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On Iranian EFL Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of Plagiarism

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Farzaneh Amiri.

Appendix: Semi-Structured Interview Schedule

Appendix: Semi-Structured Interview Schedule

This study aims to gather your views on plagiarism and different reasons that contributes to it. No question on personal account will be asked and your responses will remain anonymous. No comments will be given to individuals. The interview will be tape recorded (for easy retrieval) and notes written during it will be kept confidential. It will take you about an hour. Your responses can provide academics with information to minimize instances of plagiarism.

Demographics

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Years of studying English

Base Questions (follow up question will depend on responses)

  1. 1.

    How do you interpret and define plagiarism?

  2. 2.

    Are you familiar with different types of plagiarism? (prompt if necessary: mention different forms of plagiarism)

  3. 3.

    Do you think of plagiarism as a common strategy used by students in your course?

  4. 4.

    In your view, what are reasons for plagiarizing?

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Amiri, F., Razmjoo, S.A. On Iranian EFL Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of Plagiarism. J Acad Ethics 14, 115–131 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10805-015-9245-3

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Keywords

  • Plagiarism
  • Prevalence
  • EFL undergraduate students
  • Genuine research
  • Writing skills