Is There an Effective Approach to Deterring Students from Plagiarizing?
- 545 Downloads
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of plagiarism detection software and penalty for plagiarizing in detecting and deterring plagiarism among medical students. The study was a continuation of previously published research in which second-year medicals students from 2001/2002 and 2002/2003 school years were required to write an essay based on one of the four scientific articles offered by the instructor. Students from 2004/2005 (N = 92) included in present study were given the same task. Topics of two of the four articles were considered less complex, and two were more complex. One less and one more complex articles were available only as hardcopies, whereas the other two were available in electronic format. The students from 2001/2002 (N = 111) were only told to write an original essay, whereas the students from 2002/2003 (N = 87) were additionally warned against plagiarism, explained what plagiarism was, and how to avoid it. The students from 2004/2005 were warned that their essays would be examined by plagiarism detection software and that those who had plagiarized would be penalized. Students from 2004/2005 plagiarized significantly less of their essays than students from the previous two groups (2% vs. 17% vs. 21%, respectively, P < 0.001). Over time, students more frequently choose articles with more complex subjects (P < 0.001) and articles in electronic format (P < 0.001) as a source for their essays, but it did not influence the rate of plagiarism. Use of plagiarism detection software in evaluation of essays and consequent penalties had effectively deterred students from plagiarizing.
KeywordsPlagiarism Scientific misconduct Students, Medical Schools, Medical
We are grateful to Miss Vedrana Marinac and Mrs. Martina Mavrinac for their help in data entering, analyses and text editing. We thank Professor Matko Marusic and especially Dr. Aleksandra Misak for their valuable advice while preparing this paper. This study is part of the research project “Prevalence, features and attitudes toward plagiarism in biomedical sciences” supported by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, grant No. 0062044.
- 1.Harris, R. A. (2001). The plagiarism handbook. Los Angeles: Pyrczak Publishing.Google Scholar
- 2.Das, S. K. (2003). Plagiarism in higher education: Is there a remedy? Scientist, 17, 8.Google Scholar
- 3.Clouthier, S. G. (2004). Institutionalized plagiarism. Scientist, 18, 8.Google Scholar
- 4.Martin, B. (1994). Plagiarism: A misplaced emphasis. Journal of Information Ethics, 3, 36–47.Google Scholar
- 6.Price, A. R. (2006). Cases of plagiarism handled by the United States Office of Research Integrity 1992–2005. Plagiary: Cross-Disciplinary Studies in Plagiarism, Fabrication, and Falsification, 1, 1–11.Google Scholar
- 7.Katavic, V. (2006). Five-year report of Croatian Medical Journal’s research integrity editor—policy, policing, or policing policy. Croatian Medical Journal, 47, 220–227.Google Scholar
- 10.Scanlon, P. M., & Neumann, D. R. (2002). Internet plagiarism among college students. Journal of College Student Development, 36, 531–541.Google Scholar
- 19.McCabe, D., & Trevino, L. K. (1996). What we know about cheating in college—includes resources for maintaining academic integrity. Change, 28, 29–33.Google Scholar
- 20.Petrovecki, M., & Scheetz, M. D. (2001). Croatian medical journal introduces culture, control, and the study of research integrity. Croatian Medical Journal, 42, 7–13.Google Scholar
- 25.Bilic-Zulle, L., Frkovic, V., Turk, T., Azman, J., & Petrovecki, M. (2005). Prevalence of plagiarism among medical students. Croatian Medical Journal, 46, 126–131.Google Scholar
- 26.Bloomfield, L. (2007). WCopyfind 2.2 instructions. [website]. Available from URL: http://plagiarism.phys.virginia.edu/WCopyfind%202.2.html Accessed: September 6, 2007.
- 28.Turnitin. (2007). [website]. Available from URL: http://www.turnitin.com/static/plagiarism.html Accessed: September 6, 2007.
- 34.Bilic-Zulle, L., & Petrovecki, M. (2002). Evaluation of medical informatics curriculum at the Rijeka University School of Medicine in Croatia. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 90, 780–783.Google Scholar
- 36.Teplitsky, P. E. (2002). Perceptions of Canadian dental faculty and students about appropriate penalties for academic dishonesty. Journal of Dental Education, 66, 485–506.Google Scholar