ISSN: 2222-8713
Volume 6 (2016)
Attitudes of second year Computer Science undergraduates toward plagiarism
Paul Walcott
The apparent rise of academic dishonesty such as plagiarism is of great concern to the academic community worldwide. Although there is a large volume of literature on plagiarism in developed countries, there appears to be a dearth of literature for the Caribbean, a developing region. An exploratory study was conducted at a Caribbean university to determine the attitudes of 85 second-year computer science students toward plagiarism using the Attitudes Toward Plagiarism (ATP) survey instrument. Although 74 percent of the students were able to provide a basic definition of plagiarism only 5 percent included self-plagiarism in the definition. Students had a moderate, positive attitude toward plagiarism (which is not desirable) and low to moderate subjective norms. There was a statistically significant difference between a positive attitude for gender and age; and a statistically significant difference for subjective norms for gender. Many students believed that self-plagiarism is not harmful and therefore should not be punished. The author recommends an extension of the current plagiarism policy to include self-plagiarism and, the creation of a systemic academic honesty education programme that is both gender and age specific. These strategies can potentially help to mould reputable young researchers and build institutional reputation.