Journal of Academic Ethics 14 (2):115-131 (2016)

The fast growing rates of plagiarism among students in higher education has become a serious concern for academics around the world. Collecting data through semi-structured interview, this qualitative study is an attempt to investigate a group of EFL undergraduate students’ viewpoints on plagiarism, the extent to which they are informed about it and the reasons triggering them to plagiarize. Responses revealed shallow understanding of plagiarism in its various forms. The findings indicated a range of contributing factors including: instructors’ ignorance towards plagiarism, limited writing and research skills, peer pressure, pressure to submit high-quality assignments and ease of plagiarizing. The results highlighted the need for practical policies and cohesive framework to raise students’ awareness at initial stages in order to minimize the prevalence of plagiarism at later points. Developing rich writing and referencing skills should be considered seriously by course instructors and the common leniency towards undergraduate students’ instances of plagiarism must be replaced by more serious attitude that encourages innovative and genuine research practice. The implications of findings can help academics to take the required steps in decreasing cases of plagiarism among students.
Keywords Plagiarism  Prevalence  EFL undergraduate students  Genuine research  Writing skills
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DOI 10.1007/s10805-015-9245-3
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