Awareness of Engineering Faculty on Plagiarism

Diana Starovoytova, Saul Namango


Plagiarism has been a-serious and widely-condemned-epidemic, devastating institutions of higher-learning all-over-the-globe, which un-questionably constitutes an-actual-threat, to the-strengthening of global- authentic-scholarship. Moreover, it-has-been suggested that academic-dishonesty, including plagiarism, is growing, requiring universities to-devote increasing-time and resources, to-combat it. The-understanding of various-perspectives of the-phenomenon is vital, for finding long-lasting-solutions. It-is alongside this-notion; therefore, that this-study investigated awareness and perception of engineering-faculty on plagiarism. This-paper presents findings from a-small-part of a-larger-study on-plagiarism, at the-School of Engineering (SOE). The-current-study is a-cross-sectional-survey, conducted in an-institutional-setting, which relied on Situation-Awareness-Theory, to-explain the-associations of the-main-variables. 15 senior-academic-members of staff (N=15), from SOE were invited to-complete a-questionnaire (developed for the-purpose of the-study). The-questioner was pre-tested, to-ensure its-validity and reliability. A trial-survey (pre-testing) was conducted, according to ISO 20252:2006 (E). The-Statistical-Package for Social Sciences (SPSS-17, version 22)-computer software-program was used, to-compute the-Cronbach’s alpha co-efficient, which demonstrated high-inter-item-consistency, and, therefore, reliability (Cronbach’s a=0.817). Descriptive-statistics was used to-analyze, both; qualitative and quantitative-data. Overall, the results of this-study suggest a-worrying-lack of understanding, among engineering-faculty, on basic elements of scientific-writing and resulting-from-it, plagiarism. The-study also revealed complete-lack of legal-framework, to-deal with plagiarism, its-prevention and punishment, at an-institutional-level. Besides, the-current-study provides a-number of steps-forward, into the-field of plagiarism-research. In-particular, more than a-few-key-concerns, such as: (1) Imitation-behavior, inbuilt in us; (2) The-concepts of Intellectual-property, Copyright and Copyright-Law; (3) Widespread-exposure to the-Internet and its-consequences, on-plagiarism; (4) A ‘double-edged-sword’ of plagiarism; and (5) Code-plagiarism (particularly important, in engineering), were holistically-looked-into, hopefully-offering a-much deeper grasp on the-subject-matter. The-authors also gave few-recommendations, for improving the-current situation, at the-school. This in-turn, will-contribute (in its-small-way) to-ensuring genuine-intellectual offerings, to-excellence, in-scholarship.

Keywords: academic dishonesty, academia, attribution, questioner.

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