AN EVALUATION OF THE EFFECTS OF PLAGIARISM ON INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

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The proposed topic seeks to critically investigate through a marketing research exercise to deduce the meaning and interpretation of plagiarism by international students as well as the perception of international student submitting coursework to web based plagiarism system. However, the first section reports the relevant researches earlier carried out by different author regarding the topic.

Furthermore, the research methods proposed for this research are suggested to be exploratory research and quantitative survey. The focus of the proposed research was outlined as well as the research objectives and trend the in UK education sector.

Plagiarism is a form of academic offence which generally affects students submitting course work. It was said by Mahmood (2009) that it involves copying someone else's work or idea without referencing or acknowledging the source. A research conducted by Freshmind recruitment consultancy as cited in Mahmood (2009) revealed that a quarter of students had at one time or the other submitted plagiarised work from other sources in which 9% of the students said to have submitted plagiarised work once while 16% of the students acknowledged they had submitted plagiarised work more than once.

1.1.1 Importance of and motivation for the Research

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The term plagiarism by many authors like Carroll (2002) and Dordoy (2002) has regarded plagiarism as a major problem in the academic community. Also, the fact that most authors and universities tends to interpret plagiarism in different ways and this vagueness in interpretation tends to affect both staffs and students in the academic community to the extent that they tend to disagree on the meaning and definition of plagiarism (Dordoy 2002). Hence, it is imperative that this research critically investigate through a marketing research exercise to deduce the meaning and interpretation of plagiarism by international students as well as to investigate the perception of international students submitting coursework to a web based plagiarism detection system.

1.1.2 Clarification of terms

Before discussing about plagiarism, it is imperative to clarify some terms commonly used by students and staff when discussing about plagiarism.

Cheating: According to Oxford Advanced learning dictionary, cheating was defined as "to trick somebody or make them believe something which is not true"

Collusion: According to Oxford Advanced learning dictionary, collusion was defined as "secret agreement especially in order to do something dishonest or to trick people"

Collaboration: According to Oxford advanced learning dictionary, collaboration was defined as "the action of working with someone to produce something"

1.2 Trend in UK Education sector

A report obtained from KEYNOTE (2009) revealed that 3.4 million students which includes international student constitute the 59.5% of student in further education sector in UK, while, the remaining 2.3million that constitute the outstanding 40.5% of student were in higher education as at 2008/2009. On the other hand, the number of student in further education in the UK was said to have dropped by 32.3% since 2004/2005 in which the most significant fall occurred in 2006/2007 by 18.2%. However, the major drop was revealed to have occurred among the part time students whose population was reduced from 3.4million in 2005/2006 to 2.6million in 2006/2007 (KEYNOTE 2009)

Table 1.1 below depicts the trend in further education and higher education in the UK since 2004/2005 to 2008/2009 (KEYNOTE 2009)

Table 1.1: Total number of students in further and higher education in the UK since 2004/2005 to 2008/2008

Form the table above, it can be observed that the percentage of student in further education has been on a decline since 2005/2006 with a percentage of 11.4% from the initial population in 2004/2005. On the other hand, it can be observed that student in higher education has been increasing from 2005/2006 but not major significant increase since 2005/2006.

More so, it was further revealed by KEYNOTE (2009) that student studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics has increased since 2003/2004 but the increase was attributed to increase in number of international student studying the courses. It was also revealed by KEYNOTE (2009) that international student accounted for 8.7% of the total number of undergraduates in UK universities in which the population has since increased to 10% by 2007/2008.

Furthermore, international students represent 31% of the postgraduate student's population in 2004/2005 in which the population has since increase to 32.5% in 2007/2008. Interestingly, 60% of undergraduate in UK universities in 2007/2008 were from outside the EU while, 75% of the postgraduate students in UK universities were also from outside the EU (KEYNOTE 2009)

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Also, the international students were revealed by KEYNOTE (2009) to be playing a larger role in the UK`s further and higher education system as their fees tends to contribute largely to the UK universities finances. However, KEYNOTE (2009) further revealed that international student tends to study business and administrative studies, engineering and technology, social studies, creative design, medicine and dentistry, languages, computer science, and law very often..

1.3 Concept of Plagiarism

Carrol (2002 pp9) described plagiarism as "passing off someone else work whether intentionally or unintentionally as your own for your own benefit". Also, the oxford advanced learning dictionary of current English defines plagiarism as "taking and using somebody else's idea, word etc as if they were one's own". While, concise oxford dictionary defined plagiarism as "take and use (the thought, writing, invention etc of another person) as one`s own, as well as pass the thought etc of another person as one`s own".

