Science and engineering students’ beliefs about plagiarism: ‘It’s only an assignment’

Shelley Yeo


Despite being able to provide clear descriptions or definitions of plagiarism, first year science and engineering students have a range of ways of deciding what is right and what is wrong when faced with interpreting plagiarism incidents. Their own reasoning and values, and not necessarily their knowledge of formal policy and procedure, often guide these decisions. Factors that influence their reasoning often involve assumptions about the function of assessment, perceptions of group work, peer loyalty and collaboration, as well as the type of academic work that these students hand in for assessment. This research has shown that educating science and engineering students about plagiarism (and how to avoid it) must involve more than simply providing appropriate information; it must challenge some deeply held assumptions and values.

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