Paper 6: Predisposed to plagiarise? Plagiarism and academic writing in a second language – the role of culture
Christian Krekeler, Konstanz University of Applied Sciences
Plagiarism in academic writing is often viewed in the context of international students’ cultural attitudes. In a time of internationalisation in higher education and increasing numbers of international students, this issue has grown in importance. Especially students from China, but also students from other Asian countries are thought to be “predisposed to copying the words of others” (Hayes/Introna, 2005, p. 57) and it has been claimed that causality between culture and plagiarism has been demonstrated. In the first part of this presentation I will provide a summary of research into the role of culture in L2 academic writing and present the key arguments put forward in this on-going debate. I conclude that there is insufficient empirical evidence to demonstrate a link between culture and plagiarism and I will argue that attributing culture to plagiarism is likely to be a distraction from the demanding and important task of teaching students academic writing. A special focus on international students may be necessary because of the specific difficulties associated with L2 academic writing. Moreover, for L2 academic writers, language re-use from other sources is a complicating factor as the practice is helpful but can also lead to accusations of plagiarism.
Christian Krekeler, Professor of German as a Foreign Language, Director of the Center for International Students, Konstanz University of Applied Sciences, Konstanz, Germany.