Furthermore, Collins dictionary of the English language define plagiarism as "to appropriate (ideas, passage etc) from another work or author". However, Shelley (2000) revealed that the definition provided by oxford advance learning dictionary tends to concentrate more on ideas while, Collins dictionary tends to be weaker than the oxford advance dictionary as it tends to concentrate more on work and author which is mostly possible in prints.

More so, Shelley (2000) also argued that if plagiarism relates only to prints or oral speeches or design ideas or if it means intention to deceive or appropriation of ideas and words without acknowledgement are all disputed definitions

Bennet (2005 pp138) cited in Perry (2010) revealed that "convention relating to what does and does not constitute plagiarism are formulated and interpreted differently across institution" while, Dahl (2007) indicated that different interpretation of plagiarism occurs amongst academic group and subject areas in the same institution. Also, Carrol and Appleton (2001 pp4) cited in Perry (2010) discovered that "academics may feel sure that they know what plagiarism is when they see it, but discussion revealed that there is a considerable variation in understanding". As a result of this, Liddell (2003) concludes that the lack of an exact meaning and the ambiguity nature of plagiarism generally contribute to the vagueness in interpretation of plagiarism.

Plagiarism amongst International Students

International student often find coping with the new environment difficult as they are expected to rapidly adapt to an unfamiliar way of academic learning and assessment by their university (Introna, Hayes, Blair and Wood 2003). Introna et al (2003) further revealed that the university can assist or hinder the international student to adjust to the new culture. They further hinted that teachers/lecturers should recognise that students are from different background.

Furthermore, Pickering (2002) as cited in Pickering and Hornby (2005) revealed that international student tend to have a different understanding of self, communication, ownership of words and the concept of authorship compared to the home student. As a result of this, plagiarism is higher amongst international student compared to the home student (Pickering and Hornby 2005).

More so, Banwell (2003) as cited in Pickering and Hornby (2005) revealed that International student found it difficult to rewrite important author's statements in their own words and they generally feel it's safer to leave it the way it is.

Also, Introna et al (2003) indicated that their entire respondent sample with Asian background feels copying a few sentences of material without referencing them is not cheating while only 63% of UK students in the respondent sample agree. Also, 75% of respondent from Asian background agreed to have copied a few sentences of material without referencing where only 56% of UK student agreed. As a result of this, plagiarism tends to be higher amongst international student compared to the UK students (Introna et al 2003).

Table 1.2 below highlights the responses of student from Asian background as well as UK student (Introna et al 2003)

Table 1.2: Copying a few sentences of material without referencing them

Sourced from: Introna et al 2003 "Developing a better understanding of the needs of students from diverse cultural backgrounds relating to issues of plagiarism"

Student perception towards the use plagiarism detection system

The last few years has witnessed an increased concern at the level of academic plagiarism in academic life (Szabo and Underwood, 2004). However, the academic community has introduced a range of strategies to counter the comprehended rise in plagiarism among students. Some of the strategies introduced were majorly student-centred. For instance, university tends to raise awareness about plagiarism (Carroll 2002) as well as trying to clarify what constitute plagiarism (Davies 1993 cited in Dahl (2007). Another strategy innovated was the introduction of electronic plagiarism detection system like Turnitin® (Frey, 2001). This detection system is been used as a tool by tutors to check for suspected plagiarism as well as a grading tool.

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Furthermore, the introduction of Turnitin® and other detection system seems to have an obtrusive effect on students (Dahl 2007). However, two obtrusive effects of the introduction of Turnitin® and other detection system on students as highlighted by Dahl (2007) are as follows

The introduction of detection systems seemed formative as some students tends to seek advice on how to reference properly and correctly.

The detection systems seemed deterrent as cases of plagiarism reported during the conduct of his research were reduced.

1.4 Focus of the research

In the process of analysing several past literature and research, it was observed that plagiarism has proven to be a major problem in the academic community which it affects both academic staffs and student especially international student. For example, an Australian university vice chancellor was forced to quit his job because an act of plagiarism was reported to the university council regarding his earlier research work (Madden 2002 as cited in Vuori and Gururajan 2004). Also, table 1.3 below depict some dimension of some selected past research carried out on Plagiarism.

Table 1.3: Literatures of Past research carried out on plagiarism

Authors

Dimension

Type of research conducted

Introna et al (2003)

To identify if there are any significant cultural differences amongst student's interpretations of plagiarism.

