other frameworks for understanding the function of student writing.  It may be too simple to describe this as a difference between “western” and “non-western” cultural values. Nevertheless, students who have grown up in a non-U.S. academic context may have different ideas of individual ownership and property rights, or for whom the academic construct of a scholar or researcher owning words and ideas is unnatural.  With the recent instances of plagiarism detected not only in student papers, but in master’s theses and doctoral dissertations, these issues are of great concern on college campuses today.


Resources


This article uses qualitative interview methodology to explore gaps in the understanding of plagiarism between instructors and ESL writers. Though writing is a socially situated endeavor, instructors are sometimes biased against non-native writers due to the perception that they are more likely to plagiarize. Students may misunderstand the American convention of plagiarism or some may even understand the concept yet choose to plagiarize anyway.

  • Staying out of trouble: Apparent plagiarism and academic survival.  By: Currie, Pat. Journal of Second Language Writing, Volume 7, Number 1, January 1998, pp. 1-18.
Article Abstract:  Textual borrowing by second language students in academic settings has traditionally been viewed as an intentional violation of Western norms and practices. As we have learned from recent discussions, however, the issue is not that simple, but fraught with complexities. In order to understand the degree of complexity, it is worthwhile to examine one instance of such borrowing. This paper explores the apparent plagiarism of one second language student writer in a university course. It considers her behavior in relation to the context of her course, the demands of her task, her developing English language skills, and her general learning processes
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: