Lorraine Allibone

  • Exploring methods for raising awareness about student plagiarism

    Lorraine Allibone and Andrew Casey, Kingston University

    Research seminar

    Themes: blended and e-learning, skills development and lifelong learning, diversity and inclusivity, supporting learners

    Tuesday 8 September 2009, 09.00 - 10.00 in room G65

    Evidence from recent research (Tennant and Duggan 2008), exploring the issue of student plagiarism highlights the inconsistencies in the implementation of penalties for academic misconduct across the HE sector. This foregrounds the need to continue to question the issue of academic integrity in an ever-expanding context, not only in relation to implementing punitive policies but also to raise awareness and educate (Carroll and Appleton 2001). The diversity of student entry routes into HE is increasing as the requirement to expand continues, consequently students are entering HE with different skills sets and views about what constitutes academic integrity (Walker 1998).

    An early indication of the growing concern with this issue was the founding of the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in 2002 to “coordinate a coherent response to the problem” (Duggan 2008), due to growing media interest igniting what amounted to a moral panic (Cohen 2002) for educationalists. This is reflected in the burgeoning interest given to exploring the problem. Some findings suggest that gaining insights into student’s perceptions and knowledge (Devlin and Gray 2007) is useful for developing pedagogy, while others, for example, Park (2004), highlight the need to cultivate institutional frameworks that focus on detection and punishment in conjunction with education and prevention. However, despite these ongoing measures to evaluate embedding of penalties, gain insights and strategically develop procedures for dealing with it, plagiarism continues to be a controversial issue. Moreover, finding ways to address the problem at both the institutional and individual level is a complex matter. We argue here that there should be a sustained focus on creating innovative methods that engage both staff and students in dialogue about education and prevention which could be an effective means of raising awareness, and learning from it (Quinsee etal). Hosting academic integrity weeks, such as those delivered at Oxford Brooks since 2004, Sussex (2006/7) and Kingston (2008/9) is just one means of achieving this. While they are delivered in varying forms they all work to raise awareness and educate on the issue of academic integrity, which we argue is essential in a context of increasing expansion.

    This seminar will disseminate for discussion, statistical findings from a Plagiarism Awareness Week (PAW) conducted in 2008/9 at a UK HEI.  The data was collected from two plagiarism quizzes that included questions about different aspects of plagiarism and referencing. On completion, students were given a response sheet to take away for self-identification of and reflection upon their individual strengths and weaknesses. The audience will be invited to participate by completing the quiz and discussing its utility as a pedagogical resource. We also invite discussion about a new plagiarism tutorial that is currently being developed as a blended learning tool to provide students with a highly interactive resource for supporting their skills development.


    • Carroll, J and Appleton, J. (2001).  Plagiarism A Good Practice Guide (Accessed 9.2. 09).
    • Cohen, S. (2002) Folk Devils and Moral Panics (3rd edn.) London: Routledge.
    • Devlin, M and Gray, K.  (2007). In their own words: a qualitative study of the reasons why Australian university students plagiarize. Higher Education Research and Development, 26, 2,181-198
    • Duggan, F. (2008).  Higher Education Academy Subject centre Resources on Plagiarism.
    • Park, C. (2004). Rebels without a clause: towards an institutional framework for dealing with plagiarism by students. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 28, 3, 291-306
    • Quinsee, S, Baughan, P and Boylan, E (2006).  Lessons Learnt from Running a Plagiarism Awareness Campaign (Accessed 10.2.09).
    • Tennant, P and Duggan F. (2008).  The recorded Incidence of student plagiarism and penalties applied (Accessed 9.2.09).

    • Walker, J. (1998). Student Plagiarism in Universities: What are we doing about it? Higher Education, Research and Development, 17, 1, 89-106