Dissertation

Teaching Students About Plagiarism: What It Looks Like and How It Is Measured

Diana Stout, MFA, Ph.D

A case study that has been downloaded over 1700 times from 92 countries, 269 institutions, including libraries, educational institutions, hospitals, governments, military, organizations both for-profit and non-profit, and commercial businesses.

https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/dissertations/172/

Doctoral Committee: Jonathan Bush, Ph.D., Chair Ellen Brinkley, Ph.D. Karen Vocke, Ph.D. Cheryl Almeda, Ph.D

Description

This case study examines how full-time faculty, adjunct instructors, and graduate teaching assistants teach students how to avoid plagiarism. Additionally, this case study includes a cross-section of teachers who encounter plagiarism in writing assignments across the curriculum. While many studies in the past have focused on students, this study places the spotlight on teachers. For this study, participants have been asked how they can be sure whether their instruction is correct or not, what it means to paraphrase and rewrite correctly, and how do they assess their students to determine if correct learning has taken place. Additionally, these instructors were asked how they would feel if they were to learn that their knowledge of using sources was not totally correct. On that foundation, the goal of this study is to learn how instructors teach students to avoid plagiarism, what methodology and activities are used, how they ensure students learned what was taught, what happens when they encounter plagiarism, and what is their attitude toward their students’ plagiarism when it occurs. This study attempts to reveal instructional knowledge regarding plagiarism, how that knowledge is taught to students, and how to determine whether that knowledge was properly learned. Overall, this study makes an attempt to understand why plagiarism continues to be an academic problem.

 

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS…………………………………………………………………………………………….. ii

LIST OF FIGURES………………………………………………………………………………………………….. viii

I.   AN UNINTENTIONAL JOURNEY TURNS INTENTIONAL………………………………………. 1

II.  LITERATURE REVIEW………………………………………………………………………………………. 20

Early History……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 22

Twentieth Century and Modern History:  The Headlines……………………………………… 25

Studies – Why and How Students Plagiarize………………………………………………………. 30

Ethical Perspective…………………………………………………………………………………………… 39

Teacher- and Teaching-Based Literature……………………………………………………………. 45

When Confronting Plagiarism…………………………………………………………………………… 53

Institutional-Directed Literature……………………………………………………………………….. 55

Current Important Literature……………………………………………………………………………. 59

Student-Based Literature………………………………………………………………………………….. 61

III. METHODOLOGY:  THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE STUDY………………………………….. 64

Goal and Purpose……………………………………………………………………………………………… 64

Guiding Question……………………………………………………………………………………… 65

Sub Questions………………………………………………………………………………………….. 65

The Case Study Methodology…………………………………………………………………………….. 67

Subject Recruitment…………………………………………………………………………………. 68

Survey Instrumentation……………………………………………………………………………. 70

Phase I – online  survey questions & short activity………………………………………………. 71

Phase II – e-mail survey……………………………………………………………………………………. 77

Terminology – Analysis Frame………………………………………………………………………….. 81

Tier 1………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 82

Tier 2………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 82

Tier 3………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 83

IV. WHAT THE STUDY REVEALS……………………………………………………………………………… 87

The Participants……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 90

The Major Participants………………………………………………………………………………………. 91

Ann – The Reluctant Proactive Adjunct………………………………………………………. 91

Betty – The Tough, Self-Contained Graduate Teaching Assistant………………….. 93

Conway – The Conscientious, Online Business Adjunct Instructor……………….. 95

Fran – The Frustrated, Hindered but Intentional Full-Time Professor………….. 97

Hannah – The Direct-Approach Coach Full-Time Professor…………………………. 99

The Other Participants…………………………………………………………………………………….. 100

Dakota – The Passive Proactive Online Adjunct…………………………………………. 101

Elliott – The Concerned-for-Self, but Correct Adjunct Instructor…………………. 102

Gray – The Waiting, Full-Time Professor of Comp……………………………………… 103

Terminology & Tier Paradigm…………………………………………………………………………… 105

Terminology……………………………………………………………………………………………. 106

Tier Paradigm…………………………………………………………………………………………. 108

Phase I – Online Survey & Short Activity……………………………………………………………. 113

Online Survey Questions…………………………………………………………………………… 113

Short Activity…………………………………………………………………………………………… 133

Phase II – E-mail Survey…………………………………………………………………………………… 137

Assurance………………………………………………………………………………………………… 138

Testing…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 141

Institutional Support………………………………………………………………………………… 143

Plagiarism Free………………………………………………………………………………………… 145

Summary…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 146

V. WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?……………………………………………………………………….. 153

Potential Implications of the Study…………………………………………………………………….. 157

What Can Be Learned From This Study?…………………………………………………………….. 161

One Example of a Changing Institution………………………………………………………………. 165

Future Projects…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 167

REFERENCES………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 170

APPENDIX

A. Plagiarism Activity………………………………………………………………………………………… 185

B. Plagiarism Activity – Instructor Key……………………………………………………………….. 186

C. Defining Plagiarism, Paraphrasing, and Rewriting……………………………………………. 187

D. English Course Survey…………………………………………………………………………………… 190

E. Online Survey Questions & Short Activity………………………………………………………… 191

F. Phase II E-mail Survey Questions……………………………………………………………………. 193

G. Approval Letter from the Human Subjects International Review Board……………… 195

H. Revised Approval Letter from the Human Subjects International Review Board…. 196

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