Attitudes of second year Computer Science undergraduates toward plagiarism


  • Paul Walcott


academic dishonesty, plagiarism, self-plagiarism, source-code plagiarism, academic integrity


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.