When students reference plagiarised material – what can we learn (and what can we do) about their understanding of attribution?

Although some students probably intend to plagiarise, others do it unintentionally; yet, as McGowan observes, “unwitting plagiarism” has been “largely neglected in the literature” (2005). In this article, I discuss some practices of attribution that students bring from school to university, and focus on one kind of ‘unwitting plagiarism’ that puzzles lecturers and student learning advisers alike – that is, when students provide a reference for ‘clearly’ plagiarised material. Drawing on Bakhtin, I suggest reasons why this practice makes sense to the students who do it. Then, drawing on Rose (1996) and East (2006), I look at the kind of teaching that would be necessary to mediate the gap between students’ and lecturers’ understandings of the purposes of attribution in scholarly writing.

Publication Source Information
Author/s: 
Kate Chanock
Year of publication: 
2008
Title of Journal, Edited book or Conference and Page numbers: 
International Journal for Academic Integrity 4 (1), 3-15
ISSN/ISBN: 
1833-2595
URL or DOI: 
http://www.ojs.unisa.edu.au/index.php/IJEI
Contact details
Email: 
c.chanock@latrobe.edu.au
Contactable: 
Yes