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Title: Plagiarism and national differences : variation in practice and attitudes towards academic dishonesty among European students
Author: Michalska, A. I.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7968 8142
Awarding Body: Coventry University
Current Institution: Coventry University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis presents the topic of student plagiarism focusing on differences in students' attitudes, investigating possible cultural influences, as well as varying practices at different Higher Education Institutions across Europe. The aim of the study was to find out whether students from diverse European countries and backgrounds present dissimilar views towards plagiarism and to find out the links, if any, between the country of study and the approach to plagiarism. Methodology of this research was based on a mixed-method approach with the use of large-scale survey and qualitative focus groups. Conclusions were based on responses from 16 focus groups and 2 interviews with 134 participants from 12 institutions in 9 European countries, as well as 2170 questionnaires of the large-scale survey organised as part of the Impact of Policies for Plagiarism in Higher Education Across Europe (IPPHEAE) project externally funded through the Erasmus Lifelong Learning Programme, Multilateral Projects, under the Modernisation of Higher Education agenda. The institutions that took part in the central study for this thesis were in Cyprus, Eire (Republic of Ireland), Finland, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Analysing and discussing collected results, the author found many differences between the analysed countries and institutions, as well as some interesting similarities. The most visible differences concerned educational systems, university rules and regulations, practices and teachers' approaches which can also be influenced by diverse cultural contexts. These factors varied from country to country and influenced occurrence of plagiarism in different ways. This research revealed that each of the nine analysed countries had its own specific educational system with even more diverse teaching and learning styles of different institutions. What is more, many students of the analysed countries presented rather similar attitudes towards plagiarism by considering it an easy way out or a shortcut to achieve better grades or to avoid learning. They admitted poor time management and problems with expressing ideas in their own words. This suggested that universities need to continue improving their plagiarism policies and detection mechanisms, but also educate students about personal integrity and scholarly values. This research also discovered other factors that may influence students' attitudes towards plagiarism which are not linked with the country of study. These factors can be classified as partof the "Personal Domain" (adapted from Dick et al. 2003) and include aspects like morality, ethics and hierarchy of values which students decide to follow. Although these aspects are very individual, they might be shaped by the culture, society, family and friends. The author proposes the concept of loyalty towards different individuals and groups and categorises different elements of the hierarchy of values that can influence decisions taken by students relating to integrity. Data for this research was collected between October 2011 and November 2013. The author is aware of changes and new developments in the field of study, with greater focus on enhancing academic integrity and combating contract cheating. This PhD research is a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge and highlights the importance of a holistic approach to education with a focus on improving academic integrity emphasizing national differences between the students. This thesis was written under the supervision of Dr Irene Glendinning, Prof John Davies and Dr Erik Borg.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available