Also, to consider some of the implications of such differences in culture for teaching practice.

Exploratory Research

Qualitative Research

Quantitative Research

Seadle (2008)

To identify some of the more complex problems in recognising plagiarism.

Also to identify issue of a student copying another person's whole paper and turning it in as their own is only the crudest form

Exploratory Research

Pickering and Hornby (2005)

To identify the differences in international student perception towards plagiarism

Quantitative Research

Mahmood (2009)

To identify students understanding of what plagiarism means and if students can differentiate between plagiarism, collusion and collaboration.

Quantitative Research

Dahl (2007)

To investigate student attitude towards submitting and getting feedback for coursework submitted through plagiarism detection softwares

Exploratory Research

Therefore, the primary focus of this research study is to examine the concept of plagiarism in relation to international student understanding of the term plagiarism as well as to ascertain the perception of international students towards submitting course work to a web based plagiarism detection system.

1.5 Research Objectives

The research objectives are

To ascertain the knowledge and level of understanding of the offence of plagiarism by international students.

To ascertain how international student defines plagiarism.

To ascertain the knowledge and level of understanding of the various forms or types of cheating like collusion and collaboration by international students.

To investigate international student perception towards submitting course work to a web-based plagiarism detection system.

1.6 Methodology

This section of the research describes how primary data will be gathered as well as the empirical survey that will be used in the research.

Therefore, the respondents sample proposed are hereby explained as follows,

Respondent Sample

The use of Quota sampling is proposed for this research as this type of sampling allows the researcher to choose the respondents according to their willingness to participate in the survey (Chris Vaughan-Jones 2010 as cited in Olasimbo 2010). However, the proposed sample size for this research is 50.

However, this research will be carried out in the UK and only the people that meet the following requirements will be used

Must be an international student

Must be in full-time education in the UK

Must be between 18 year and above

Research Approach

Exploratory Research

Robson (2002, pp59) described exploratory research as a type of research that seeks to discover "what is happening; to seek insight; to ask question and assess phenomena in a new light". Also, Kotler , Adam, Brown and Armstrong (2006) described exploratory research as the type of research that are carried out in order to get preliminary information that will assist in defining a problem.

Quantitative Research

Malhotra and Birks (2007) described quantitative research as "a systematic process of measuring the behavioural pattern of a chosen research sample". Also, quantitative research tends o usually use questionnaires for data collection because the data collected requires verification, validation and recording before analysis could be done (Olasimbo 2010). Furthermore, in order for the data collected be analysed, proper coding using numeric codes and softwares like SPSS will be used to analyse the data.

Therefore this research suggests the use of exploratory research as well as quantitative research approach because of their distinctive features.

Data Collection Approach

Questionnaires will be administered at different times of the day as well as different days of the week. The reason behind this is to compare the differences among respondent in terms of attitude and opinion.

Places like Kimberlin library as well as the business and law faculty will be used during the administration of questionnaires. The reason behind these strategic locations is based upon the large presence of international students at the locations. Also, the days for the administration of the questionnaires will be divided into two, that is, morning and afternoon.

In case if there is any difficulties contacting the respondent sample face to face, the questionnaires will be sent via e-mail through DMU international office.

Data Preparation

Data preparation involves editing and coding; where coding is referred to as the process of using numeric codes as well as grouping of responses to a peculiar question while, editing is referred to as the process of assuring whether the questionnaire used was properly filled (McDaniel and Gate 2007).

However, the questionnaire will be pre-coded in order to avert any problem(s) when coding. More so, any questionnaire that shows any inconsistencies will be disregarded and discarded.

Data Analysis

Data collected needs to be interpreted in order for a statistical analysis to be carried out. This interpretation is vital because it helps to ascertain whether the research objectives have been answered or not. However, Statistical Programme for Social Science (SPSS) version 17 will be used to interpret the data collected.

More so, non parametric test like Chi square and kruskal wallis will be carried out during the data analysis. Also, cross tabulation of emerging variables will also be tested.

1.7 Proposed Research Structure

The proposed research report will be divided into five sections, where section one will provide the background to the research as well as the objectives. While section two will cover a review of past studies related to the topic and other relevant information about the topic will be discussed. Section three will discuss the methodology used while section four will reveal the empirical data analysis.

Lastly, section five will conclude the report and any recommendations will be presented. Also, any limitations encountered in the process of the research will be highlighted.