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Understanding Undergraduate Plagiarism in the Context of Students’ Academic Experience

Abstract

Previous research has shown that student plagiarism is the product of interplay between individual and situational factors. The present study examined the relationship between these two sets of factors with a particular focus on variables linked to students’ academic context namely, their perception of peer behaviors, their experience of adversities in academic life, and their year of enrollment. So far, these situational features have received scant attention in studies of plagiarism conducted in most of Europe. A survey was carried out in a European higher education institution, involving a sample of 427 undergraduates. The data was analyzed via both conventional univariate and bivariate statistical analysis, and multivariate, multilevel modeling. The results suggest that awareness of peer plagiarizing and the experience of hardships in academic life, rather than level of academic achievement or year of study, are significantly related to plagiarizing, whereas heightened perception of the seriousness of plagiarism is associated with a lower likelihood of this type of behavior. The study also shows that students who plagiarize are more likely to be involved in other types of academic misconduct.

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The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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de Lima, J.Á., Sousa, Á., Medeiros, A. et al. Understanding Undergraduate Plagiarism in the Context of Students’ Academic Experience. J Acad Ethics 20, 147–168 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10805-021-09396-3

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Keywords

  • Plagiarism
  • Undergraduate students
  • Higher education
  • Europe