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Title:Listening to undergraduate Chinese students' perspectives on plagiarism
Author(s):Becker, Kathleen Ann
Department / Program:Linguistics
Discipline:Teaching of English Sec Lang
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Chinese students represent a burgeoning international student population in Western higher education. The University of Illinois is no exception. In order to meet the needs of this new group, researchers are closely examining their educational culture and how it influences their ability to learn English for Academic Purposes (EAP). One issue that interests international educators is Chinese students' perceptions of plagiarism. Some scholars argue that as a Confucian heritage culture, Chinese students are more likely to plagiarize (Deckert 1992, Grimshaw 2007, Pennycook 1995, Sowden 2005). While others claim this characterization is reductionist and even racist (Liu 2005, Kubota 2004, Kumaravadivelu 2003). Many studies have focused on Chinese students' perceptions of plagiarism through surveys (Brennan & Durovic 2008, Maxwell et. al. 2008, Mohan & Lo 1985) or discussed individual anecdotal experiences (Pennycook 1995, Lund 2004, Sowden 2005), yet very few have included qualitative research. This study started by surveying 29 Chinese students in an ESL academic writing course during the Fall 2015 semester. Based on these survey results, 8 students were interviewed to discuss their experiences writing in English and Chinese and their opinions on cheating and plagiarism. This study's aim is to listen to Chinese students' voices through these interviews. As a result, this presents a case study of undergraduate Chinese students' perceptions of plagiarism at the University of Illinois. The case study found that Chinese students studying at the University of Illinois are highly motivated to not plagiarize and generally describe plagiarism as wrong. Moreover, most participants found language proficiency to be a bigger barrier to avoiding plagiarism. Although Chinese students found plagiarism to be wrong, they did not have a complete understanding of plagiarism as it is defined in Western academia. Equally important, although educational studies scholars frequently mention Chinese traditional culture's influence on Chinese students' perceptions of plagiarism, this was not explicitly mentioned by students and did not emerge during the interviews.
Issue Date:2016-04-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Kathleen Becker
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-07-07
Date Deposited:2016-05

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