Does culture influence understanding and perceived seriousness of plagiarism?

Amanda Maxwell, Guy J Curtis, Lucia Vardanega


This paper discusses the perceived seriousness and understanding of plagiarism by local and Asian international students in Australia, presenting new data from a study conducted at two Australian universities. In our study no differences were found between local and Asian students in ratings of perceived seriousness or understanding of plagiarism. However, significant negative relationships were found between both seriousness and understanding, and self-reported plagiarism rates. This suggested that as perceived seriousness and understanding decreased, rates of plagiarism increased. The importance of such findings in re-examining some commonly-held assumptions about cultural differences is discussed. It is suggested that most students demonstrate some difficulty understanding what constitutes plagiarism, highlighting the need for interventions that address knowledge of plagiarism and referencing skills.

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