The Role of Cultural Values in Plagiarism in Higher Education

Journal of Academic Ethics 13 (1):61-75 (2015)
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Student plagiarism is a rampant practice and major concern in higher education. How students perceive the overarching American cultural values and their impact on the practice will inform educators and help them to better combat the practice. It is also valuable for educators to know whether the students perceive the practice to be part of the dominant culture, currently, on college campuses. This study reports perceptions of plagiarism by students in an introductory sociology course. Open-ended questions explored perceptions of extent, justifications, and American values affecting plagiarism. Participants were clear on definitions and seriousness, but most were able to justify the behavior and identify American values contributing to or deterring the practice. Findings were consistent across gender, course grade, class standing, and college major. The authors discuss the cultural values students use as justifications for plagiarizing and the larger implications for higher education



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