Publication Details

Stappenbelt, B. and Rowles, C. (2010). Plagiarism in first-year engineering education: a snapshot of student attitudes and abilities. In A. Gardner and L. Jolly (Eds.), Proceedings of the 21st Annual Conference for the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (pp. 574-581). Australia: University of Technology, Sydney.


This paper investigates student attitudes and abilities regarding the growing issue of plagiarism in higher education. The study examined a group of first-year engineering students. These students either matriculated directly from high school or were newly arrived international students and were therefore not likely to be familiar with the Australian university system. Student abilities to recognise plagiarism were examined through a series of writing samples and their attitudes pertaining to plagiarism were also investigated through interviews and surveys. The results revealed that there was little difference between the international and first-year Australian students' abilities to detect plagiarism. Skill deficiencies and language issues, representing potentially significant disadvantage with respect to academic writing, were evident however when international students were asked to correct plagiarised material. Differences in attitudes to plagiarism between international and Australian students were also apparent. In addition to writing skill development, providing students with a clearer understanding of plagiarism and a sense of the negative impact of plagiarism on various stakeholders would appear to be an essential component of future plagiarism prevention strategy.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Australasian Association for Engineering Education

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Engineering Commons