Let Them Plagiarise: Developing Academic Writing in a Safe Environment

Chris Ireland, John English

Abstract


This paper considers a focus on plagiarism built into the first month of a core, year one accountancy module at the University of Huddersfield in England. In designing the approach to plagiarism education a consideration of learning theories, particularly learning styles and social constructivism, helped in reaching the conclusion that some students may need to experience plagiarism in order to appreciate what it constitutes. As a result, students write an early formative essay on which they receive feedback, mainly but not exclusively, on referencing and plagiarism. As part of this process students learn about why we should not plagiarise and are encouraged to explain their own understanding of plagiarism. A survey completed by the students following the first month of study indicates that many did not share the institution’s understanding of plagiarism prior to entering university and that many had subsequently changed their understanding.


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