Plagiarism in mechanical engineering education: a comparative study of international and domestic students
This paper addresses the cultural influences that contribute to student attitudes to plagiarism by examining undergraduate mechanical engineering students. The participants were selected based on their lack of familiarity with the Australian university system: they were either firstyear undergraduate Australian students matriculating directly from high school or newly arrived international students. Attitudes to plagiarism were determined through interviews and surveys. Their abilities to recognise and rate the level of plagiarism in a series of writing samples were also examined. The results revealed that there was little difference between the international and first-year Australian students. Skill deficiencies and language issues, representing potentially significant disadvantage with respect to academic writing, were evident, however, when international students were asked to correct the Identified plagiarised material. In the international student group there was poor alignment of students' understanding of plagiarism and their perception of its impact with that stated In university academic conduct policy. It also appears that after the admission requirements for an Australian tertiary institution are met, the lack of exposure to and familiarity with specific academic cultural expectations is as significant as the ethnicity and linguistic background of the student.