Exploring the Causes of Plagiarism among Post Graduate Research Students- A Phenomenological Case Study Approach
Keywords:Plagiarism, Academic Dishonesty, Research Students
The study aimed to unearth the reasons that influence university students to plagiarize assignments. A phenomenological case study approach was adopted. Sixty-seven participants were selected from the Faculty of Education of a public university, located in Karachi, Pakistan. They took part in semi-structured interviews. The obtained data were analyzed through thematic analysis. Findings uncovered that most participants lacked a deep understanding of different types of academic plagiarism, and practical skills to evade it. Prevalent sources of information for preparing assignments included websites followed by research papers, e-books, and project reports, without verifying quality. The most common reasons that have influenced research students to plagiarize assignments included weak language and academic writing skills, easy access to online resources, conventional assignments, inadequate digital literacy, short time-frame, and challenge to balance personal, professional, and academic life. In conclusion, plagiarism is a conscious act coupled with indirect pressures scattered by academia. It is recommended to promote the culture of academic honesty among learners. In this regard, courses on preventing plagiarism, digital literacy, academic reading, and research writing should be integrated as a pre-requisite for a postgraduate research degree. It is also proposed to help learners embracing conscious networking skills and ownership of learning. Furthermore, contextual information literacy and plagiarism framework should be introduced.
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