Exploring university students' perceptions of plagiarism: A focus group study

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Abstract

Plagiarism is perceived to be a growing problem and universities are being required to devote increasing time and resources to combating it. Theory and research in psychology show that a thorough understanding of an individual's view of an issue or problem is an essential requirement for successful change of that person's attitudes and behaviour. This pilot study explores students' perceptions of a number of issues relating to plagiarism in an Australian university. In the pilot study, focus groups were held with students across discipline areas, years of study, and mode of study. A thematic analysis revealed six themes of perceptions of plagiarism that are outlined under six main headings: confusion, fear, perceived sanctions, perceived seriousness, academic consequences, and resentment. The current study is the first in a research program aimed at exploring these relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-481
Number of pages19
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010

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